These rhubarb and almond tarts are delicious. Yes, they are slightly faffy to make, involving three different elements (making the pastry, baking the fruit, mixing the topping) which breaks all my cooking/baking rules, but they are oh-so-worth it. And if you make the pastry and bake the fruit one day, and mix the topping and build the dish (as they say on Masterchef) the next day, it doesn’t feel so bad.
I am a convert to making mini-tarts rather than a large communal helpings since I discovered these mini-tartlet tins from Lakeland. They are fabulous, amazingly non-stick, and just the right size for one serving. I make 6 tartlets from this recipe – Sandy, Mother-in-Law and I eat 3 for our pudding and I can freeze 3 for another time. Result. Although today, Sandy and I ate one and half each for pudding, and we will eat the 2 leftover tarts tomorrow. They are just too good…
A note on the pastry. I used about half the amount that I made for this recipe. I like my pastry rolled thin, but I also really love to have left over sweet pastry in the freezer for next time the tartlet-making mood takes me. It is ALWAYS good to have spare pastry in the freezer. Just defrost overnight in the fridge before using.
Rhubarb Frangipane Tartlets
For the baked fruit:
- 300g rhubarb, trimmed and washed
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
For the pastry:
- 175g plain white flour
- 30g ground almonds
- 50g icing sugar
- 75g butter (cold from the fridge)
- 75g lard (again, nice and cold. You can omit this and use 130g butter if you like, but lard makes a MUCH better behaved pastry)
- 1 egg yolk
For the frangipane topping:
- 45g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 45g butter -melted
- 45g ground almonds
- flaked almonds for sprinkling
- Pre-heat oven to 180C (Gas Mark 4).
- Cut the rhubarb into 1-2cm lengths, then pop into a small baking dish and sprinkle with the 2 tbsp of sugar. Put to one side for a while whilst the oven reaches temperature.
- Get the pastry started! You can make the pastry in a food processor or food mixer using your preferred method, but I like to make pastry by hand, so this is how to do it, if you are so inclined. Put the flour, almonds and icing sugar in a bowl and add the butter and lard, cutting them into small lumps. Rub the fat into the flour with the tips of your fingers, until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs. If it is a warm day, run your hands under a cold tap before you start. Add the egg yolk and stir it in with the blade of a knife, when it is starting to come together, use your fingers to bring the dough together and knead, just a little bit, to make it smooth. Press into a round disc about 1.5 inches thick, wrap in cling-film or wax paper and leave it in the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes.
- By this time the oven should be at temp, so bake the rhubarb for 12-15 minutes until it has softened but still completely retains it shape. Leave it to cool a little whilst you line the tart tins with pastry and make the topping. If you have a sweet tooth, you might want to try the rhubarb at this stage to see if it needs more sugar – but remember that there is sugar in the pastry and topping, so I urge you to stay on the minimal side.
- Flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll the pastry out to 3mm thickness then cut out circles about 14cm in diameter. Line the tartlet tins carefully, leaving excess pastry in place (I know, it seems mad, but if you baking them like this, you don’t have to worry about pastry shrinkage and can create a nice neat pastry edge on your tartlet cases!).
- Prick the base of the pastry in the tins and then pop them (it’s easiest to put them on a baking tray) in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the pastry is just a tiny bit golden.You can use baking beans if you like, but I don’t bother. Using a sharp knife, trim off the excess pastry so you have beautifully neat tartlet cases.
- Time to make the frangipane topping. Beat the egg and sugar together. Stir in the melted butter and then the ground almonds.
- Divide the cooked rhubarb between the 6 pastry cases. Spoon the frangipane mix on top, then sprinkle with a few flaked almonds.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you find that the frangipane is not quite set, but the pastry is getting a bit too brown, just rest a piece of foil over the top of the tart tins to protect it.
- Delicious served warm with creme fraiche, pouring cream or ice cream.