Cakes & Bakes: Rhubarb and custard tart

Home-made rhubarb and custard tart | H is for Home

One of the things that Todmorden is famous for is Incredible Edible, a group of local people who have started something of a revolution, growing food in public places in & around the town centre.

Incredible Edible rhubarb, peas, onions and chives growing in Todmorden Train Station car park

There are vegetables outside the police station and local community college, herbs along the canal tow-path and in the train station and an apothecary garden in the grounds of the health centre.

Stalks of rhubarb with metal colander

Everything is free for anyone to come along and help themselves – or even do a little weeding and clearing if the fancy takes them!

Measuring jug with eggs, custard powder and vanilla essence

The train station is on one of our daily dog-walking routes and it’s been lovely watching the progress of the peas, red onions, chives and the like.

Making custard

This week, along with the dog, I left the house with a pair of scissors and a carrier bag and cut a few stems of rhubarb – to use in a rhubarb and custard tart.

Pouring custard on tart pastry base

Rhubarb & custard is a classic British combination as is baked custard tart. I’ve put them together and come up with a delicious dessert.

Sticks of rhubarb in custard

I used the same pastry recipe as last week’s pear tart and made sure to add a tad more sugar than normal to the custard recipe… and a tablespoonful of Bird’s Custard Powder.

Home-made rhubarb and custard tart | H is for Home

The sweetness of the custard and the tartness of the rhubarb worked incredibly well – I’ll be making this one again before the end of the rhubarb season.

Rhubarb and custard tart
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the pastry base
  1. 200g/7oz plain flour
  2. 60g/2oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 125g/4½oz very cold butter
  5. 1 egg yolk
For the custard
  1. 400ml/14 fl oz double cream
  2. 100ml/3½ fl oz creamy milk
  3. 2 eggs, plus 2 yolks
  4. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  5. 1tbsp custard powder
  6. 1tsp vanilla essence
  7.  
  8. Home-made fat rascals ingredients
  9.  
For the pastry base
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the tart tin and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the pastry case to a cooling rack; keeping it in its tin
For the custard
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, slowly bring the cream and milk to a simmer
  2. In a large, heat-proof measuring jug, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, custard powder and vanilla essence
  3. Pour the hot cream & milk mixture into the bowl, whisking continuously
  4. Carefully strain the custard on to the cooked pastry base (don't overfill)
  5. Slice the rhubarb into lengths and place into a pattern in the custard
  6. Carefully put the tart tin into the oven (rearrange the rhubarb lengths if they drift in the liquid during the move!)
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top begins to brown
  8. Remove from the oven, sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the top and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing and serving
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes : French pear tart

Slice of home made French pear tart | H is for Home

It takes quite a few stages to make this French pear tart but it’s well worth the time and effort. If you don’t think you’ll have the time all in one day to do it, you can prepare most of it well in advance and bring it all together on the day you plan to bake & serve it.

Sweet tart dough ingredients in a food processor bowl | H is for Home Mixed sweet tart dough ingredients in a food processor bowl | H is for Home

You can whiz up the pastry, press it into the tart tin and freeze it… weeks in advance.

I must admit, it has got to be – by a country mile – the most delicious pastry I’ve ever made!

Peeled pears and squeezed lemon

You can cut corners (and time) by using tinned pears or simply omitting the poaching stage if using fresh fruit.

Almond cream in a food processor bowl with bottle of rum in the background | H is for Home

The almond cream can be made a couple of days before and left covered & chilled in the fridge until just before it’s due to be put in the oven.

Almond cream in sweet pastry case | H is for Home

My rectangular tart tin is so large that I had to double up the almond cream recipe and cut the pears into quarters rather than halves.

French pear tart before being put in the oven | H is for Home

The resulting tart is very attractive (not to mention photogenic!) and can be cut so each person gets a neat slice of pear.

Home made French pear tart | H is for Home

It’s moist and sweet – sweet enough to serve with a dollop of tangy crème fraîche or thick Greek yoghurt on the side.

Home made French pear tart, detail | H is for Home Home made French pear tart, detail | H is for Home

The perfect bake for a dinner party or daily treat.

