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Recipe: Pistachio tart with rhubarb tiles, by Julie Jones

05 March 2020 by
Pistachio tart

Sweet shortcrust pastry

One quantity of pastry is enough to line a large circular tin measuring 23cm x 3.5cm, with extra remaining for small decorations.

Makes 1 quantity

  • 230g plain flour
  • 125g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes, no need to be precise
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2tbs milk

For egg wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • Boiling water

Place the flour and butter into the bowl of a freestanding mixer and attach the paddle beater. Mix on a medium speed until the butter has been incorporated into the flour and resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the icing sugar and mix for a few seconds before adding the egg yolk and milk. Continue to mix until a cohesive dough forms – this should only take 30-60 seconds, depending on your mixer.

Turn out the pastry onto a work surface – there's no need for more flour – and bring it swiftly together with your hands, without overworking it.

Lay out a long sheet of cling film and place the dough on one half. Flatten the pastry with the palms of your hands, then fold the remaining cling film over the top, fully encasing the dough. Roll out swiftly between the cling film to an approximate depth of 5mm.

Place in the fridge for at least an hour before using.

After resting, roll out between two sheets of non-stick baking paper – there's no need for more flour.

Pistachio tart with rhurbarb tiles I love rhubarb. It has one of those distinct flavours that transports me back to childhood. I've many happy memories of eating overly sweetened rhubarb swamped in custard round at Nana Maud's house, the perfect ending to her epic Sunday roast dinners.

This recipe celebrates rhubarb's characteristic tartness rather than disguising it with too much sugar.

I've used early forced rhubarb, which is such a treat to use – the beautiful pink to red stems giving a sweeter, more delicate flavour.

Sadly, the season is short, but up to late summer you can use later greener rhubarb, which works equally well, although a generous dusting of sugar prior to baking may be needed to balance the sharper taste.

Serves 9, using a loose-bottomed, fluted square tin, measuring 23cm x 23cm x 2.5cm

  • 1 quantity sweet shortcrust pastry
  • Egg wash

For the frangipane

  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 70g ground pistachios
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 100g eggs (shelled weight), lightly beaten

For the fruit decoration

  • 4-6 rhubarb stems, depending on thickness
  • 4 eating apples – Pink Lady works well
  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • 8 blackberries or blueberries (optional)

To finish pastry decorations

100ml water 50g caster sugar ½tsp ground ginger Slivered pistachios (optional)

After resting the pastry, line, blind bake and trim the pastry case. Any spare pastry can be cut into shapes and used to make decorations.

Keep the baked pastry case in its tin for later use. For the frangipane, beat together the softened butter and sugar, either by hand or with a freestanding mixer.

When combined, add one-third of each of the ground nuts, mix to combine, then add one-third of the eggs, mix to combine, and so on, until all of the ingredients have been added.

Be careful not to overmix, as this will introduce too much air into the frangipane, which will have an effect on the finished bake.

Half-fill the pastry case with a layer of the frangipane, smoothing it out evenly with a palette knife and place in the fridge while you prepare the fruit.

If decorating the tart as shown, you will need to select rhubarb stems that are similar in width to one another. Carefully slice the rhubarb across each stem into 1cm-thick pieces, trimming the coloured skin off the flat side of half the slices, to expose the white flesh inside.

To soften the apples, half fill a medium saucepan with water and squeeze in the juice of one lemon.

Add the juice of the other lemon to a bowl of cold water. Core four of the apples and cut them in half vertically. Slice each apple half across its width to 1mm – using a mandolin will give consistently even slices.

Submerge the slices in the simmering water for a few minutes to soften, testing after one minute and every 30 seconds thereafter.

To test, bend and roll a slice between your fingers, if it cracks, wait another 30 seconds, then retest. When ready, the slices will be soft and pliable. Transfer to the cold water using a slotted spoon. Remove the tart base from the fridge and start to lay the rhubarb tiles onto the frangipane in a staggered effect – working from adjacent corners, alternating between the red and white sides of the rhubarb, until most of the frangipane is covered (leave a diagonal strip clear for the extra fruit).

Before adding the apples, dry well on a tea towel then place them in a decorative manner along the exposed frangipane. You may not need all of the slices.

Add the berries and any pastry decorations you have prepared (remembering to egg wash those).

When you are happy with your design, make a sugar syrup by boiling the water, sugar and ground ginger together in a small pan for a few minutes until thickened.

Allow to cool for five minutes, then brush over the rhubarb and apple. Place in the fridge for at least an hour before baking.

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Sprinkle the tart with a dusting of sugar before placing it onto a baking sheet. Cover with kitchen foil and place in the oven.

The tart can take up to two hours to cook, the time depending on how deep the frangipane has been spread, oven accuracy and how thick the fruit has been sliced. I suggest checking after the first hour, then every 20 minutes thereafter, removing the foil for the final 20 minutes.

The tart is ready when you can see that the frangipane has dried, leaving the sides of the pastry case, and the fruit is tender.

Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool before removing from the tin. Sprinkle with pistachio slivers, if using, then slice and serve either warm or cold.

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