Rhubarb mania part 5: rhubarb and custard pie with butter crumble

rhubarb custard and crumble pieI thought I was all out of rhubarb for the rest of the season, but a nice colleague of mine had loads in her garden and after handing out most of it to her family, she still had some left for me! It was totally delicious, you could just dip it in some sugar and eat it (I tried, so good) but I opted for this pie instead. Lately I’ve become a big fan of small individual portions, but you can of course make a big one in a 24 cm tin. This is of course one of my trusted GoodFood recipes that I will definitely be making again. Here’s how to make them:

Cut 350 g rhubarb into bite-size pieces, then put them in a frying pan with 50 g sugar and warm through just until the sugar dissolves. Immediately tip the rhubarb into a bowl with the juices and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 160 C. Roll out 350 g sweet short crust pastry quite thinly and use to line your tin. Line with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake for about 20 min until the pastry is pale golden and no longer raw.

Beat together 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 50 g sugar and 1 tbsp flour. Gradually whisk in 285 ml cream with any juice from the rhubarb (you should have a tablespoonful or two). Now spoon the rhubarb into the prepared pastry case and pour the cream mixture over. Turn the oven temperature up to 180 C and bake for about 20 min, or until the custard is very lightly set and there is a thin skin on the top. If you have any rhubarb and custard left, you can spoon it in ovenproof dishes and put it in the oven together with the pie, it makes for an excellent dessert without the pastry as well! Or use it for a rhubarb and custard cake.

Mix together 50 g melted butter, 50 g light brown sugar, 50 g porridge oats and 1/2 tsp ground ginger.  Spoon evenly over the pie. Return it to the oven for a further 15 min or until the crumble is golden and the custard set with just a little wobble. The top of the pie may have risen and cracked when you take it from the oven but don’t worry as it will settle back again on cooling. Enjoy while still warm.

Use up left-over rhubarb in a rhubarb and date chutney, rhubarb and vodka jellies or rhubarb crumble muffins.  If you have pastry left, you can freeze it or go for strawberry tarts.

Dreaming of summer: strawberry tart

strawberry tartsNo, it’s not the end of my rhubarb mania series, there is still one more recipe in the pipeline, but it’s a chutney so the flavours need to develop first before I can have a taste, and I only post recipes that get my (and my family, colleagues, friends…) seal of approval. So in the mean time, I came up with these lovely tarts, perfect for a cold, wet autumn night… oh wait no, it’s officially summer isn’t it? It’s so easy to get your seasons mixed up these days! Anyway, for this recipe, I mixed-and-matched some existing recipes as follows:

First, I made the tart cases. I still had some dough in the freezer from making my lemon tart because I always make double and freeze half. For half of the dough (it resulted in about 10 tarts), mix 250 g plain flour and 70 g icing sugar in a bowl. Rub 125 g cubed butter into the flour with your fingers until crumbly. Mix in 2 egg yolks and roll into a ball. Flatten out the pastry with your hands, wrap the dough in cling film, then chill for at least 30 mins. 

After 30 min, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a £1 coin, then lift into your small tart cases. Press down gently on the bottom and sides, then trim off any excess pastry. Stab a few holes in the bottom with a fork and put back in the fridge for 30 min. Heat the oven to 140 C. Line the tarts with foil and fill with rice or dried beans. Bake for 10 min, then remove the tart tin from the oven, discard the foil, and bake for another 20 min until biscuity. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 min before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Of course you can also use shop bought crust pastry instead. 

For the filling, I used the filling from my raspberry tart: whisk 200 ml crème fraîche until firm (it needs to be cold, otherwise you’ll have difficulty whisking it, so don’t take it out of the fridge until you are ready to use it). Then add 85 g caster sugar1/2 tsp vanilla essence and the juice and zest of 1/2 lemon. Whisk again to get a thick cream. Spread over the bottom of the tart cases.

Finally top with your favourite fruit, I used strawberries (you’ll need about 200 g) but it will work with any type of food you fancy. Enjoy!

