Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

Mammy came back from Nanny’s with one and half kilos of fresh rhubarb. The bag had been sitting in our back kitchen while I debated what to do with it. I had recipes for crumbles, cobblers, cakes, muffins and even macaroons floating around my head. Finally I decided on rhubarb “tart”. Rhubarb tart is a traditionally Irish afternoon tea specialty. It is not actually a tart in the sense of lemon tart or chocolate tart and it isn’t baked in a traditional tart tin instead it is baked in a special tin made for Irish rhubarb and apple tarts. They are similar to plates but have a deeper dish than a dinner plate (some people use plates). In my family these tarts are made for every gathering or occasion. I have gotten to know the tart plates of the good cooks so I know which tart to look out for on the table. The qualities of a good tart are debatable first of all the pastry must be light, crisp and just the right amount of flakiness, the filling should be neither to tart nor to sweet and cooked to perfection. It is the quantities of each that create the controversy. I like lots of fruit and thin pastry while my granny likes to be able to cut her tart and for it to keep shape, for this she is mean with the fruit and generous with the pastry. When my little sister was born my auntie came over with heaps of tarts, bread and ham to bagsie the role of Godmother. Mammy says she couldn’t turn her down after she tried the tarts. Tarts last well about a week, my nanny stores hers in the oven which often results in disaster as the oven is preheated for dinner and the tart forgotten about until the smell of burnt sugar and pastry emerges from the oven. This tart is lovely served warm with ice cream or custard or cold with a cup of tea. In my family tarts are served with cups of tea like other people serve biscuits.

Rhubarb tart

makes two tarts

1 quantity of pastry from smitten kitchen – best pastry I have tried to date

1,300 g of rhubarb chopped

300g of brown sugar

200g of granulated sugar

50g of ground almonds

squeeze of lemon juice

1 egg yolk blended with milk to glaze

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a tart tin or deep dinner plate. Roll out 1/4 of the pastry very thinly using lots of flour. Line the tart tin with the pastry. Mix all the ingredients bar the glaze together. Put half of the rhubarb on top of the pastry it will pile high. . Using a little of the glaze brush it around the edge of the pastry so that the top will stick to it. Roll out another quarter of the pastry very thinly. Put it over the rhubarb and using a fork press it to the pastry on the bottom. Run a knife around the edge of the tin to get rid of any excess pastry. Glaze the top with a pastry brush and the egg yolk mixture. Prong a fork into the pastry lid to stop steam building up inside. Repeat with the remainder pastry and fruit. ( I usually get bored by this stage and make rustic free standing tarts. Simply roll out the pastry a little thicker. Pop the rhubarb on top and scrunch up the edges over the rhubarb.) Put in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the fruit is soft


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