A while ago my mum asked me for a recipe that she could make for coffee with friends. One of the first things that I had to think about was the lovely cover photo of Kim Boyce's 'Good to the Grain'.
Unfortunately I seem to have this weakness that I can't just use a recipe as it is and I have to start changing things all the time (and yes, in case you wonder, a lot of the time it goes all horribly wrong, I'm thinking of a certain Brownie debacle, Sandra....).
So this weekend a, no doubt, amazing rhubarb tart recipe turned into an experiment that fortunately worked rather well :)
You'll have to make a compote either the night before or in the morning (doesn't take long though, so no worrying!!) and the only other thing is, the dough is a bit of a pain to handle, don't ask the girls about the language that was used in my kitchen the evening I made them - if you're hoping for a fun recipe that is going to make you feel like a domestic goddess, stay away from this recipe! If you're tired and have just come home from a long day at work, don't go for it! If you're all relaxed and happy anyway and you're looking for an amazingly crumbly, buttery and flaky (in a good way) tartlet this is just the recipe you're looking for.
Raspberry and Rhubarb Compote
250g Golden caster sugar
What you do now depends on what your rhubarb looks like. The one I had wasn't that tender anymore so I decided to peel some of it in the hope to get rid of some of the not-so-nice bits. If you've got some young and lovely rhubarb (like the one I discovered in my garden after buying some) all you'll have to do is rinse it and cut off the ends.
Depending on the size of the stalks you might want to cut them in half lengthwise. Then you cut them into 1.5cm chunks.
Set aside about 300g of the rhubarb and mix the rest with the raspberries and the sugar in a pot and cover with a lid.
Turn your hob quite low and slowly heat up the mix (don't think you can speed up this part, give it the time it needs). This takes about 15 minutes.
Once the fruit is swimming in gorgeous rhubarb juice, take off the lid and turn the heat a bit higher. Add the rosewater. Cook until the rhubarb is all broken down and the liquid begins to thicken. Keep stirring at this stage, don't just run off to chat to your mum :). This should take just under 20 minutes.
Stir in the rhubarb you put on the side, leave on the heat for another couple of minutes and then pour the compote onto a large dish (I used a stoneware gratin dish) and allow it to col down.
Once it's completely cooled down the compote likes to live in the fridge.
Right, now let's get to the tartlets.
Raspberry and Rhubarb Tartlets
60g Corn flour
125g Spelt flour
125g Fine cornmeal
1/2 tsp Salt
115g Butter (cold and cut into small chunks)
2 Egg yolks
Mix the dry ingredients, add in the butter and mix until it's well incorporated and looks all crumbly and lovely. Add the cream and the yolks and mix well. Don't be tempted to add water or anything, the dough will look fairly crumbly.
Divide the dough into 10 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface flatten each piece until they are about 12cm in diameter. Spoon 4 tbsp of the compote onto the centre of each base and then fold the edges up. For me that was when I was nearing despair. My edges didn't really want to stay up. Keep trying and keep telling yourself that it's not supposed to be picture perfect but that you're going for a rustic look (and that the taste is going to be soo worth it!!).
Use one of those handy bench scrapers to slide under a tart, pick it up and place it onto a plate or a baking sheet (if you want to make your life easier, put a layer of clingfilm onto the plate beforehand)
and put the tarts into your freezer so they can harden.
Note: If your freezer is small think about what size plates you can fit into it :)
Your tarts can stay in the freezer anything between an hour and two weeks.
Right, nearly there, heat your oven to 190 degrees, put the tarts onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes until the tarts are the most amazing golden brown.
Enjoy them still slightly warm or cold.
Hmmm, I'll be dreaming of tartlets while working on my code today.....