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    Rhubarb & custard tart

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    Rhubarb & custard tart

    This is one of the great food combinations. Prepare the rhubarb the day before and it will have the perfect texture when you come to bake the tart.

    • Vegetarian

    Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus cooling and chilling
    Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes
    Total time: 2 hours 10 minutes, plus cooling and chilling

    Serves: 8

    Ingredients

    400g rhubarb, sliced into 4-5cm pieces
    100g demerara sugar
    1 orange, juice
    250g block ready-made shortcrust pastry
    1 egg white

    Custard
    250ml whole milk
    450ml double cream
    2cm cinnamon stick
    1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
    125g caster sugar
    2 eggs
    6 egg yolks (see page 73 for what to do with the extra egg whites)
    40g cornflour 

    Method

    1. If you have time, prepare the rhubarb a day ahead. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Put the rhubarb on a baking tray, sprinkle with the sugar and pour over the orange juice. Bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the rhubarb is tender enough to yield to the tip of a knife – you want it firm, not collapsed. Take it from the oven and cover with foil. Once cool, transfer to the fridge and leave overnight (or at least 4 hours).

    2. For the custard, put the milk and 300ml cream in a pan with the cinnamon stick, vanilla pod and seeds and 90g sugar. Heat to just below boiling point. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and the yolks. Sieve the cornflour and the remaining 35g sugar together; whisk them into the egg mixture until well combined. 

    3. Strain the hot cream and milk mixture through a sieve into a jug, then slowly whisk it into the egg and cornflour mixture, a little at time. Return the mixture to the cleaned-out pan and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly, for a couple of minutes. As the custard thickens, there may be a few lumps, but keep whisking and it will smooth out. Once it comes up to the boil and thickens, take it off the heat. Whisk in the remaining 150ml cream, pour into a clean container and cover with greaseproof paper, directly on the surface, to stop a skin forming. Allow to cool, then chill for 1 hour.

    4. Take the pastry out of the fridge 30 minutes before using. On a lightly floured surface, roll it out to the thickness of a £1 coin, then use to line a 24cm round tart tin with a removable base. Prick the base with a fork and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. 

    5. Line the pastry with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, then cook for a further 5-8 minutes, until the pastry looks dry and feels sandy to the touch. Brush the pastry with the egg white to seal it; cool for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 170˚C, gas mark 3. Spread the chilled custard evenly in the pastry case.  Drain the liquid from the rhubarb pieces and arrange them over the custard. Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes, until the custard is set but still a little wobbly. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 1 hour before serving in slices. You can drizzle over a little of the syrup from the rhubarb if liked.

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