French pear tart
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Cook Time
55 min
Cook Time
55 min
For the pastry
  1. 200g/7oz plain flour
  2. 60g/2oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 125g/4½oz very cold butter
  5. 1 egg yolk
For the pears
  1. 3 medium pears
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 1 litre water
  4. 250g/9oz granulated sugar
For the filling
  1. 85g/3oz butter, softened
  2. 150g/5oz caster sugar
  3. 75g/2½ ground almonds
  4. 2tsp plain flour
  5. 1tsp cornflour
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2tsp dark rum or vanilla essence
  8.  
  9. Home-made French pear tart ingredients
  10.  
For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the tart tin and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the pastry case to a cooling rack; keeping it in its tin
For the pears
  1. Peel the pears, leaving them whole
  2. Bring water, sugar and the juice of the lemon to a boil in a saucepan just large enough to hold the pears
  3. Add the pears to the boiling syrup, lower the heat so the syrup simmers and gently poach the pears until they are tender when pierced with a knife - about 15 minutes
  4. Cool the pears to room temperature in the syrup
For the filling
  1. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth and satiny
  2. Add the ground almonds and continue to process until well blended
  3. Add the flour, cornflour and egg. Process until the almond cream is homogeneous
  4. Add the rum or vanilla and process just enough to blend
To combine
  1. Fill the baked pastry case with the almond cream, spreading it even with an offset metal icing spatula
  2. Thinly slice each pear half crosswise, lift each half on a spatula and place carefully on to the almond cream to form an attractive pattern
  3. Bake the tart for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the almond cream puffs up around the pears and browns
  4. Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature before removing it from its tin
  5. Allow to cool completely before serving
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Spinach, cheese & onion tart

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Home-made spinach, cheese & onion tart | via @hisforhome

I bought myself a brand new, fluted loose-bottomed tart tin this week and couldn’t wait to use it!

ball of wholemeal shortcrust pastry

I decided to make a spinach, cheese & onion tart from a recipe that I tore out of a Telegraph magazine a few weeks ago.

wholemeal shortcrust pastry flan case

A couple of spoonfuls of English mustard adds a nice piquancy and depth of flavour.

wholemeal shortcrust pastry flan case ready to be blind-baked

We got six, good portions from the tart which can be eaten either hot or cold.

slicing onions and garlic

It’s perfect for a light lunch with a few salad leaves – and can be made well in advance if you’ve got guests coming and don’t want any last-minute stress.

washed fresh spinach

We had it the following night as more substantial evening meal pairing it with paprika-salted potato skins and mixed salad.

eggs, cream and English mustard

There are all kinds of flavour variations possible using this basic method – bacon, chorizo, smoked salmon, goat’s cheese, mushroom…

spinach, cheese &onion tart

Very delicious and very versatile.

Spinach, cheese & onion tart
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For the pastry
  1. 200g plain flour
  2. 100g wholemeal flour
  3. 150g cold butter, cubed
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 3tbs cold water
For the filling
  1. 30g butter
  2. 550g onions, peeled and very finely sliced
  3. 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  4. 450g spinach
  5. 2 whole large eggs, plus 3 egg yolks
  6. 300ml double cream
  7. 2tsp English mustard
  8. 150g mature cheddar, grated
  9.  
  10. cheese soda bread ingredients
For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, butter and pinch of salt into a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs
  2. Add the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing between each addition until the mixture comes together into a ball
  3. Shape into a thick disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for half an hour
For the filling
  1. Melt the 30g of butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently cook the onion and garlic, with a little salt, until slightly golden, then add a good splash of water and cover
  2. Sweat on a low heat until the onions are soft and sloppy - around half an hour - stirring occasionally
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas mark 4 and put a metal baking sheet inside
  4. Roll out the pastry and line a loose-bottomed tart tin 27cm diameter or 20 x 28cm (keep any leftover bits of pastry)
  5. Chill for 20 minutes
  6. Take the lid off the onions, turn up the heat and let the excess moisture bubble off and the onions cook until they are golden and sweet
  7. Wash the spinach and cook in a covered pan with just the water left clinging to it, about 4 minutes over a medium heat, until wilted
  8. Drain in a colander and leave to cool
  9. Line the pastry case with parchment paper, fill with baking beans and blind-bake on the preheated tray for 15 minutes
  10. Remove the paper and beans and cook for a further 7-10 minutes
  11. Remove from the oven and use any leftover raw pastry to patch any cracks
  12. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the spinach, chop roughly, season and add to the onions
  13. Mix the eggs, yolks, cream and mustard and season well
  14. Spread the onion and spinach in the tart case, sprinkle on the cheese and pour on the cream mixture
  15. Put back into the oven, on the baking sheet, for 30 minutes, until set in the middle and golden
  16. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart

