Sunday, April 03, 2005

Rhubarb Custard Almond Tarte with Ginger and Lemon




In pursuit of something sour and comforting at the same time, I decided to muck about with some rhubarb I had lying in the fridge, pre-destined for a crumble affair with creme anglaise but was looking decidedly worse for wear. A disguise was in order for the pink vegetable with fruit pretensions. Soaking the rhubarb before hand in some bicarbonate of soda seems to counteract the tooth-furring quality of rhubarb that sometimes makes you feel as though youv'e sucked on stainless steel straws or have been licking pennies. This is due to the high levels of oxalycic acid present in the vegetable, which cna be successfully tempered by a sweetening or diverting flavour such as orange juice or ginger.
I followed a standard shortcrust pastry omitting flour in place of ground almonds for a richer taste, plus grated lemon zest and mixed spice. I've yet to taste this, meanwhile waiting for Mr VA to get back so we can tuck in.

  • 100 grams ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar, pinch of salt
  • lemon zest
  • mixed baking spice
  • ice cold water
  • 1 lb rhubarb
  • sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml milk/cream
  • 2 coin sized pieces of minced ginger
  • nutmeg

Arrange rhubarb in pastry. Beat two eggs with sugar and heat milk in saucepan with ginger and spices until warm, pour milk into the beaten egg and stir. Pour over rhubarb in into the oven for 15 minutes at 200C or until the custard is set and a knifepoint, or finger(!) comes out clean in the center. Leave to cool, refridgerate and serve with vanilla ice cream or something warm like a raspberry coulis.

A baked custard, following a basic creme brulee custard recipe, poured still hot into the pre-baked crust which meant that the resulting texture was water-tight and not prone to sogginess.

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