It’s rhubarb season again – great news for me because it is easily one of my favourite foods (there are so many rhubarb ideas in my recipe index!). This rhubarb tart is very easy to make, as long as you are reasonably confident with pastry, or you could buy ready made perhaps, and really delicious, we tested it very thoroughly yesterday lunchtime (just for you!). I got the idea for the filling from a funny little book called Cheerful Cookery that I inherited from my mum. Amongst some absolutely repellent ideas and recipes (the salads, from the era before Elizabeth David & the arrival of olive oil on our shores, are beyond belief), there is some really good stuff, including lots of good recipes for pies, cakes and biscuits, and this pie-filling combo of rhubarb, date and orange is an excellent one. The one crust pie idea is from Delia Smith, and is fab because you don’t have to faff around lining pie plates, and fluting pastry edges (although if you want to, feel free!). I have occasionally, when I haven’t had any lard to hand, or if I have been cooking for vegetarians, omitted it and used an extra 40g of butter instead (or you could use pure vegetable fat, like Trex or white Flora, if you don’t mind using them in your cooking).
A word of warning, I found that fruit juices did rather ooze from this pie as it cooked on my flat baking sheet. I suggest either using a baking sheet with a bit of an edge, or lining the bottom of your oven with a bit of foil (if you are the sort of person who doesn’t already have a lining in the bottom of your cooker).
One Crust Rhubarb and Date Pie with Orange
For the pastry
- 175g plain white flour
- 40g lard, cubed in small pieces
- 40g butter, cubed in small pieces
- iced water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp of semolina/cornmeal/rice flour for sprinkling
- 10g demerara sugar for sprinkling
For the filling
- 500g rhubarb, chopped small (no bigger than 2cm long slices)
- 100g dates, chopped small
- 40g demerara sugar
- zest 1/2 orange
- Sift the flour into a roomy bowl, then rub the butter and lard into the flour, using your fingertips, lifting the flour mix as you do so and giving it lots of air – or you can use your stand mixer or food processor to combine them. The mixture will look like fine breadcrumbs when it is ready for the next stage.
- Add 1 tablespoon of iced water and start to bring the mix together into bigger lumps. Add a little more water as required, until you have a nice coherent lump of dough. Be patient and don’t add too much water at a time. I used just 2 tablespoons of water to bring my dough together. Kneed the dough briefly until it is smooth, then flatten into a round, a couple of inches thick, pop into a bag and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 190C (Gas mark 5) and line a baking sheet with baking parchment, then prepare the pie filling, mixing the rhubarb, dates, sugar and orange in together.
- When the pastry has chilled, roll it out into a circle measuring 14in across, and transfer the pastry to the baking tray. Brush the centre 10 inch circle of the dough with the beaten egg, and then sprinkle the semolina/cornmeal/rice flour over the egg (this provides a nice waterproof coating to stop the rhubarb juices soaking into the bottom of pie).
- Pile the fruit mixture onto the central 10 inches, then fold over the edges of the pastry, to partially cover the filling. Don’t worry if the pastry cracks a bit, just pinch the edges together and smooth over. Brush the pastry liberally with beaten egg, then sprinkle with the remaining 10g of sugar.
- Pop into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes. If you feel that the pastry is getting too brown before the fruit is cooked, feel free to just rest a bit of foil on top of the pie to protect it.
- Serve with ice-cream, cream or custard and enjoy!