Pretty frilly, pink English forced rhubarb is now in season.
Its refreshing flavour captures the very essence of British taste for pure,
simple dishes such as rhubarb tart and rhubarb fool.
This recipe comes from my book
Simply British. I divided
the book into 32 ingredients that, to my mind at least, epitomised British
culinary taste. Since rhubarb is among the most iconic ingredients in Britain,
the French referred to it as the British pie-plant, we decided to depict it on
the cover of the book.
The stunning photograph (opposite) was Fleur Olby’s first
shot for the jacket. I still love
it. It makes you want to pick up the
rhubarb and cook it in sugar …
Click on to
SimplyBritish on my Books page to see Fleur
Olby’s rhubarb image the publisher’s finally chose for the cover.
Makes 6 tartlets
225g/8oz shortcrust pastry (see Sundries in Cook now index)
200g/7oz granulated sugar
450g/1lb trimmed, forced rhubarb
1 Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured
surface and line 6 x 9cm/3 ½ inch greased tart tins. Prick their bottoms with a fork then line
with scrunched-up foil (or baking paper and baking beans) and chill for 30
2 Preheat the oven to fan 190ºC/gas 6 and bake
the tartlets blind for 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry begins to
colour. Remove the foil (or baking paper
and beans) and return the tartlets to the oven to dry out for a further 5
3 In the
meantime, place the water and sugar in a non-corrosive saucepan and dissolve
over a moderate heat. Wash the rhubarb and cut into 2.5cm/1inch lengths. Place a single layer of rhubarb in the syrup
and simmer gently 2-3 minutes or until it begins to soften. Carefully remove from the syrup with a
slotted spoon and spread in a single layer on a large plate. Repeat with the remaining rhubarb.
4 Once you have finished the rhubarb,
vigorously boil the remaining syrup until very thick and syrupy. Do not let it caramelise.
5 Arrange the half-cooked rhubarb in an
attractive manner in the pastry cases and spoon over some of the thickened
syrup. Return to the oven and bake for a
further 8 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and the syrup forms a sticky
6 Serve warm or cold for pudding or tea but
preferably with lots of thick double cream.
Note: As this recipe makes more syrup than you
need, store the remainder in a clean covered container in the fridge for 3 days
or freeze until needed. You can use it
another set of tarts or use it to cook rhubarb for other dishes such as rhubarb