 

 

Tangy and tasty: lemon tart

Lemon tartBy now you probably know that I totally love all things with lemon and this is another great example. This tart is so delicious and fantastically easy to make! You can go all the way, making the pastry as well, but if you need a quick dessert I’ll indicate where you can cheat your way through it and still get a great result in the end! This is a recipe by Gregg Wallace, masterchefs number one sweet tooth, for GoodFood magazine where he made a series called “Gregg’s perfect pud” and this really is just that! Here’s how to make it:

First, make the pastry. If you don’t have enough time, just skip this step and go for shop-bought short crust pastry instead. This recipe makes a double amount of pastry, so you can freeze half. Next time, just defrost it and continue with the next steps! Mix 500 g plain flour and 140 g icing sugar in a bowl. Rub 250 g cubed butter into the flour with your fingers until crumbly. Mix in 4 egg yolks (you can freeze the egg whites and use them for meringues later). If the pastry is still too dry, add 1-2 tbsp water until it comes together. Roll into a ball and divide in half (freeze the other half at this stage). Flatten out the pastry with your hands, wrap the dough in cling film, then chill for at least 30 mins.

While the pastry is chilling, make the filling. Beat 5 eggs, 140 g caster sugar, 150 ml double cream and the juice of 2-3 lemons (about 100 ml) together. Sieve the mixture, then stir in 2 tbsp lemon zest (if you don’t like zest in your tart, you can just leave it out and add a bit more lemon juice instead).

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a £1 coin, then lift into a 23 cm tart tin. Press down gently on the bottom and sides, then trim off any excess pastry. Stab a few holes in the bottom with a fork and put back in the fridge for 30 min.

Heat oven to 140 C. Line the tart with foil and fill with rice or dried beans. Bake for 10 min, then remove the tart tin from the oven, discard the foil, and bake for another 20 min until biscuity. When the pastry is ready, remove it from the oven and pour in the lemon mixture. Tip: make sure the distance to your oven is not too large: the filling is very liquid so it spills easily. I tend to just partially slide the tin out of the oven and pour the filling in and slide it back. The less I need to walk around with it, the less I can spill (otherwise half is on the floor for sure). Bake again for 30-35 min until just set. Leave to cool (do this in the oven if you are worried it is still a bit too wobbly), then remove the tart from the tin and serve at room temperature or chilled.

So if you are a beginner: just buy the pastry, no one will know! The filling couldn’t be easier, just beating everything together, so nothing can go wrong. Enjoy and use up left-over lemons and cream in lemon pudding.

My mom’s Easter classic: cookie pie with coffee buttercream

Easter cookie pieThis is my mom’s famous Easter pie. She loves it, my dad loves it even more, my grandparents love it, basically everybody is crazy about it but me… I’ve never been a big buttercream fan and I’m not a coffee drinker either, so maybe that’s why. But nobody really minds, it just means there is more pie left for them! So even though it’s not a personal favourite, I’m sure a lot of people will be interested in the recipe! So I kindly asked my mom to send me the family secret and here it is! Also a big thumps up for her Easter decorations, don’t you just love them?

First make the buttercream: mix 250 g softened butter with 150 g icing sugar  and 2 egg yolks. Dissolve 1 tbsp instant coffee (my mom uses Nescafé) in 3 tbsp hot water, add to the buttercream and mix again. You are now ready to assemble your pie: you will need about 2 packets of digestive biscuits (try to find LU’s petit-beurre, they really make all the difference) and enough milk to soak them in.

Cookie by cookie, soak them in the mil and put them next to each other (this obviously works best with square or rectangular cookies) to create an even layer. My mom puts them 3 by 3. Now cover with a tin layer of buttercream. Put another layer of soaked cookies, followed by more buttercream and repeat until you have 5 layers. Cover the sides in buttercream as well.

Put 3 cookies in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Use the crumbles to cover the sides of the pie. If you prefer, you can use chocolate shavings or nuts as well. Decorate to your liking and store in a cool place until ready to serve. This cake will easily keep for up to a week, if you can resist that long that is! Enjoy while listening to Does your mother know by Abba. Happy Easter!

Great combination: blueberry crumble cheesecake

Blueberry crumble cheesecakeContrary to me, my brother is not a dessert kinda guy. So when I was recently invited for a delicious barbecue, I knew that dessert would not be part of the menu so I brought the solution myself! And my brother absolutely loved and didn’t object at all to keeping the left-overs! I found this recipe in a recent issue of Olive magazine that I got as part of my birthday present from a friend.

