Rhubarb and custard fill a vanilla- and orange-scented pastry crust for this tart. The tart is dusted with confectioner’s sugar and accented with raspberry coulis. Rhubarb has a tart flavor which works particularly well in pies; one of its names, in fact, is pie plant. However, the leaves of rhubarb are toxic; cut them off completely and discard, washing the knife you use before using it to peel the stalks.
- Fresh rhubarb stalks - 8 - 10, peeled
- Sugar - 1/2 - 3/4 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Butter - 1 cup (8 ounces), cut into small pieces
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Egg - 1
- Zest of 1/2 orange
- Custard Filling
- Rhubarb and juice (above)
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Vanilla bean pod (above) - 1
- Eggs - 4
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Pinch of salt
- Flour - 1 tablespoon
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Raspberry Coulis - 1-1/4 cups (see Basics)
- Fresh Raspberries - 6
- Mint leaves - 6
To prepare the rhubarb: Split the stalks lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss with the sugar in a large bowl, cover, and set aside for at least an hour.
To make the crust: Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the fine seeds with the point of a knife. Set the pod aside for use in the filling. Add the seeds to the pastry dough. Work in the egg and zest, handling the dough only until it comes together. Shape the dough into a ball, dust with flour, and chill for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Dust a work surface with flour. Press the ball of dough as flat as possible with your hands, then roll out into a thin round crust. Place the crust in a tart pan, gently pressing into the crease of the pan. Bake 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven.
To make the filling: Drain the rhubarb and reserve the juice. Pile the rhubarb into the crust, spreading it over the bottom of the tart. Heat the cream and reserved vanilla pod over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan. In a small bowl, beat the egg and sugar until pale in color. Beat in the salt and flour. Add a large spoonful of the hot cream to the egg mixture and stir to blend. Slowly add the egg mixture to the hot cream, stirring with a whisk. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the reserved rhubarb juice. Remove the vanilla pod and pour the custard over the rhubarb in the crust. Bake for 20 minutes, until set.
To serve: Sprinkle the tart with confectioner’s sugar. Cut into six wedges and place one on each dessert plate. Put the raspberry coulis in a squeeze bottle and make a design on either side of each piece. Stand a mint leaf in each raspberry and place one on each plate.