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Home-made honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart

We have some friends that live nearby who are having their kitchen renovated. For the next few weeks, all they’ll have to cook on is a single-burner camping stove.

Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart ingredients

We’ve been in the exact same position in the past – it’s such a drag! We invited them round to ours for dinner tonight so we thought we’d cook them something that they can’t currently make at home.

Glazed figs before being put in the oven to roast

Justin’s making the main course – chicken breasts filled with a fennel, pastrami and chicken mousse with a spinach and pine nut lasagne – and I’m making the dessert.

Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart before going into the oven

In keeping with the loosely Mediterranean theme, I’ve cooked a honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart. You can buy ready-made shortcrust pastry to make the base, but it’s really easy to make yourself at home – a 2-minute job… honest!

Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart before going into the oven

I’ve not made this tart before – I hope it’s a hit tonight!

Honey-roasted fig & marzipan tart
Serves 4
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Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g/18oz pack shortcrust pastry at room temperature or make your own
  2. 4 ripe fresh figs, stalks trimmed
  3. 1tbs lemon juice
  4. 1 tbs clear honey
  5. 100g/3½oz softened butter
  6. 100g/3½oz golden caster sugar
  7. 100g3½oz ground almonds
  8. 1 medium egg yolk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  2. Grease a shallow, loose-bottomed 20cm flan tin
  3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly-floured work surface
  4. Line the tin, carefully pushing it into the base & sides and making sure the pastry comes above the rim. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  5. In the meantime, halve the figs lengthways and put them cut side up on a roasting tray
  6. In a small measuring jug, combine the lemon juice and honey before pouring the liquid over the figs
  7. Roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes until just soft
  8. Drain off the juice (if any) and reserve
  9. Remove the pastry case from the fridge and prick the base all over with a fork, line with a circle of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes
  10. Remove the paper & beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden
  11. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2 Leave the pastry case to cool slightly before filling
  12. In a food processor or using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar until smooth & pale
  13. Add the ground almonds and whizz briefly to combine
  14. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp of the reserved fig juice and whizz again until smooth
  15. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the marzipan evenly over the pastry case base
  16. Gently press the figs, cut side up, into the almond mixture
  17. Bake for 1¼ hours or until the top turns golden all over
  18. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes before removing sides and transfer to a wire rack to cool
  19. Serve cool or cold with crème fraîche or clotted cream
Adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: No bake double choc nut tart

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Slice of home-made double choc nut tart via @hisforhome

I’ve had quite a lot on this week, so didn’t have a great deal of time to dedicate to a long-drawn-out Cakes & Bakes recipe.

Double choc nut tart ingredients

This no bake double choc nut tart is short on time, but big on taste and impact.

Dark chocolate digestives and butter

It would be perfect to make for a dinner party where there are a few courses to juggle in preparation.

Dark chocolate digestive tart base

The chocolate ganache is really simple to make and is rich and unctuous – a chocoholics dream!

Melting dark chocolate with double cream to make a ganache

The base can be made with chocolate digestive biscuits or, if you’re in the US and can’t get hold of them, Chocolate Creme Oreos are a good substitute.

Chocolate ganache

I topped it with toasted chopped mixed nuts and finished with a few pecan halves but you can use walnuts, hazelnuts or whatever takes your fancy!

Chocolate ganache poured on to digestive base

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or clotted cream and a sprig of mint to garnish – just perfection!

