Lots of people have been talking about strawberries and rhubarb making a winning combination, so when my lovely friend Sarah gave me a big bunch of rhubarb from her garden the other week, I thought it was about time I found out what all the fuss is about.
They weren’t wrong. Sweet strawberries are the perfect foil for the tartness of rhubarb. And for me the creamy tanginess of a lemon tart provides a perfect base for this fruit frenzy.
Alright, I have to admit though my strawberry, rhubarb and lemon tart isn’t the prettiest pudding around. Presentation, particularly when it comes to sweet things, isn’t always my strong point. And I did slightly over-colour the pastry. But then, I am a home cook after all. As long as it tastes good, then I’m happy. Very happy in fact.
Strawberry, rhubarb and lemon tart
For the pastry case
125g soft butter
100g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
250g plain flour
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp milk
600g rhubarb, chopped into inch-long chunks
6 tbsp granulated sugar
Splash orange juice
400g strawberries, hulled and quartered
170g caster sugar
170ml double cream
Juice and grated zest of 3 lemons
Start by making the pastry. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, icing sugar and salt. Then add the flour and egg yolks and rub in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the milk and work together to form a dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4.
Grease a 30cm tart dish. Roll out the pastry into a large circle and carefully line the dish, pressing the pastry into the edges and making sure it comes fully up the sides. You may need to do some patching up here and there – I always do.
Blind bake the empty tart for 15 minutes until the pastry is coloured ever so slightly. Then leave to one side while you prepare the filling.
Place the chopped rhubarb in a saucepan with 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar and a splash of orange juice and heat gently. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the rhubarb is tender but still has a little bite in it.
In a bowl, scatter 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar over the chopped strawberries and gently mix together.
Whisk together the caster sugar and eggs in a large bowl and then stir in the cream, lemon juice and zest.
Spoon the strawberries into the middle of your pastry tart and arrange the cooked rhubarb around this. Then pour over the creamy lemon mixture and carefully transfer this to your oven. You should do here as proper chefs suggest and pour in the mixture when the tart is already in the oven to reduce spillage, but I invariably forget this bit and have to mop the floor afterwards.
Bake for around 45 minutes until the filling is firm but still has a little wobble to it, and if you can (unlike me) catch it before the pastry turns too dark around the edges. But hey, don’t worry if it does. My dad always told me the burned bits were good for your insides.
Leave to cool for an hour or so while the filling sets some more. Serve with some vanilla ice cream or a dollop of creme fraiche.
I’m entering this tart into the Tea Time Treats blog challenge hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender & Lovage, as the theme this month is Summer Fruits. As Wimbledon approaches, what fruit could better represent the British idea of summer than the ubiquitious strawberry?