Today we go back to a rhubarb recipe. Since rhubarb is uncommon in Italy I never know how to use it and I always struggle to find an appealing recipe, different from the classical English crumble.
The other day I received and email from a friend of mine who is currently living in Antwerpen, Belgium (where rhubarb is quite common). He is a bit of a foodie like myself and he is trying to cook with the local fruits and vegetables. Having bought some rhubarb at a market he was at first puzzled and tried eating some raw. This is not something I would recommend, as raw rhubarb is quite unpleasant. A friend of his came to the rescue with a traditional cake recipe from his mother, Mrs. Verwilligen. Pleasantly surprised by the result he decided to send me the recipe, which I have immediately baked and published! Thank you Muci!
Below is the recipe of Mrs. Verwilligen’s miraculous cake. The result is really nice, with the sharp and sour taste of rhubarb contrasted by the buttery shortcrust pastry and the sweet custard cream. In my opinion the amount for the shortcrust pastry and for the custard cream are slightly abundant for a 24 cm tart tin, so I suggest using a larger pan or reducing the amounts by a bit. The only change I made, which is optional, is to caramelise some sugar on the top of the cake with a cook’s blowtorch, as is done for the creme brulee. I think that the contrast between the soft rhubarb and the crunchy sugar is delicious.
for the shortcrust pastry:
250 g plain flour
125 g butter
1 pinch of salt
1/2 glass of water
for the filling:
450 g rhubarb
200 ml double cream
200 g granulated sugar
Prepare the shortcrust dough. With your hands mix the flour, butter and salt in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers. Add the water and knead quickly. Press the dough one or two times with the heel of your hand. If the dough is still wet, then knead in some more flour. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. In the mean time wash the rhubarb and cut it into small pieces, about 1 cm long. Then roll the dough to about 1 cm thick. Fill the tart pan with dough and cover with the rhubarb pieces on top. Spread two tablespoons of granulated sugar over the rhubarb and bake for 20 minutes. In a bowl mix the double cream, eggs and 150 g of granulated sugar. Pour it over the pie and bake for another 20 minutes.