Rhubarb: Fruit or vegetable?
It is similar to celery, with a rich green colour with shades of red but we only use the stem, never the leaves. It is often used in the preparation of cakes, compotes and jams. It has a sour fruity taste vaguely reminiscent of apple. Maybe that's why we often think of it as fruit. But it is not, it is infact a vegetable.
Years ago it was growing wild in my garden and I never really thought of picking it up. Ever. I didn't know what I was missing.
Now I have learned to appreciate it. I made compote and jam with it several times and I absolutely love it in the morning spread on toast. Rhubarb loves orange which infact intensifies its flavour and makes it very aromatic indeed.
Then yesterday I went into rhubarb-pie-bliss... I finally baked with it too. I made a crumbly pie with rhubarb and strawberries (which by the way go very well together) topped with a soft meringue..GOOD, really good!
Here it is a good recipe for the weekend 🙂
- Prep Time : 40 minutes
- Cook Time : 60 minutes
- For the pastry:
- plain flour - 300 g - 3 cups
- eggs - 2
- sugar - 100 g - 1/2 cup
- vanilla essence - 1 tsp
- butter - 125 g - 1/2 cup
- For the filling:
- fresh rhubarb - 300 g - 3 cups
- strawberries - 200 g - 1 cup + a few extra to decorate
- sugar - 3 tbsp
- orange juice and zest - of 1
- For the meringue:
- egg whites - 3
- sugar - 6 tbsp
Put the flour, butter, vanilla essence, eggs and sugar on your work top.
Working with your hands quickly combine the ingredients and form a ball. If it feels really sticky add a little extra flour. Let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes wrapped in cling film. Grease a round baking tray (diameter about 30 cm or 12 inch).
Sprinkle your work top with flour and with a rolling pin roll out the pastry (about 4 mm - 0.16 inch thick) and place it on your baking tray. Prick the base all over with a fork. Do not discard the egg yolks of the eggs you are going to use to make the meringue. Brush the base and the sides of the pastry with some of them. This will provide a seal and prevent the tart from becoming soggy with the moisture of the rhubarb compote.
Wash, trim and cut the rhubarb and the strawberries into pieces;
Put them in a sauce pan with 3 tbsp of sugar, add the orange juice and zest and let them bubble up for 20 to 25 minutes until you reach the consistency of a compote.
Cook the the tart at 180C or 350F for 20 to 25 minutes until brown and crisp. Remove it from the oven and put the rhubarb and strawberry compote onto the pastry shell.
Make the meringue by whipping the egg whites (at room temperature) very firmly until they form soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time and continue whisking. Spoon the meringue over the tart or use a piping bag.
Put it back in the oven at 180C or 350F and bake for about 20 minutes or until the outside of the meringue looks nice and golden. Let it rest for an hour before serving.
Turn down the temperature of your oven at 150C or 300F if you see that the meringue is getting brown too quickly or too much.
Decorate with fresh strawberries.