Crunchy Easter Rhubarb Tartlets with Vanilla Custard

Rhubarb and custard
Crunchy Rhubarb Tartlets with Vanilla Custard
Serves 6
Preheat oven to 200C
*Read note below before you start

Sweet pastry

170g Cream Flour
60g Ground Almonds
115g Butter (cold)
100g Icing Sugar
1 Egg
Cold water

Cut the cold butter into cubes and rub into the flour and almonds until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Then add the sugar and mix through.
Next beat the egg and pour 3/4 of it into the flour mixture, discard the rest of the egg.
Add water drop by drop until the dry ingredients are combined nicely but the mixture is not wet.
If the pastry feels anyway sticky add a touch more flour, if it is dry and not fully combined add a drop more water so you have a pastry that has the texture of fresh playdough.
Turn onto a floured surface, shape into a ball and then flatten into a disc. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool for at least a ½ hour.

Easy Vanilla Custard

280ml Milk
280ml Cream
3tbsp Caster Sugar
1 Vanilla pod or ½ tsp of Vanilla extract
6 Egg Yolks

Place the Milk, cream, sugar in a saucepan and heat
If using, split the vanilla pod in two and add to the sauce pan, otherwise add the vanilla extract.
Whisk the egg yolks until nice and creamy
When the cream mixture starts to creep up the sides of the pot remove from the heat and immediately pour onto the eggs from a height of about 12 inches while whisking constantly.
Return the mixture to the pot over a very low heat and stir for about 1½ minutes.
Remove from the pot and allow to cool, removing the vanilla pod if using.

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Rhubarb Compote
500g Rhubarb stalks (Leaves removed)
150g Sugar (forced rhubarb will need less sugar)
½ Lemon Juiced

Meanwhile make the Rhubarb compote.
Wash and chop the sticks of Rhubarb into about 1cm slices.
Place in a wide pot, add the sugar and lemon juice and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Then place a lid on the pot and cook on a medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until the slices have completely softened.
Taste for sweetness as rhubarb varies, add a little more sugar if necessary or a squeeze of Lemon.
Remove from the pot onto a tray to cool as quickly as possible, cooking and cooling quickly will keep the rhubarbs lovely fresh pink colour.

When the pastry has chilled, remove from the fridge.
Grease and flour some tartlet tins.
Roll the pastry out to about 1cm thick. Then cut out circles of pastry and fit into the tartlet cases. At this point, having put the effort in thus far, make sure there are no cracks or tares in the pastry. You can fill in cracks with extra dough and even it out by pressing the pastry into the tartlet case.
Cut out circles of baking parchment , line the tartlet cases and fill with ceramic cooking stones or some dried beans.
Place in a preheated for 10-15 minutes or until they begin to turn brown.
Remove from the oven, remove the parchment with the baking stones allow the tartlets to rest in the tins for 5 minutes. Then carefully remove from the the tins and place on a cooling rack.
When everything has cooled, place the tartlet shells on plates and fill with rhubarb compote.
Serve with homemade custard or cream.

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*To make tartlet cases you will need some circles of baking parchment that fill the cases coming just over the sides of each tin and some ceramic baking stones to put inside. If you don’t have ceramic baking stones use dried beans or chic peas to weigh the pastry down.
This keeps the pastry from rising so you have a perfect shell to fill with Rhubarb compote

*The other thing to keep in mind is that you must rest the pastry in the fridge, otherwise it will be very difficult to deal with.