Let's all get on the rhubarb bandwagon. It is bright and colourful, in season and in abundance right now. Hell yes it is mighty sour but we can sort that out with a (fairly) generous portion of sugar and by 'pearing' (geddit?) it with a sweeter fruit.
If I have one foodie promise I consistently try to keep it is that I will try to eat what is in season and grown locally thereby supporting my community and reducing my carbon footprint. It's a tough sell to the girl who loves trying the weird and wonderful but it is something I need to think about.
And it doesn't get any more local than the back garden! I came home from holidays to be told that the garden is overrun with rhubarb. An invasion of the best kind.
The pear adds a delicious sweetness here that cuts through the rhubarb. I like my rhubarb soft and the pastry crispy. If you like your fruit to be textured don't bother stewing it before putting it in the tart.
For a 10 inch/25cm quiche tin pictured
For the fruit:
10-12 stalks of rhubarb
200g-250g sugar (extra to taste)
3 tsp cornflour
1 pear, peeled and sliced
For the pastry:
450g plain flour
a pinch of salt
300g butter diced and cold
3 tsp caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2-3 tbsp cold water
1. To make the pastry sift the flour into a large bowl or food processor. Add the salt and mix.
2. Throw in the butter and blitz in the food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Alternative rub the butter and flour between the tips of your fingers. If the butter gets too greasy stick in the fridge for 5 minutes.
3. Add the sugar and stir. Beat the egg yolks in a small cup with the water. Add just enough liquid to the flour/butter mixture to form a firm dough, similar to what cookie dough would look like. When the butter/flour starts gathering into big pieces you have nearly enough liquid added. Add a few drops at a time until most of the butter/flour gathers together. You may even need a little more water but be cautious and mix well before adding more water.
4. Place a large piece of clingfilm on the counter and dunk the pastry out on the clingfilm. Use the clingfilm to gather the dough together into a big ball. The key is to handle the pastry as little as possible when bringing it together. Leave in the fridge for at least half hour.
4. Chop up the rhubarb roughly into small chunks. Place in a bowl with the sugar and cornflour and leave to macerate (the rhubarb will lose some liquid) for 10 minutes.
5. Drain off the excess liquid and then place the mixture in a saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer at a gentle bubble for 5-6 minutes stirring regularly until the rhubarb is just starting to soften. Have a taste to monitor the sugar level. Add more of sugar if you think it is too bitter. Rhubarb can vary greatly in bitterness. Leave to cool.
6. Take out the pastry and cut in half. Roll one half into a circle about 2.5cm/1 inch bigger than what you would need to cover the bottom and sides of your pie dish. In other words you need excess over the sides. The pastry should be about 0.5cm/1/4inch thickness.
7. Gently lift the pastry over the rolling pin and then turn the rolling pin away from yourself until the rolling pin is underneath the pastry. Transfer quickly to the dish, easing the pastry into the corners. Stab a couple of times with a fork and place back in the fridge.
8. Preheat the oven to 200oC.
9. Roll out the other half of the pastry. You could make a full lid at the same thickness as the bottom or if you are in an adventurous mood make a lattice like I did here. I followed this great tutorial from thekitchn.com but I left bigger windows in mine.
10. Take the pastry case out of the fridge and cover the bottom with pieces of pear. Fill with the rhubarb mixture. Dampen the exposed pastry with a little bit of water. This will help the top stick. Cover with the top piece of pastry. Using a knife at a 90o angle trim the excess. Seal the edges with a fork or pinch with your fingers.
11. Brush with a little beaten egg for a glossy finish and if making a full lid pierce the pastry gently with a fork. This will help the steam escape.
12. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
13. Leave to cool slightly then serve with ice cream, custard or cream.