I always begrudge parting with my hard earned cash for rhubarb. Especially in London where a mere crumble's worth is likely to have the bank manager come knocking. I'm used to getting it free you see as my parents have a fantastically prolific rhubarb patch. Alas, the 8 hour round trip to Derbyshire is a just a touch on the excessive side (even for good homegrown rhubarb)...
So when I spied some lovely fresh pink rhubarb in my local grocers a couple of weeks ago I couldn't resist. There had been quite a lot of talk of ways to use the new season rhubarb amongst some of my fellow food bloggers (good old crumble, fool, compote, muffins...) and what to match it with. I'm a big fan of stem ginger with rhubarb, especially in a layered fool, but Linda who writes the blog With Knife and Fork mentioned that she'd opted for rose water in her rhubarb fool. After some to-ing and fro-ing with Linda and Jan (The Ample Cook) over poaching methods and rose water I set to making this delicious tart.
1 quantity of sweet pastry (8oz plain flour, 4oz butter, 1oz icing sugar, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk)
4oz ground almonds
4oz caster sugar
1oz plain flour
4 - 5 stalks rhubarb
2 tbsp rose water
2 tbsp golden caster sugar (or more to taste)
Make the pastry: I do this in the food processor, but if you don't have one mix the flour and butter in a large bowl with your fingertips until they resemble breadcrumbs, add the icing sugar and mix and finally, beat the whole egg and egg yolk together and add to the bowl. Bring the ingredients together with your hands to form a ball whilst handling as little as possible. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least half an hour.
Roll out the pastry to line a fluted tart tin (or several smaller tartlet tins), prick gently all over with a fork and chill again. Blind bake for around 15 minutes at 180 - 200 C (depending on your oven). To do this, line the pastry case with a piece of baking parchment and fill the parchment with baking beans (or rice or dried pulses). Then remove the parchment and baking beans and bake for another 5 minutes.
Whilst the pastry case is cooking you will need to poach the rhubarb. Wash the rhubarb well and cut into pieces approximately 1 & 1/2 inches long. Put into a wide based pan or casserole and add the 2 tbsp rose water and 2 tbsp caster sugar (you may want more or less sugar depending on your own tastes). Put the pan on the hob and poach the rhubarb for about 5 minutes. You want the pieces to be tender but not so cooked that they break down.
In a clean bowl (or food processor), make a frangipan by mixing the rest of the ingredients together (almonds, butter, sugar, flour and eggs).
Remove the tart case from the oven and fill with the frangipan mixture. Add the rhubarb pushing it into the frangipan mixture slightly. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the tart is golden brown and the frangipan is set.
Serve hot or cold with lightly whipped double cream or clotted cream.