A quick Google search will confirm that rhubarb and custard are a very classic pudding pairing, however when you search on the images it rarely looks like a stylish dish. The challenge of making this dish more attractive appealed to my creative side; the result is a slightly rustic, almost “cubist”, presentation. I’m pleased with my more “structured” creation – presenting rhubarb dressing a set custard in a baked walnut crust. It’s now a rustic tart that’s a tasty and attractive dessert. This tart is served room temperature so the pastry case an be prepared ahead. It takes 10-15 minutes to poach the rhubarb, during that time custard can be prepared.
The three components that make up this dish, are very versatile and you could use any of them for your own creations. You could use the walnut crust to make a gluten free pastry for the apple tart. With the custard you could make home made custard squares or choose a different fruit topping when rhubarb is out of season.
Walnut tart case
- 300g walnut pieces
- 8 dates – pitted
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp ground chia
- 60ml water
- 250ml plant-based milk
- 30g plant-based butter
- 45g sugar
- 45g custard powder
- 4-6 stems of rhubarb
- 1/2 C orange juice and zest
- 1/2 cup sweetener of choice
Preheat oven 160ºC.
Place a baking tray a third of the way from the bottom of the oven and another just over half way.
Grease 12.5cm x 35cm tart tin or round tin of similar volume, preferably with a removable base.
Rustic Walnut Tart Case
Mix the ground chia and water and set aside to thicken. Blend the rest of the ingredients in a food processor till it resembles a fine crumb. Pour in chia mixture and pulse to blend. Press evenly into the greased tart tin. Refrigerate while you prepare the rhubarb.
Wash and zest the orange, squeeze the juice, top it up with water to make 125ml if needed.
Combine the rhubarb poaching liquids in a small pot, heat until sugar is dissolved. Wash rhubarb, place in a baking tray and pour over warm poaching liquid.
Crumple a piece of baking paper (this makes it sit better in the tart), flatten and cover the base and top edges of the tart. Pour in baking beans make sure they are tucked into all the corners to help the tart keep it’s form.
Chef’s tip – no baking beans? any dried legume or rice will do. These can be used multiple times as can the baking paper.
Put the tart on the lower oven rack and the rhubarb on the shelf above. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Check the rhubarb, it should be beginning to soften and will continue cooking while cooling in the liquid – if the pieces are large, leave it in for another 5 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beans from the tart case and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown and the base is crisp. Set aside to cool.
If you are finishing the tart later, store in the baking tin, which is also handy if you want to take it on a picnic or for a pot luck dinner.
In a heavy based pot whisk the custard ingredients together over a medium heat. As it thickens use a spatula to make sure the custard isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. If your custard is lumpy pass it through a sieve.
Pour the custard into the tart case and smooth the surface with a palette knife or back of a spoon. Arrange the rhubarb in a pattern of your choice. Use a pastry brush to glaze the rhubarb with leftover poaching liquid and sprinkle with orange zest.
Too much homegrown rhubarb? This easy rhubarb cordial is lovely way to unties any excess you grow in the garden.
Allergens – while this tart is gluten free it will not be suitable for people with nut allergies. You could use this flaky whole grain pastry or a store bough pastry that suits.