As with most week beginnings it somewhat took me by surprise. There seems to be far more Wednesdays than other days of the week. So. Having prepared nothing and with such hopeful intentions to remain strict in my once a week posting I needed to concoct something convenient. I had rhubarb in the fridge and ready rolled puff pastry in the freezer (and not much energy in my body) which added up to a fine tart. A rhubarb tarte aux fines more specifically.
Having been in many an unnecessarily impressive Parisienne patisserie I know my way around a pastry. My preferred selection normally involves a mousse, maybe a macaron or even a fruity jelly and most certainly many layers. These fancier numbers are normally reserved for a late afternoon gorge, but the humble tarte aux fines falls into the ‘appropriate for breakfast’ bracket. This pleases me as only a few interesting pastries fill this niche (oranais and pepitos being two such delights).
I’ve never made such a creation before but have often seen a speedy puff pastry tart whipped up by folks like Nigel Slater and the such. This particular recipe proved even simpler than I had imagined and doesn’t taste too shabby either. It’d be perfect with tea but I don’t think it quite constitutes a dessert. Apologies.
Oven Temperature 220 Celsius
Puff pastry 1 sheet
Rhubarb 3 stalks
Orange juice half an orange
Golden caster sugar 1 tablespoon
Creme frâiche 1 tablespoon
Light muscavado 2 tablespoons
Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk
I used frozen, ready rolled puff pastry. If you are going to use such pastry make sure to take it out ahead of time to let it thaw. Keep it in its little plastic jacket so it doesn’t dry out.
Preheat the oven. Now, I should begin by saying this is a very loose recipe. I decided I wanted a very long rectangular tart but if you fancy a circle or several smaller tarts it’s up to you. So I shall merely explain the principles.
You can cut and arrange the rhubarb as you wish, let your artistic side free. For my rectangular creation I cut the rhubarb into lengths of about 10cm. Once cut, pop the rhubarb into a bowl, squeeze over the orange juice and sprinkle in the caster sugar. Stir and leave to macerate as you deal with the pastry.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Unfurl your pastry. Cut into whatever shape your heart desires ensuring you have sufficient pastry left over to make a 2cm border around your chosen shape. So in my instance I cut out one very large rectangular (the entire length of the pastry sheet) and four long narrow pieces for my borders. Look at the picture.
Now, place your shape onto the lined baking tray and, using a pastry brush, egg wash a 2cm border around the edge. Place on the thin bits you cut and press down lightly. Then, using a fork, prick the base of the tart – not the borders.
For the filling goo, mix together the creme frâiche, egg and one tablespoon of muscavado till smooth and quite runny. Tricky, ay? You might not need all of this mixture but it’s hard to make a recipe using less than 1 egg. You can keep any excess for your next tart (harhar).
Spoon the creme frâiche mixture onto the pastry, within the borders. Now I only used half of it so go easy.
Pick up the rhubarb, let it drain slightly, and arrange prettily on top of the creme frâiche goo. Be as neat as you can and try not to let the filling spill over.
Sprinkle the second tablespoon of muscavado over the rhubarb. Using a pastry brush, paint the borders of the pastry with egg wash. Done. Pop it into the oven. After about ten minutes check on the little beauty to make sure it isn’t starting to burn. If it is turn the oven down by twenty degrees. All in all it should take about 20mins.
You could quite happily substitute the rhubarb with peaches, plums, apples etc.