I have come to realize over the past year or so, that for me, being in the kitchen is and has become a sort of meditation. A place where I am in my thoughts. 100% focused on the task at hand. Creating something that will [hopefully] taste wonderful, and look beautiful [though not always the case, I’ll be the first to admit!]. Nevertheless, when there is an idea on the tip of my tongue, and thought that needs to be seen through, experienced, learnt from, concluded... the kitchen is a place I like to be alone.
However, I love to learn about food. And while there is no shortage of platforms from which to learn, sometimes the very best ways are face to face. And no better face to share the kitchen with than a friend. Margaux Step, Cordon Bleu trained chef, coeliac, blogger behind Coeliac Chef Stories, and very close friend. We’ve grown to be similar in character, enough not to want to kill each other in the kitchen [!], and yet different enough that our experience and diets force us to think and approach the ‘problem’ differently. The perfect opportunity to share and learn.
Ok. Enough rambling. The heart of the matter. This mouthwatering Rhubarb + White Chocolate Tart that surpassed all expectations. That we had to share immediately. So that you could make it for your next dinner party/picnic/tea-for-one [judgement-free-zone, promise].
And BONUS. It’s gluten free. The things you learn while spending an epic recipe testing day in the kitchen with friend, coeliac, and chef extraordinaire. Please note the crust was adapted from Hemsley + Hemsley, while the rest of the recipe is a product of our obsession with sweet and savoury.
Rhubarb + White Chocolate Tart
nibs etc. + Coeliac Chef Stories original recipe. Makes 1 7x22cm/2.75x8.75in tart.
3 Long + Thin Rhubarb Stalks [of same width]
1 1/2 tbsp White Caster Sugar
A dusting of Long Grain Pepper [we used Akesson’s] – 10 or so gratings.
125g Mascarpone Cream
100g White Chocolate [we chose Lindt and it was rather excellent]
1 tsp Lemon Juice
100g Ground Almonds
1 Pinch of Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
7g Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Maple Syrup
1 Medium Egg
Preheat the oven to 200*C/390F.
Make the pastry by combining dry ingredients before adding in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Then add the maple syrup and egg until just combined. Press into your baking dish – either non stick or buttered – so that the base is about 3-5mm/1/5in (max) thick, and pastry rises about 3.5cm/1 1/3in up the side. Set in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice your rhubarb into 7cm/2 3/4in long pieces. Place in a baking dish, sprinkle with sugar and pepper, and roast for 15 or so minutes, until slightly soft to the touch, but having not yet lost their shape.
When done, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 180*C/350F.
Prick your pie crust with a fork, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown all over. Remove from the oven but leave in the mould, and set aside to cool.
To make the filling, melt your white chocolate over bain-marie/water bath until all pieces are softened, then remove from the flame and allow the residual heat of the bowl to complete the melting process – it is important not to burn the chocolate. Whisk smooth with a spatula and allow to cool completely before adding the mascarpone to avoid splitting. When ready, whisk in the cream and lemon until the mixture is glossy. If you accidentally over-whip and the mixture splits, fear not, add a couple drops of cold water and an extra teaspoon of cream until the mixture returns to a glossy consistency. Set in the fridge for 15 minutes or until ready to use.
To assemble, remove the tart shell from its mould, pour the cooled filling into it, using a spatula/knife/back of a spoon to carefully spread evenly into all the nooks and crannies. Then gently lay roasted rhubarb pieces evenly over the cream, and while I should tell you to set in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before serving, I would be much more inclined to say: dust with a little icing sugar, long grain pepper, and dive in, immediately.
For dessert or afternoon tea – we found it paired rather nicely with a Sri Lankan Ceylon.
With an additional spoonful of rhubarb jam layered across the base of your tart shell, for added tartness. Or double up on the roasted rhubarb.
Served with a warm dark chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, or extra dollop of whipped cream.