The original recipe by John Torode is made with blackberries but I went for blueberries instead. You can of course opt for a mix of fruit or other fruits such as strawberries instead. This recipe is really easy to make, it just takes a bit more time than throwing everything together, but beating some biscuits to crumbs while pretending it’s that annoying colleague can’t really be called “work” now can it…

First, make the base by crushing 200 g digestive biscuits (I used petit beurres). Stir in 50 g ground hazelnuts (I used almonds instead) and 125 g melted butter. Line the base of a 23 cm spring tin with the biscuit mix and pack it well with the back of a spoon or just use your hands. Butter the sides and chill in the fridge for half an hour while you make the filling.

Heat the oven to 140 C. Whisk 90 g caster sugar with 300 g soft cheese (I used “Campina De Brabander”). Separate 2 eggs and slowly add the egg yolks one at the time to the cheese mix while whisking all the time until combined. Whisk in 300 g soured cream. If you don’t have sour cream, you can substitute for more soft cheese, but be sure to add the juice of half a lemon as well in that case. I didn’t have enough sour cream so I used 200 g soured cream, 400 g soft cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice instead.

In a clean bowl, whisk the two egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff (you need to be able to turn the bowl upside down and keep it over your head, and this is not a joke! If you can’t do that, keep beating!). Add 85 g caster sugar a spoonful of the time, whisking between each addition until stiff and glossy. Mix the meringue into the soft cheese mix, you can be quite vigorous so don’t worry about knocking the air out.

Pour a good layer of the cheese mix on the biscuit base and drop in a few blueberries (you need 200 g blueberries in total, save half for the crumble). Repeat the process until all the mix and 100 g of the blueberries have been used. Cook in the oven for 20 min.

In the meantime, make the crumble topping by whizzing 100 g plain flour in a food processor with a pinch of salt and 50 g chilled butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Toss with 50 g sugar and the remaining 100 g blueberries. After 20 min, gently take the cheesecake half out of the oven and scatter the crumble mix on top. Return to the oven and bake for another 40 min. If it’s still too wobbly for your liking, leave to cool the cheesecake in the oven, otherwise take it out and leave to cool completely in the tin before serving (don’t worry if it cracks, the crumble will mask it). Enjoy!

Stunning and tasty: raspberry tart with almond pastry

Raspberry tart
Raspberry tart

This tart tastes every bit as amazing as it looks, so if you have an afternoon to spare and you where still searching for something to do, this could be it. It’s not hard to make, it just takes time, a lot of time! Also, you can’t make it much in advance, if you leave it overnight the pastry will go all soggy. Still good, just a bit less of a wow factor… This is again one of my trusted GoodFood recipes so that already tells you that it will be delicious!

First, make the pastry by tipping 200 g plain flour, 175 g ground almonds, 175 g caster sugar and 200 g cold diced butter in a food processor. Pulse until you get the texture of breadcrumbs. Now add 1 egg yolk and pulse until it all comes together to form a soft pastry. The pastry will be too soft to roll out, so press it evenly into a 25 cm tart tin (lined with greaseproof paper). until the pastry comes up above the edges of the tin. Rest in the freezer for at least 20 min.

Preheat the oven to 170 C. Line the tart case with baking parchment (or tin foil) and baking beans and bake for 20 min until the edges are starting to brown. Remove the beans and paper, then continue to bake for 10-15 min until biscuity. Leave to cool, trim the edges with a knife (or don’t and go for a more rustic look), then carefully remove from the tart tin.

To make the filling, whisk 200 ml crème fraîche until firm (it needs to be cold, otherwise you’ll have difficulty whisking it, so don’t take it out of the fridge until you are ready to use it). Then add 85 g caster sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and the juice and zest of 1/2 lemon. Whisk again to get a thick cream. Spread over the bottom of the tart case, then meticulously place about 700 g raspberries on top in concentric circles.

Meanwhile, heat up 5 tbsp raspberry jam in the microwave or a pan with 2 tbsp water until bubbling. Push the glaze through a sieve into a bowl, then paint it over the raspberries with a pastry brush. Serve straight away or store in a cool place for a few hours max until ready to slice. Enjoy!