Home-made double choc nut tart via @hisforhome

No bake double choc nut tart
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 250g/9oz dark chocolate digestive biscuits
  2. 100g/3½oz butter, cubed &softened
  3. 300g/10½oz dark chocolate, broken up into pieces
  4. 200ml/7fl oz double cream
  5. 1tbs mixed nuts, toasted
  6. 8 pecans
Instructions
  1. Add the digestive biscuits to a food processor and grind until fine crumbs
  2. Add the softened butter to the biscuit crumbs and pulse until combined
  3. Pour the mixture into a tart dish (I used a cm diameter round one) and press evenly into the base and up the sides using the back of a spoon
  4. Put the base into the fridge for 20 minutes to harden
  5. Put the broken up dark chocolate and double cream into a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl into a saucepan filled with water to a level where it doesn't quite touch the bowl
  6. Heat the saucepan until just boiled then turn down low
  7. Stir the chocolate & cream mixture to combine well and remove any lumps
  8. Remove the base from the fridge, pour over the chocolate sauce and shake slightly to level it out
  9. Return to the fridge for 20 minutes before sprinkling with the chopped nuts and placing the pecans evenly around the edge
  10. Serve as is or garnish with a few strawberries, blueberries and/or mint leaves
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Bakewell Tart

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Slice of home-made Bakewell tart via @hisforhome

This week’s Cakes & Bakes offering is a quintessential British classic – Bakewell tart.

Bakewell tart ingredients

I’ve never featured a Hairy Bikers recipe previously – but I do like lots of what they cook.

flour and butter in a food processor

When I looked at the quantity of ingredients, I thought that it seemed a lot. An entire pack of butter, 2 packets of ground almonds, 8 – yes EIGHT – eggs in the filling (and a further three in the pastry).

Sweet shortcrust pastry

The recipe supposedly makes one 23cm/9-inch tart, but I used less than half of the pastry and just over half of the filling that it called for.

Rolled out sweet shortcrust pastry

I’m not wasting anything though, both the spare pastry and the filling have gone into the freezer; I’ll be able to make another tart in double quick time next time.

Bakewell tart shortcrust pastry base

Bakewell tart is a perfect cake for our 4 o’clock afternoon tea break.

Raspberry jelly spread on a cooked Bakewell tart shortcrust pastry base

It’s not dry, but a sip of tea after every couple of mouthfuls works so well.

Bakewell tart filling ingredients

Almonds and fruity jam are such a great combination of flavours. Throw in some buttery pastry and you’re not likely to be disappointed.

Uncooked Bakewell tart

There’s a good reason it’s become a classic.

Home-made Bakewell tart

There’s at least 8 slices in the tart so that’s four days sorted – unless we’re incredibly generous and give a piece away!

Bakewell Tart
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For the pastry
  1. 425g/15oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 250g/9oz unsalted butter
  5. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  6. ½ tsp salt
  7. 50g/2oz ground almonds
For the filling
  1. 400g/14oz ground almonds
  2. 175g/6oz caster sugar
  3. 8 eggs, beaten
  4. ½ tsp almond essence
  5. 3 tbs raspberry jam
  6. 50g/2oz flaked almonds
For the pastry
  1. In a food processor, add the flour, salt, sugar, butter and almonds and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  2. Add the eggs & yolks one at a time and pulse until a smooth dough is formed
  3. Bring the dough together into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour
  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/360ºF/Gas mark 4
  5. Grease & flour a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed tart tin
  6. Unwrap the chilled pastry and roll out onto a cold, floured work surface (this is a very 'short' pastry and at first will be difficult to handle)
  7. Line the tart tin with the pastry and trim off any excess. Prick the base with a fork, then cover the pastry lightly with a round of baking parchment. Cover the parchment with baking beans (I use dried chickpeas) put into the oven to bake blind for 15 minutes
  8. Remove the pastry base from the oven, pour out the baking beans (or chickpeas) remove the baking parchment and set aside to cool. If the base is still a little underdone, return it to the oven for a minute or two to dry out
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 165ºC/330ºF/Gas mark 2
For the filling
  1. Put the ground almonds and caster sugar into a bowl and combine
  2. Add the beaten eggs and almond essence and combine well
  3. Once the tart pastry base has cooled, spread a generous layer of raspberry jam onto the bottom
  4. Pour the filling mixture over the raspberry jam to fill the pastry case almost to the top
  5. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is baked through and golden-brown all over
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or cold
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/