Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Little Rhubarb Custard Tarts

My rhubarb is finely up and ready to be picked.  I've had something in mind to make with it but couldn't find a recipe to satisfy my vision.  I came up with this recipe using a combination of two fillings from two different recipes.  I'd hoped for a layered effect inside the crust but alas, what I ended up with was a fusion of vanilla custard and sweetened rhubarb uncased in a tender flaky crust.  The result, not the layered look I was going for but the taste, is truly divine!  The recipe makes 12  3 inch tarts using a medium sized muffin pan.  I cut the recipe in 1/2 to bake for my husband and I wish I hadn't.

Makes 12 3 inch tarts

For the Rhubarb filling...
1 cup of diced fresh rhubarb
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons corn starch, sifted

For the custard filling...
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch, sifted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the dough...
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold cut into 1/2 inch dice
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup milk

Egg wash...
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk

Rhubarb filling...
1.  Combine the rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Set aside for 30 minutes to allow juices to emerge. 

 2.  On medium heat, cook the rhubarb, stirring with a wooden spoon until it begins to soften.  Add the cornstarch and quickly stir it into the rhubarb.  Continue to stir and cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and pour in a small bowl, set aside to cool.

Custard filling...
1.  In a small heavy bottomed sauce pan, whisk together cornstarch and sugar.  Gradually whisk in milk.  Add the butter.  Place on medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until thickened.  Temper the beaten egg yolk with a little of the hot custard stirring as you pour.  Combine the remaining custard to the tempered egg and stir well.  Add the vanilla.  Set aside and allow to cool.

The dough...
1.  In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar baking powder, salt, lemon zest and butter bits.  With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles course crumbs.

2.  Add the milk to the flour mixture and mix together with a fork until the dough starts to come together.  With your hands gather together the dough and form it into a ball, flatten it into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To assemble and bake the tarts...
1.  Divide the dough in half and roll out on a lightly floured work surface, into an 11 inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick.  Using a 3 inch fluted cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and press them centered into the bottoms and up the sides of the muffin pan, rolling the scraps and cutting and filling all 12 sections.

2.  Spoon a small amount of rhubarb filling in the bottom of each shell, just covering the bottom, then with a clean spoon, spoon the custard filling over the top of the rhubarb being careful to fill just below the rim of the shell.

3.  Roll the second half of dough out as before and cut 12 pieces of dough with the 3 inch cutter.  Using a pastry brush, one circle at a time, brush egg wash on the back side of of the edge of the circle and place the egg wash side down onto the tart and press the edges together carefully.  Egg wash the tops of each tart.  Refrigerate the tarts for 30 minutes.

4.  10 minutes before the tarts are ready to come out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 425° F.  When the oven is ready, transfer the tarts to the oven and bake for 6 minutes.  Turn the pan and bake another 6 minutes or until a golden brown.  Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool completely.  When completely cooled, run a small sharp knife around the tart shell between the shell and the pan to loosen the tarts.  Enjoy!  

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