Monday 22 March 2010

Roasted Rhubarb Tarts

Rhubarb and custard. How could you possibly resist? It's just one of those combinations.

This idea came from wanting to elaborate on the traditional stewed rhubarb and custard. Crumble seemed too obvious. Then vanilla custard mutated into vanilla pastry cream, a pastry tart case appeared, and I learned to roast rhubarb...

I found these sticks of rhubarb in our local supermarket and couldn't help but buy some. They looked so fresh and had that wonderful iridescent pink glow. 

My grandma used to grow rhubarb in her fruit cage - on the left as you walked in you could see the great green umbrellas sprouting out of the glass cupboard with little snippets of red peaking through. We always used to lightly stew rhubarb and eat it with homemade custard. Simple but quite lovely. 

I had never roasted rhubarb before. It's wonderful - it keeps its shape and the flavour is incredible. As you don't add any water, the taste isn't muted or diluted. You just add sugar, which caramelises slightly and creates a wonderful bright pink syrupy sauce. I used soft brown sugar to add to that intense flavour (and because, in case you haven't noticed, I have a penchant for using soft brown sugar in just about anything).

Another recent supermarket cannot-resist buy was this pâte de vanille. Apparently each coffee spoon is the equivalent to a vanilla bean - and it certainly adds plenty of speckly vanilla seeds. I tried tasting some and it seems quite sugar-heavy but that wasn't a problem here. I'm looking forward to trying it in other things as it performed so well here.

And so these little tarts came together - a plain but lovely tart case, a thick vanilla pastry cream and a pile of the glorious roasted rhubarb. The syrupy juices intermingle with the cream. I almost can't describe - it's just glorious. Do try making them for yourselves - or at least try roasting rhubarb. I can't believe I never had before. 

Roasted Rhubarb

250g rhubarb (approx two sticks)
50g soft brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 190C. Chop the rhubarb up into 1 cm pieces. Tip into a roasting tray with the sugar and toss until evenly coated and in a single layer. Cover with foil and pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the foil and put back into the oven for another five minutes. Leave to cool. Can be kept in the fridge for a few days.


  1. oh my gosh..this has to be the best dessert blog...ever.

  2. Oh I have been craving rhubarb lately. Now you've really inspired me. Thanks!

  3. thats so funny! i use the same vanilla... this looks great by the way, i'm sure gonna try it as soon as i get my hands on some nice rhubarb!

  4. rhubarb is such a popular ingredient in baking. i really need to get my hands on some nice rhubarb and try making my own! thanks for the idea & recipe!

  5. I was just about to say that this tart reminds me of a dish my mom used to make, vanilla custard with cooked rhubarb on top- and I saw it's a childhood treat of yours too! This sounds delicious!

  6. I'm so glad you all like the idea - it really was lovely.

    Trop Rouge - Wow, thank you. What a lovely thing to say!

    Lara - Really? That's funny - I hadn't seen it before, I usually use essence.

    Gala - it's such a childhood thing to me - good to know you were lucky with childhood food memories too :)

  7. I love those closeups of rhubarb... who knew it could be so photogenic... glad I found your blog!

  8. Oh how I wish I could find rhubarb! Despite the fact its in season I just can't seem to find any anywhere! And this recipe is just screaming to be made!!!!

  9. Oh how sad Chele! I hope you find some soon. I'm fairly sure it's in season.

  10. These sound so tasty! I love rhubarb :D

    I'm impatiently waiting for my aunt's to grow so I can use it!

  11. i love rhubarb


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