At the weekend I picked just enough rhubarb to make some kind of dessert. Wanted something different, and browsing through some old French cookery magazines, I found a recipe for a meringue tart with a difference, as it has a custard layer on the rhubarb before you add the meringue topping. Sounded like a great idea.
I love rhubarb, but we haven't a very big garden so I have to make good use of what we can grow!
It uses a 27cm tart tin, which is quite big.
So, you need:
350g of shortcrust pastry
1 kg rhubarb
1 egg and 2 yolks
20cl of cream
1 tbspn vanilla sugar
150 g of caster sugar (50g for marinating the rhubarb and about 100g or a bit less in the custard]
1 tbspn cornflour
For the meringue :
2 egg whites
50g caster sugar per egg
Preheat oven 220C/gas 8
Make the pastry and chill.
Cut the rhubarb stems into 2cm pieces, taking the strings off when necessary. Cover with the 50g of sugar and leave for an hour to macerate.
Drain the rhubarb in a sieve to get rid of some of the liquid..
Grease the tart tin and roll out the pastry to fit. Prick the bottom with a fork then add the rhubarb.
In a bowl, beat together the whole egg, yolks, cream, vanilla sugar, 100g of caster sugar [or less if you haven't got a sweet tooth] and the cornflour.
Pour this over the rhubarb and bake for 30 mins.
While it's cooking, beat the egg whites into peaks, then add the caster sugar a bit at a time - using 50g per egg gives a meringue which is dry and will harden. Use less sugar if you want a soft meringue.
When the tart is cooked, lower the oven temperature to 140C/gas1 or even lower if you can.
Pipe or spoon the meringue over the tart and put in the oven to dry out gently for about an hour. Test gently with your finger to see if it's dried.
We love meringue, so I used more than the 2 egg whites in the recipe - I used the whites from 3 large eggs to make a nice thick layer and piped it using a large nozzle.
The acidity of the rhubarb was great with the sweet meringue and the custard layer gave it another texture. Could use this idea with other fruit - maybe apple, or plums, but I think it's the contrast between the rhubarb and the meringue which makes this tart so good.
ps I inherited several cake servers from my Mum, so decided to use one of them in the photo - it's my favourite one.