Round three of distant kitchens! If you are new to the concept, I explain it a little more here. This time Stacy and I went with something that wasn't so component heavy. Nice and simple. Something nice and simple, that I nearly bailed on as I was convinced mine were a total flop. They tasted amazing, I just couldn't photograph them in a way that I was happy with. I tried a zillion different ways. It took putting everything down, doing something for a few hours, and then coming back with the acceptance that it wasn't going to look how I had in my head, until I got some content I liked. These things happen! Thanks to Stacy for putting up with my minor tantrum over text! We got there in the end.
We went with Bruléed Lemon and rhubarb tart. Rhubarb season is just coming to an end here in NYC, and Stacy managed to sweet talk her local store into ordering in some frozen for her! I think this is a nice way to farewell it until next year, although the plants I have on my balcony clearly either are drunk or didn't get the memo as they are only just starting to grow now? Naughty. Guess I'll be having autumn rhubarb!
The recipe that we used is from an amazing book that I have called The Cook and Baker. It is written by two New Zealanders who run a cafe in Sydney. It is filled with the recipes of my childhood. I highly recommend it if you want great, simple recipes!
For the first time since we began distant kitchens, our final product turned out fairly similar, which is what I was kind of expecting - neither of us pulled the 'make it mini/make it bigger trick' this time! I opted for a slightly shallower tart whereas Stacy's were a little deeper, but aside from that they looked fairly similar! They taste amazing - the lemon curd is sweet enough to compliment the tartness of the rhubarb, and the pastry is buttery and pulls everything together really nicely. They would be great to take to a party or assemble in front of your guests - the brulée part is pretty impressive. They are definitely best eaten just after they are assembled, so if you are planning on pre-preparing, I highly recommend keeping all the components separate until you are ready to eat.
Then comes the fun part - the bruléeing! You can skip this if you don't have a torch, but cracking through the caramelised sugar layer to the lemon curd makes everything taste so so good! Plus I love using my blow torch. And also the word brulée. So so much. The sugar dissolves quickly so make sure that you sift on a fairly thick layer, and then blow torch it immediately after using a sweeping motion. The sugar will melt and look like it has disappeared - keep burning! It will bubble and caramelise after this and be all golden brown and delicious.
I prepared the dough and then while it was resting, used this time to prep the lemon curd and rhubarb, so by the time the cooked cases were cooled, everything was ready to go!
As usual if you try this recipe we would love to see your attempts - please use the hashtag #distantkitchens on instagram so that you can add to both mine and Stacy's version!
Bruléed Lemon and Rhubarb tart
-Makes Eight 10 cm/4 inch tarts-
Adapted from The Cook and Baker
250g (2 cups) All-purpose flour
55g (1/4 cup) sugar
pinch of salt
200g (7oz) cold butter, cubed
50ml (1 3/4 fl oz) water
150ml (2/3 cup) Lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
125g (2/3 cup) sugar
pinch of salt
225g (2 sticks, or 1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
3 stalks of rhubarb, trimmed
3 Tbsp sugar
- PROCESS -
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sifted flour, sugar and salt. Add the cubes of butter one at a time, and mix until it is the consistency of sand. Add the water a small amount at a time, and mix until it forms a cohesive dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly until the mixture comes together. Flatten into a rectangle, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and rest in the fridge for 30-60 minutes, or overnight. Use this time to prepare the lemon curd and rhubarb.
Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Lightly grease your tart tins - I prefer fluted tart tins with removable bottoms.
On a floured surface, roll out the rested pastry to approximately 4mm (1/8 inch) thick. Line the tart tins. Cover and rest in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Line each tart tin with crumpled baking paper and a blind baking material such as rice or beans. Bake the tart shells for 15 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to colour. Remove the paper and beans, and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the rhubarb into 5cm (2 inch) lengths. Place on the prepared tray, and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pieces are just tender enough to yield to a knife. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack covered with a paper towel to drain and cool.
In a large glass bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the butter. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk frequently for 10-15 minutes until the curd is very thick, and reads 82c/180f on a sugar thermometer. Another test for thickness is if it coats the back of the spoon to the extent that if you run your finger down the back of the spoon, it leaves a very well defined trail.
Remove from the heat, and whisk in the butter a cube at a time, until fully incorporated. Store in a sterile glass jar until cool/you are ready to use it. Will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks if you wanted to make it in advance.
Slice the cooled rhubarb lengthways. Fill the bottom of each tart case with the sliced rhubarb. Spoon over the lemon curd, and smooth with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
Prepare blow torch. Sift a layer of icing sugar over the surface of a tart, then using the blow torch in slow sweeping motions, torch until the sugar melts, then caramelises. Repeat with each tart until done. Serve immediately.
If you were wanting to prepare these ahead of time, prepare each component individually, then assemble just before serving.
Head over to 27th and Olive to see Stacy's version of this tart!