Monday, 7 June 2010

Rhubarb and Custard Crumble Tart

rhubarb crumble tart 2
Having gone from loathes to loves on the rhubarb front, I seem to be unable to stop making sweet treats from rhubarb at the moment. Well, this one wasn't really my fault as it was a Sweet Melissa Sundays treat, but I've also made this, this and kind of interesting coffee style cake that used so many recipes from all around the interwebs I don't know where to start linking. All in the hunt for perfection in rhubarb cake form. I know it exists! I ate it at Ottolenghi. But can I recreate it? Of course not! And those other imposters to the crown of awesomest rhubarb cake were just not the real deal. Whether it be a disappointing crumble or just a bit too 'wholefood' tasting, they were all fine, but not worth writing home about. Or to you about, should I say dear reader!

Then, as I was whiling away an hour or so with a cup of tea and a new cookbook, I spotted this tart. Not at all en route to my rhubarb dream cake, but an appealing diversion, especially with JJ's parents coming to tea.
rhubarb crumble tart 1
The idea of combining rhubarb crumble, custard and a tart all in the one dessert sounded pretty incredible to me - so off I set with the recipe in one hand. Only to fall very flat at the first hurdle. Apparently the initial step of blending butter, flour and sugar should form a dough to be rolled out (like shortbread). Mine looked like dust. No matter how much I blitzed in the food processor and even resorted to smooshing with my hands, it just would not come together. Major concerns about the recipe started to form in my mind. But I soldiered on! Baking up the crumbs in a slightly squished together layer (no rolling out happened) seemed to work well. In a second attempt at the tart a week or so later, I added more butter and it helped, but still didn't form a dough, so not a clue what's supposed to happen at that stage!

I won't even bore you with the pastry dough and how impossible I found it. I hate sweet tart dough - it's official. I shall, of course, persevere to find one that doesn't take one look at me and grab the counter with such force only hacking at a knife will get it off. Or maybe it's the way I look at it that scares it into shrinking about a mile away from the tin on all sides. Phew. So anyway, Pastry 2 - Rosy 0.
rhubarb crumble tart 5
But! Ah yes, there's a but. This tart is amazing. Whilst the recipe was, um, well, quite wrong in places and I'm gonna suggest you find your own way on the sweet tart dough front for the moment, the filling is heaven. Utter rhubarb and custard flavoured, creamy, dreamy, sweet heaven. Ya know what it reminded me of? Those rhubarb and custard boiled sweets. I love those. But better - less sickly. More elegant and flirty. A true lady of a tart. So lady like in fact, it's the prettiest of pale pinks! I think it would be just as tasty without the crumble but not very attractive... I've toyed with alternatives but whipped cream would just compete for creaminess and there is something pleasing about the buttery crumble contrast, even if it is a touch on the faffy side.
rhubarb crumble tart 4
Just make sure to eat it the day you make it - room temperature, it's perfection, but I tried it the next day and both the crumble and tart shell were soft. If I hadn't lost all enthusiasm by the end of this, I would've made a rhubarb sauce from a little extra rhubarb poached, pureed and strained. I think I'll be doing that next time - when I can face sweet tart dough again...

Rosy xx

Rhubarb and Custard Crumble Tart
adapted from here.

For the Crumble
100g plain flour
60g unsalted butter, cold
40g caster sugar

For the Custard
360g rhubarb
130g caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
130ml double cream

1 pre-baked tart shell

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a food processor, blitz the crumble mix until it looks like breadcrumbs. Turn out onto a tray lined with parchment paper, give a bit of a smoosh together with your fingers (but don't worry too much!) and bake crumble for 15 mins, until lightly golden.

Mix the rhubarb with the sugar and place in a roasting tin. Cover with foil and roast for 20 mins until soft. Break up with a fork and leave to cool slightly.

Lower the oven to 150C.

Place the cream in a pan and heat gently to simmering point. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the vanilla. Add the hot cream, slowly at first to temper, and the rhubarb. Fill the pre-baked tart case and bake for around 15 mins until no longer wobbly in the middle. Break up the baked crumble mixture and cover the rhubarb custard with the crumble. Leave to cool to room temperature and eat the same day.


  1. I love the way you've served it on the pink plates! This is definitely one I am going to try, I've always been a rhubarb lover, and those sweets were a childhood fave. I think this will be perfect for an upcoming weekend invasion by the in-laws!

    Oh, and try the Ottolenghi recipe for sweet pastry, it never fails me.

  2. Now this is looking pretty fab to me. I made a Rhubarb Custard Crumble Tart recently but it was in no way as impressive as this offering. Think I will give the recipe a try - purely for comparison reason you understand ;0)

  3. I do like rhubarb so I'm just going to have to delay the start of my diet until I've tried that recipe. (I made the Waitrose rhubarb and orange cake and couldn't get it out of the baking tin. We ate it with spoons!).

  4. stunning, stunning photography..really strong blog... love your cupcakes too!