Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rhubarb Tart with Semolina Cream

For Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Kalyn, I've decided to indulge myself with some Rhubarb.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a member of the Rheum family, a native perennial plant of Asia. Rich in Vitamin C, fibre and calcium it was originally cultivated in China over 2000 years ago for its medicinal usage (it was used as a laxative and digestive). It was introduced to Europe by Marco Polo and its use as a food dates only to the 17th Century, a side-effect of the increased availablity of sugar.

The one negative aspect of Rhubarb comes in the form of it's leaves - they are considered poisonous due to the presence of oxalic acid.

These rather photogenic stalks of rhubarb are another of my farmers' market finds - they are Di's Rhubarb grown up north in the state at Tabilk. I was particularly draw by their delicate stalks and I knew that they would be perfect for a tart that I've been wanting to make for a while now. The hurdle had always been finding rhubarb that was thin enough and these were just the right size.

The tart in question is from Australian Gourmet Traveller and when you see it, you might understand why I just had to make it.

tart

Rhubarb Tart with Semolina Cream

Pastry:
250 grams plain flour
50 grams icing sugar
125 grams butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Semolina Cream:
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
55 grams caster sugar
45 grams semolina
3 egg yolks

Topping:
Rhubarb stems
55 grams caster sugar

Make the pastry:
Place the flour, icing sugar and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles bread-crumbs. Add the beaten egg and pulse until the mixture comes together.
Turn out onto a board and just knead it to make a ball before patting it out into a rectangle shape. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for at least an hour or until it's firm enough to roll.

Roll the dough out on baking paper (this just makes it easier to move) until it's large enough to line a 13cm x 35cm tart tin. Cover this with baking paper and weights and chill for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F - bake for 15 minutes, then remove paper & weights and cook for another 15 minutes or until the pastry case is dry and golden. Let this cool before using.

Make the Semolina Cream:
Place the milk, cinnamon stick, sugar and semolina into a saucepan over a low heat and stir while the mixture starts to thicken and boil, then stir constantly for another 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes very thick.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg-yolks, one at a time until well combined. Place the filling into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap - make sure the plastic wrap actually rests against the cream as you don't want a skin to form. Let this cool to room temperature.

Assemble the tart:
Pour the semolina cream evenly into the tart, smoothing out the top. Lay the rhubarb evenly over the cream then sprinkle over with half of the sugar.

tart

Cover this loosely with foil and place in a preheated 180°C oven - cook for 20 minutes before removing foil. Continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the cream is set and the rhubarb is tender.

Sprinkle over with the remaining sugar and using a blow-torch, caramelise the sugar (you could do this under a grill).

rhubarb tart

Serve this warm or at room temperature.

serving

Tastewise - it's a winner from the pastry up. The pastry is wonderfully buttery, crisp and crunchy, like shortbread. The semolina cream is extremely smooth with a good density - easily able to carry the softened rhubarb.

This was one tart that was worth the wait - though I hope it won't be too long before I make it again.

Don't forget that next week marks one year of Weekend Herb Blogging and in celebration, Kalyn is calling on all bloggers to nominate their favourite herb - so put your thinking hats on and get those nominations in by next weekend - to misquote Iron Chef "Which Herb will reign supreme?"

9 comments:

  1. Really gorgeous. The color of the rhubard is beautiful. I remember having this growing out back when I was a kid, but I never knew that the leaves were not edible.

    Thanks for mentioning the quest to see what the most favored herb will be. I have my prediction, but I might be completely wrong.

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  2. wow, look how pretty! those pictures are gorgeous and i bet the tart was de!li!ci!ous! i got to try this one when i get my handy on rhubarb stems at my local markt next week!

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  3. The tart looks delicious...Will give it a try soon...Thank you for sharing... :-)

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  4. Haalo,
    What an innovative look for a pie! And I like that semolina cream (basically I love anything with semolina), which should be going well many other pies, thanks for this lovely recipe! For rhubarb...just not my taste though.

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  5. Thanks Kalyn - before I ever tasted rhubarb the only thing i knew about it was that the leaves were poisonous and i wondered why people bothered to eat the stems when they would get sick eating the leaves.

    Thanks Tschoerda - it was very delicious and seconds were needed! I'll keep an eye out for your tart.

    Thanks Chandrika - do let me know if you try it!

    Thanks Gattina - it took me a little while to get to like rhubarb but something like a rhubarb and apple crumble might get you to like rhubarb. You could really use whatever fruit you like on top of this tart - the semolina cream has such a beautiful texture I could easily see it peaches or cherries.

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  6. Haalo,
    I'm so amazed at this rhubarb tart. First of all, your pastry looks immaculate - gorgeous colour and great constitution. The "filling", too, is scrumptious - what a gorgeous presentation. Do not be surprised if I copy you soon, but I am sure to not end up with the same outstanding results as I am far less competent in the kitchen...I will, however, let you know how it turns out.

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  7. Thanks Shaun - I look forward to seeing your tart - hope you enjoy it!

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  8. haalo, your tart looks better than the one in the Gourmet Traveller book!!!

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  9. Thanks Anna - I don't know if I'd say that but I tried! The photo in the book certainly works.

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