Vibrant Rhubarb and Strawberry Frangipane Tart

28 Sep

I recently came into the ownership of a nice little pile of delicious. and Australian Gourmet Traveller recipes, and have been sporadically making my way through them.  And so I present this one, from the March 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.  This tart gets a big tick for the use of rhubarb, which I had in abundant supply at the time, and also receives major points for presentation.  There’s just something about meringues and rhubarb – the colour combination is lovely.  This recipe takes a little bit of time and effort, but put on some good tunes and the time will fly. (For the music lovers out there, I was baking to “Odd Blood“, by “Yeasayer“.  So catchy!!)

Garden fresh rhubarb...yum!

Note:  I took some liberties and substituted strawberries for rhubarb, and pistachios for almonds.  Feel free to do the same, or go by the original – I don’t believe it would make a huge difference.

Ingredients (serves 10)

Pastry

180g soft butter

40g icing sugar

2 egg yolks

250g plain flour

Frangipane

75g soft butter

80g caster sugar

70g almond meal

1 tbsp brandy

2 eggs

50g finely chopped nuts (I used pistachios out of necessity, but almonds would be ideal)

Baked rhubarb and strawberries

1 bunch rhubarb, sliced into small pieces

1 punnet strawberries, sliced

150g caster sugar

Rind and juice of one lemon

Italian meringue

175g caster sugar

2 egg whites

pinch of cream of tartar

Method

Beat butter in an electric mixer until pale, add icing sugar and stir to combine, add yolks and 1 tbsp chilled water. Sieve flour over and stir to just combine. Lightly knead on a work surface then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).

Flattening the pastry a little helps when rolling it out later

Meanwhile, for frangipane, beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale, add almond meal, brandy and eggs and stir to combine, then stir through chopped pistachios. Refrigerate until chilled (1 hour).

In go the pistachios

Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 30cm round. Line a buttered and floured 22cm-diameter, 5cm-deep cake tin with a removeable base. Trim edges, prick base with a fork and refrigerate to rest (1 hour).

Pardon the finger marks. They bake out!

Meanwhile, for baked rhubarb and strawberries, preheat oven to 175ºC. Place rhubarb in a baking dish large enough to fit snugly, scatter over strawberries, sugar, lemon rind and juice. Cover with foil and bake, turning rhubarb once, until tender (30 minutes). Set aside to cool.

Spread them out, and, when in the oven, make sure it cooks evenly. You don't want crunchy bits.

Mix it through

Strawberries/rhubarb...done.

Drain syrup from rhubarb and reduce in a small saucepan over high heat to 125ml (5-10 minutes). Set aside to cool, then return 50ml to rhubarb (reserve remainder to serve).

So sweet syrupy syrup

Blind bake tart case until light golden (15-20 minutes).

Blind baking when you don't have fancy-pants pastry weights

Remove paper and weights and bake until golden (5-10 minutes). Spoon frangipane into tart case and bake until frangipane is golden and set (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool until just firm, then remove tart from tin and cool completely on a wire rack (30 minutes).

Frangipane, baked and ready

Meanwhile, for Italian meringue, combine sugar and 60ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir until sugar dissolves and brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar particles.  Increase heat to high and cook until syrup reaches 121ºC on a sugar thermometer (6-9 minutes). Meanwhile, when syrup reaches 110C, start whisking eggwhites and cream of tartar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually pour hot syrup over eggwhites in a thin stream, whisking continuously until cooled, thick and glossy (10-12 minutes).

Meringue prep.

Spoon rhubarb and raspberry mixture over tart. Transfer meringue to a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe swirls on top. Brown with a blowtorch (optional) and serve.

Layer it up!

Pipe the meringue on top

Grill or blowtorch - adds prettiness

Some notes:

– make sure you allow the pastry, the rhubarb mixture and the frangipane to cool down completely before putting them all together.  Patience makes this layered effect come out all the better.

Mmm...layers.

This tart should also be assembled right before serving,  so have everything ready to go so you can assemble it quickly and serve.

Serve!

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