- Makes 12 pastries
- Prep and cook time: 50 mins (can be spread over 3 days)
- Completed pastry keeps for 2-3 days at room temperature, covered (and the rhubarb syrup keeps for a week on its own in the fridge).
Rhubarb and custard are as iconic a duo as Rum and Coke. The rich, creamy custard is perfectly balanced with tart rhubarb for a supernova explosion of flavour. Adding the intensely aromatic flavour of cardamom into the mix makes for a very special, Danish inspired pastry.
Rhubarb Syrup ingredients:
- 4 rhubarb sticks (Cut into 1.5-2cm pieces)
- Golden caster sugar (104 g)
- Water (5 tablespoons/75g)
- Cardamom (2/3 tsp ground/the seeds from 8 cardamom pods, crushed and ground).
- Custard powder (2 tablespoons/28.3g)
- Golden Caster Sugar (2 tablespoons/28.3g)
- Oatly Single Cream (or your choice of single cream) – (250ml)
- 1 sheet of Jus roll short crust pastry (If you wish to make your own – https://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/pastry/shortcrust-pastry – Can be veganised easily by replacing the lard and butter with dairy free margarine).
- A dusting of plain white flour
- Making Rhubarb syrup mix:
- Wash the stalks and chop the ends off
- Cut the stalks into 1.5-2cm pieces
- Halve the rhubarb at this point.
- Put half the rhubarb pieces and sugar into a saucepan with water – bring to the boil for 5 minutes, then allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Strain the rhubarb, separating the chunks from the liquid.
- Crush 8 cardamom pods to get the seeds out and use a pestle and mortar (or the end of a rolling-pin, as I have) to grind the seed into a powder.
- Add this cardamom powder to the rhubarb in the pan on a very low heat (2 on hob), add 2 tablespoons of the liquid, add 1 teaspoon of caster sugar, stir and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Now add the other half of the rhubarb and the rest of the syrupy liquid to the existing mixture of rhubarb and cardamom, but only allow it to cook on a low heat (3) for about 5 minutes, so the chunks retain some shape.
- This rhubarb syrup will keep well for up to a week, so if you do choose to do this part on a separate day, ensure you put the mixture in a tupaware or sealed bowl (with either cling film or a plate on top).
2. Making thick, creamy custard:
- Add 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and 2 tablespoons of custard powder to a bowl and use half a tablespoon the cream to turn it into a paste. I find this part is best done with a pastry brush because you can crush any chunks of custard powder down with ease.
- Add cream to a pan, add the custard paste and cook on a low heat (3) for about 5 minutes, stirring and ensuring it does not stick to the pan.
3. Preparing the pastry:
- Pre heat oven 200 (non fan oven)/180 (fan oven)/gas mark 6
- Grease a muffin tray with choice of margarine.
- Roll a sheet of the pastry onto a clean, dry, lightly-floured surface.
- Using a rolling-pin (if you don’t have one, a wine bottle will do… and a tip is to crush ice and put it in a wine bottle to keep pastry cool), roll the pastry out until it’s about half a centimeter thick.
- Using a pastry cutter (or a glass of about 70cm circumference), cut out 12 pastry circles.
- Place the circles into the muffin tray. The depth is important to retain a good amount of the filling. The pastry is malleable, so if there are any messy bits or areas where the pastry is too thin, you can add a chunk of pastry to it to patch it up.
- A good tip is to use the bottom of a small bottle (fry light works for me) to push the sides up to neaten them and ensure the bottom of the pastry is against the base of the tray. They will constrict slightly after a few minutes in the oven. However, there should still be sufficiant height to maintain the filling, we don’t neccesarily want a deep crust.
- Flash bake on 180 for 5 minutes
- Then add 2 heaped teaspoons of filling (1 rhubarb, 1 custard in each), They don’t need to be neat.
- Cook on 200 (non fan oven)/180 (fan)/Gas mark 6 for 15 more minutes on medium-high shelf
- Allow them to cool before eating.
- Because all ovens are different, keep an eye on the pastry to ensure it does not burn.
- Rhubarb is seasonal in the UK from April-June, but it can be easily frozen, meaning this could be an all year treat.
- Some varieties of rhubarb are more pink and some are more green. Pinker varieties generally produced a better appearance, but it doesn’t affect the flavour.
- For ease (because that’s what The Zebratarian Kitchen is all about), I have used Jus-Rol pastry (which is dairy and egg free and is readily available in the UK). I have included the link to a basic shortcrust pastry that you can make from scratch if desired.
Making the recipe more accessible:
- If you have chronic fatigue, you can pace by making the rhubarb syrup one day, and the rest on another. You can even prepare the circular pastry cut outs on a separate day and putting them in the fridge ready for when you wish to assemble the tart. If you do this, just ensure they are separated with foil, clingfilm or tupaware lids.
- I have used Jus Rol because I have never been a pastry chef. As part of my condition, I have autonomic dysfunction, which means I am crazy hot most of the time. I am not a snob when it comes to short cuts that allow for improved culinary accessibility such as pre-chopped fruit on bad grip days and I try to stay open about these short cuts, maintaining focus on the flavour and vibrancy of a dish overall.
- Daily living and mobility aids used to prepare this recipe: Chopping aid, lowered mobile unit, hand splints, wheelchair.