UK grown rhubarb is just coming into the shops and provides wonderful colour for this Valentine’s Day dessert.
350g shortcrust pastry, defrosted if frozen
400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into short lengths
225g golden caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling
150g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla powder
50g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6.
- Roll the pastry out thinly and use to line a deep 23cm fluted tart tin. Prick the base, line with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and cook for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and parchment and bake for a further 5 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through.
- Meanwhile, toss together the rhubarb and 75g sugar. Put the mixture in an ovenproof dish and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the rhubarb is just tender but still holding its shape.
- Turn the oven down to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Using electric beaters, whisk together the butter, eggs, almonds, baking powder, vanilla powder, flour and remaining 150g sugar, until very soft. Place ½ the rhubarb in the base of the pastry case. Spread the almond mixture over the top, then scatter over the remaining rhubarb. Sprinkle with the extra 1 tbsp sugar and bake for 45 minutes, until golden (cover loosely with foil if it starts to brown on top).
- Leave to cool, then serve with custard, ice cream or crème fraiche.
- The choice of seasonal UK grown fruit available in February is very limited with rhubarb just coming into season and a limited variety of apples still available.
- You can enjoy fruit out of season by making fruit into jams and preserves or cooking and freezing portions.
- Naturally encased fruits which can be allowed to ripen such as melons, oranges, bananas and are transported by ship have a fairly low carbon footprint.
- You can scatter pomegranate seeds to garnish this desert. Decorative like little pink jewels, this fruit symbolises beauty and fertility.
- Avoid buying soft fruits like raspberries and strawberries out of season as these will have been transported by air and have a high carbon footprint.