For Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Kalyn, I've decided to indulge myself with some 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.
Rhubarb Tart with Semolina Cream
250 grams plain flour
50 grams icing sugar
125 grams butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
55 grams caster sugar
45 grams semolina
3 egg yolks
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.
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).
Serve this warm or at room temperature.
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?"