Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart with Mascarpone Custard
At this time of year both rhubarb and strawberries are (or should be) in good supply in the home garden. To my tastebuds they make a particularly fine combination in dessert pies and tarts, complementing each other in taste and texture. My strawberry patch has been prolific this year, producing around a kilogram a day for three weeks before taking a rest before its next burst of production, so as well as having strawberries every morning with our muesli we have had some to spare for desserts.
I made up the recipe below to showcase the rhubarb and strawberry combination in a firm mascarpone custard with a hint of vanilla. If you have never made a fruit tart from scratch before it is probably a good idea if you consult a 'how to' recipe book or video before attempting this recipe, as I don't give detailed directions on how to make the pastry, poach rhubarb, and so on, but experienced bakers should have no trouble and can hopefully see just by reading the recipe that this will be worth their while.
If you have never used mascarpone before it is a very versatile Italian form of cultured cream, and you can find it near the sour cream in the supermarket chiller cabinet.
RHUBARB & STRAWBERRY TART
with Mascarpone Custard
home-made cream cheese shortcrust pastry
[250g flour, 100g butter, 40g cream cheese, 1 T sugar, pinch salt, 1-2 T cold water to mix]
10 stalks rhubarb
1 T sour cream
1 T caster sugar
1 egg yolk
½ t vanilla essence
1 egg white
Cut the rhubarb into 3-4 cm lengths, and poach them gently in a light sugar syrup (300 ml water, 3 T sugar) until tender. Leave to cool, then drain off the syrup.
Make the shortcrust pastry, put it in a plastic bag and leave it in the fridge while making the tart filling.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the mascarpone, sour cream, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla essence until smooth.
Roll out the pastry and line a 22-25 cm flan dish with it. Prick the bottom all over with a fork.
Put the baking dish and pastry back in the fridge to chill.
Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Halve the strawberries.
Put the egg white in a small bowl and beat it briefly with a fork.
When the oven has reached full heat take the flan dish from the fridge and brush the pastry with the beaten egg white.
Layer the rhubarb, then the strawberries, and finally the marscapone mixture in the pastry case, spreading the mascarpone mix gently over the fruit with a soft spatula.
Bake the tart for 30-40 minutes, until the pastry is brown and and the custard is set.
Cool to room temperature before serving.