Mini rhubarb and raspberry crumble tarts

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

For the pastry:
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
75g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
100g full fat cream cheese
75g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
A little milk to bind

For the filling:
3 medium sticks of rhubarb – finely chopped
1 packet of raspberries
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 dash of orange liquor
A few tablespoons of home-made jam.

For the crumble topping:
4oz flour
2oz butter
2oz demarara sugar
Lots of cinnamon

Featured in:
March 2012

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have been asked to take part as a contestant in the second series of Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard. As well as being an eccentric Frenchman, Eric is a master baker extraordinaire, famous for his wonderful creations with pastry. The TV show is set up in Eric’s London based patisserie, Cake Boy, and involves three foodies battling it out to win; the prize being a day spent with Eric in his kitchen, learning some incredible skills and the secrets behind his stunning creations.

The day I went in, the theme was ‘Fruit Tart’. We had been given the theme a few days before the filming so we could prepare. It was all very ‘Masterchef’ in the way that it was filmed and as you can imagine we had a really exciting time with only two hours to prepare and cook our dishes. Nerves were fraught and the tension was palpable but I did have great fun. I won’t spoil it by telling you who won; you’ll have to tune in to Channel 4, 5th March at 1pm to find out.

I decided to go for these little tarts because March is rhubarb season and I adore rhubarb. It’s that bitter, sherbet-like sharpness that I just love so much. I also like the fact that they are small tarts, rather than one large one. They remind me a little of the classic jam tarts I used to make when I was a child and I think a little bit of nostalgia when cooking is always a good thing.

Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. Add the butter and rub until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the cream cheese, ground almonds and egg yolk. Take a knife and mix until it comes together into a dough. You may need to add a little milk here, as I did.

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Gently heat the rhubarb with the sugar and orange liquor, and a small splash of water. You want them to keep their shape and have a gentle bite to them. If this can be made in advance and stored in jars it will taste more intense, but it’s not essential.

Mix together the crumble topping ingredients into crumbs before using.

To construct the tarts:
Roll out the pastry. Use a fluted cutter for that old school look. Use one larger than the holes in the pie tray and cut out as many as you need.

Paint the inside of each tart with jam (this will seal the pastry). Fill each tart with a mixture of raspberries and rhubarb; don’t make it too neat, you want it to look like they’re pushing to get out of the tarts!

Spoon a generous portion of crumble mixture on top.

Bake at 180C for roughly 20 minutes or until the pastry and topping are golden.

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