It’s my Nan’s 88th birthday today – so firstly I’d like to wish her a lovely day and send my love. To celebrate the occasion my parents had us round for lunch last weekend. As is becoming tradition, I was put in charge of dessert. I knew that my dad was in charge of the birthday cake and didn’t want to double up on that front. So after a lot of thought and a little bit of research I decided to make this; a Rhubarb, Ginger and Lime Frangipane Tart.

I was originally going to make a Lemon Meringue Pie – which is a family favourite. But for whatever reason I kept changing my mind and coming up with different ideas. If I’d had more time – and there were more than 5 of us at lunch – then maybe this tart would have been one of many…

The idea for this recipe came about after seeing many posts on Instagram discussing the start of forced Rhubarb season. I’m no gardener so won’t try and claim I understand how forcing rhubarb works… All I know is that by growing it in the dark you encourage it to shoot earlier. As a result you can harvest it even in the depths of winter. Rhubarb grown this way is often paler in colour and not quite as flavoursome as the main crop. Though it does benefit from being more tender and a little sweeter. Even so, you’ll still need to cook it – when raw it’s far too sour to be pleasurable.

The other flavours in this tart complement the rhubarb wonderfully. The preserved stem ginger brings a lovely warmth and spiciness. Plus, what more could an octegenarian want than some stem ginger? It’s like catnip to old ladies, isn’t it? The lime was added for freshness and even though it’s quite subtle it’s still very much present in the frangipane filling.

Pastry is something that I have tended to avoid making in the past. I’ve always considered it to be somewhat of a faff. Plus, if it goes wrong it will ruin the whole recipe. As this was for my Nan’s birthday I thought the extra effort was worth risk so I made my own Sweet Shortcrust Pastry. It actually turned out really well and is every bit as short as I’d hoped. The making was also rather therapeutic too. Though rubbing in the butter is no match for kneading bread dough on that front!

Oh and for anyone who watches the Great British Bake Off I can report that there was no soggy bottom on this tart. I may not have a photo to prove it, but I do have plenty of witnesses to attest to its beautiful golden underside. 😉

Not that anyone would be looking at the underside when the top is so beautiful, eh? I accept that anyone who writes a food blog that mostly showcases their own recipes isn’t going to win any modesty awards, but… I have to say that I am really pleased with how this turned out. Of course you could lay the rhubarb out however you felt it would look best.

This parquet floor / herringbone style wasn’t at all planned – it’s just how I found myself placing the rhubarb on top of the frangipane filling to the tart. Fortunately, it looks good on every single slice, as well as on the tart as a whole. Very much a dessert for a special occasion – Happy Birthday, Nan.


Rhubard, Ginger and Lime Frangipane Tart

Ingredients

for the Rhubarb

  • 300 g Rhubarb
  • 50 g Caster Sugar

for the Pastry Case

  • 400 g Sweet Shortcrust Pastry see notes

for the Frangipane

  • 125 g Unsalted Butter softened
  • 125 g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 2 large Free-Range Eggs
  • 1 ball Preserved Stem Ginger from a jar finely chopped
  • 2 Limes zested (you’ll use the juice below)
  • 125 g Ground Almonds
  • 50 g Plain Flour

for the Glaze

  • 2 Limes juiced
  • 2 tbsp Syrup from Stem Ginger jar

Instructions

Prepare the Rhubarb

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  • If you’re using main crop rhubarb you may need to trim off some of the tougher, fibrous parts of the stems. If you’re using forced rhubarb this step may not be needed. 
  • Cut the rhubarb into 2-3cm lengths, then spread out into a deep baking tray. Sprinkle over the caster sugar then pop into the oven for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the rhubarb from the oven and carefully transfer to a plate to cool. Keep the syrup that formed during cooking to one side, as you’ll be using this later.

Bake the Pastry Case

  • Keep the pastry chilled in the fridge until needed. It’s best to work with it when it’s cold.
  • Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with a little flour. Roll out the pastry to suit the shape of your tart tin, until it’s about the thickness of a pound coin (3mm). 
  • Carefully transfer the pastry into the tart tin and gently press into the flutes and corners as necessary. If you get any tears or gaps you can fill them with some of the excess pastry. Trim off any excess pastry to just above the edge of the tin. Put the pastry and tin back into the fridge for 20-30 minutes to chill.
  • Cut a piece of baking parchment that’s around 5cm larger than your tart tin. Scrunch it up into a ball, then lay it over the pastry in the tart tin (the scrunching should make it easier to press it out to all of the corners). Weight it down with some baking beans (or uncooked rice if you don’t have them) and make sure they’re spread out to the corners of the tin. 
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the baking parchment and baking beans, then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, or so, until the pastry is golden.

Make the Tart

  • While then pastry case is baking you can make the fragipane. Start by mixing together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until they’re combined and light. 
  • Beat in the eggs, followed by the chopped stem ginger and lime zest. Mix until well combined. Sprinkle in the ground almonds and flour, then fold through the mixture – don’t overwork the frangipane at this stage as it will affect the texture.
  • Transfer the fragipane to the cooked pastry case. Press the part-cooked rhubarb into the top of the fraginpane in the pattern of your choosing. Then return the tart to the oven to bake for another 35-40 minutes, until the frangipane is set. 
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes in the tin, before transferring to a wire rack. 
  • Whilst the tart is cooling make a glaze using the juice from the rhubarb, lime juice and some syrup from the stem ginger jar. Put into a small pan, then bring to a boil and reduce until thickened. Brush over the top of the cooled tart to give it a nice shine.
  • This can be enjoyed whilst it’s still warm from the oven or after it’s cooled. It should keep for a couple of days in a container. 

Notes

You can buy perfectly good sweet shortcrust pastry in the chiller or freezer cabinets of most supermarkets. Ordinarily I’d do exactly the same.
Though as this recipe was first created for my Nan’s birthday I thought I’d put in a little more effort and make the pastry from scratch. The recipe I used can be found here.

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