The Northern hemisphere blogosphere is going crazy over “fall.” My favourite writers are either lamenting the end of the stone fruit season- wondering how they will survive without roasted peaches and apricot compotes. Or other bloggers’ posts are full of exclamation marks as they look forward to woollen coats(!), thick stews(!), extra duvets (or comforters)(!), pumpkin and squash(!), crunchy leaves under foot(!) and wearing scarves(!), gloves(!) and seeing your breath at winter market stalls(!!!).
I love this excitement over the change of seasons. The new produce, a new wardrobe, a change in weather (hopefully for the better) can make all the difference to winter’s drudgery. New season asparagus, purple tipped and crunchy. New season potatoes, or rhubarb, or spring lamb – all are wonderful reminders of the importance of eating seasonally.
I wish to jump on this seasonal bandwagon with a pretty-in-pink rhubarb tart. Last week, while the weather in Wellington was decidedly not Spring, I went to cook and eat and speak french with Ollie’s lovely French flatmates, Gabrielle and Antoine. On the menu was a pear, walnut and Gorgonzola risotto and une tarte à la rhubarbe pour le dessert.
The risotto was, as Ollie declared, one of the best risottos he had ever had. Risotto can be quite rich and overly creamy but the sharpness of the Gorgonzola plus the sweetness of the pear made quite a delightful combination.
For la tarte à la rhubarbe I peeled the pinky-red threads from the rhubarb stalks while Gabrielle made the pastry. We drank mint tea and the kitchen steamed up, making it near impossible to see the rain still drizzling outside. With Gabrielle’s instruction I mixed the tart filling. Gabrielle is the kind of cook I would love to be one day – instinctive. We chatted away in a sort of franglais about grams and cup measurements as we made the tart filling, un petit peu plus, oh un peu trop, oh well!
La tarte came out of the oven slightly golden, the rhubarb pale shades of pink. I think it would be lovely with marscapone or vanilla bean ice cream.
It really is a very pretty dessert.
From the kitchen of Gabrielle et Antoine
6 stalks of rhubarb
2 tablespoons ground almonds
3 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
Place the flour in a bowl. Rub in the butter and knead the mixture until a smooth dough forms. Press the dough into a shallow tart pan.
Peel the rhubarb and chop into 2cm pieces. Spread evenly over the pastry.
In a separate bowl thoroughly whisk the eggs. Then add the cream and other ingredients, whisk well. Pour over the rhubarb and place in the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft.
Serve hot or slightly warmed.