Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Rhubarb Lattice Tart

I know, it's been a while - I've been busy with writing, running, eating, swimming, sleeping, and a Buffy marathon (ok, if I'm perfectly honest not necessarily in that order) and I kinda stopped doing anything else.
So now that I finally feel like I'm on track with my writing again (and Spike saved the world :) ) I thought I could share a tart recipe with you. I made this tart for a dinner last week and I must say that I am slightly in love with this recipe. It all started with Oliver Peyton's Rhubarb Lattice Tart which looked amazing (the book - British Baking is gorgeous in general) but I never quite understood everyone's obsession with plain flour when making a dough that brings out the flavours of all it's ingredients (and we've had this bag of rye flour sitting around for a while now, and rhubarb and rye both start with r...ok, I'm just making up random reasons now).
Anyhow, I wasn't disappointed, the subtle sweetness of the rye flour brought out the flavour of the rhubarb without being overpowering.
The dough takes some time because you'll want to rest it a couple of times before you actually get to the point of filling the tart but the actual hands-on time for this tart is about 20 minutes. So I'd say it's the perfect desert if you're trying to get some writing done and don't have a clue what to bring to that dinner party later that night.
Oh, and I used a 24cm flan dish.

Rhubarb Lattice Tart
150g Plain Flour
100g Rye Flour
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
175g Butter, cold, cut into 1cm pieces
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Some really cold Water

500g Rhubarb (trimmed)
200g Sugar
2 tbsp Cornflour
A pinch of Salt

Mix the flours, sugar and salt in a bowl, then rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Just like with a normal pie dough you'll want the butter pieces to remain fairly large - think the size of a pea - because the water evaporating from those pieces of butter will turn the whole thing into flaky pastry goodness once you bake the dough.
Now you add the vinegar and about 8 tbsp of the water to the mix and start working everything together. You don't want a super-well mixed dough at this stage, you just want everything to come together in something resembling a lump. If you can't get the mix you have to hold together because it's too dry, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.
Wrap the ball of dough in some cling-film (you can sprinkle the whole thing with a tiny bit of water before you wrap it) and let it rest in the fridge for at leas an hour (i.e. you can go and do some work now).
When you get back, unwrap the dough and place it on a floured surface and squeeze it into the shape of a rectangle before you start rolling it out with a rolling pin.
Don't worry if the dough starts out being slightly awkward to handle and bits and pieces falling off. This will get better in a couple of minutes.
Roll out the dough until it's about 20x30 cm in size.
Now fold the dough into thirds. I really like  Kim's explanation of this - she suggests you fold the dough like you would fold a letter. Once you've done that, rotate the dough by 90˚ and roll it out again.
Repeat the folding and rolling until you have folded the dough 3 times.
I guess you could skip the following step but I tend to prefer working with chilled pastry dough so I suggest you give the dough rectangle another hour or so in the fridge and get on with some more work :)
Cut the dough in half and stick one half straight back into the fridge.
Grease your flan dish.
Roll out the other half until it's big enough to line the flan dish.
Cover the lined flan dish with cling-film and chill it for another half an hour or so which will give you time to get the rhubarb ready.
Preheat your oven to 200˚C.
In a bowl combine the sugar, cornflour and salt.
Cut the rhubarb into 3cm pieces and toss them in the cornflour-sugar mixture.
Now take the flan dish out of the fridge and fill it with the rhubarb mix.
Do you remember that spare piece of pastry?
Take it out of the fridge and roll it out until it's about as thin as the other piece was before. Cut the pastry into 1cm strips and weave them into a lattice pattern covering the rhubarb. If you have some strips left at the end you can use them later to cover the lattice ends.
If you feel like it brush the lattice with an egg-wash (I tend to be lazy and just go for milk) then cover the rim with the spare pastry strips. They also like the egg-wash :)
Bake the tart for 45-55 minutes and allow it to cool before you remove it from the flan dish.
Serve by itself, with some custard, or some ice cream and a good gossip with some lovely people.

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