What was the first thing that you learned to bake? I was incredibly lucky to grow up in a household where it was expected that most things we ate were made fresh from scratch. A household where we were encouraged to try new food, and to help in the kitchen. A household where it didn't matter if you ate some of the mixture before it made its way to the oven, or accidentally had a flour explosion while you were measuring. I spent a lot of time as a kid standing on a chair pulled up to the bench, 'helping'. I was allowed to measure ingredients, stir, and then sometimes when it came to cooking, if I was extra careful, I was allowed my own little frying pan next to the big one. I remember feeling so proud of myself when I began to make things myself - at first it was spaghetti bolognese on my weekly cooking night (we had spaghetti bolognese every week for a solid year or so), and basic baking. My repertoire slowly expanded as I got older, but it wasn't until I moved out that I realised how much I had taken for granted the expectation that we would know how to cook.
One of the first things that I remember making myself was this rhubarb flan. In New Zealand, because the climate is a little more mild, we get rhubarb year round. Which not only is amazing, but also means that I find myself feeling very hard done by with the very short season that we have. However it does mean that when it rolls around, I am more than ready to make the most of it!
I grew up calling this a flan (that's what it's called in the recipe book we used), but it would also qualify as a rhubarb custard tart. Either way, it's delicious, and super simple. A simple flaky pastry crust is filled with finely sliced rhubarb, which is then drowned in a quick sour cream / sugar / egg situation. The result is a dish which heroes the rhubarb. It is quick to put together, requires only a few ingredients, and can easily be made ahead. No blind baking and fussing around with pie weights and things.
I have used store bought puff pastry in this recipe. While I do love a good short crust or home-made rough puff pastry, I grew up eating this made with bought pastry. It makes the whole process much quicker and easier, but still yields a delicious dessert that can be ready within the hour. If you would like to make this with a home made pastry I am sure that it would turn out just as great, if not better!
- Makes one 9"/23cm tart -
Adapted from Alison Holst
1 sheet (250g) flaky puff pastry, thawed
3 cups (400g) rhubarb, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/2 cup (115g) sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
Lightly whipped cream or ice cream, to serve.
- PROCESS -
Preheat oven to 220˚c / 440˚f. Lightly grease a 9" / 23cm removable bottom tart tin. Alternatively you can use a pie dish.
Roll out the puff pastry to a circle slightly larger than your tin. Line the tin with the pastry, using a rolling pin or knife to cut the pastry flush with the edge of the tin.
Arrange the thinly cut rhubarb in the pastry lined tin.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla bean paste and salt. Pour over the rhubarb. Shake the tin gently to help distribute the egg mixture if necessary.
Place the tart tin on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn down the oven to 180˚c / 350˚f and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the flan is set in the centre.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tin on a baking rack. Serve warm with lightly whipped cream or ice cream