The weather might be tricking us into thinking that it’s spring, but embrace one of late winter’s prettiest ingredients – forced rhubarb – with this elegant pudding
RECIPE, STYLING AND IMAGE: EMILY JONZEN
March can be a strange time of year. As far as I am concerned, March the 1st heralds the first day of spring and I find myself, year after year, outraged by the lightest flurry of snow or any dip in temperature below 10°C after February 28th.
Despite the incredibly warm weather lately, we are still in late winter and so should use the seasonal ingredients we have on offer to soothe us through any remnants of harsh weather and celebrate a new season on the horizon.
Beautiful forced rhubarb is one such ingredient that can add vibrancy to the dullest of days. Shockingly neon pink in colour and refreshingly tart in taste, it is the perfect ingredient for this time of year and one to make the most of before its short season comes to a close in April.
It is wonderful simply poached in a little sugar and orange juice and used as a topping for porridge or as the base of a crumble and is delicious thinly sliced and served raw as a sharp foil to an oily fish such as mackerel. In this recipe, I’m teaming candy-coloured rhubarb with sweet, jewel-green pistachios and warming, earthy cardamom to make a delicious dessert to appeal to all of the senses.
A galette is one of those dishes that looks and tastes impressive but is deceptively easy to prepare. The use of shop-bought puff pastry over home-made shortcrust not only simplifies the making of this tart but adds a crisp, buttery lightness which I love. To get ahead, the tart can be assembled and kept in the fridge raw for a day before baking.
Rhubarb, Cardamom and Pistachio Galette
- 250 g forced rhubarb
- 80 g golden caster sugar
- 100 g pistachios (I like the Fudco branded ones from Sainsbury’s for their vibrancy and taste).
- 25 g ground almonds
- 50 g softened butter
- 6 green cardamom pods split, seeds roughly ground with a pestle and mortar or with the back of a knife
- 2 eggs medium
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 375 g ready rolled all butter puff pastry
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° Fan / Gas 4
- Begin by trimming the rhubarb of their leaves and tough ends and slice into 4cm-long pieces. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle over 30g of the sugar and set aside to macerate.
- To make the frangipane, grind 70g of the pistachios with a teaspoon of the remaining sugar in a food processor until they are a similar texture to the ground almonds. Add the ground almonds to the mixer, along with the remaining sugar, butter, the ground cardamom, one of the eggs and a pinch of salt and process until creamy. Briefly pulse in the flour until just combined.
- Lightly dust a sheet of baking parchment (about 40cm square) and unroll the puff pastry onto it. Dust a rolling pin with a little flour and roll the pastry out to a 3-4mm thickness, then use a small, sharp knife to cut a 35cm circle out of the pastry. Don’t worry about perfection here, you want the finished result to be a little bit rustic.
- Spread the frangipane over the pastry, leaving a 5cm border all the way around. Arrange the rhubarb over the frangipane either roughly or in a tessellated pattern if you wish. Drizzle the juices from the rhubarb over the top.
- Beat the remaining egg with a fork and brush onto the pastry border. Fold the pastry edges up over the filling, tucking and overlapping as you go, then brush the exposed pastry with a little more egg. Carefully slide the parchment with the galette onto a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crisp and the rhubarb is tender. Roughly chop the remaining pistachios and scatter them over the top.
- Serve warm with a generous dollop of crème fraiche or clotted cream.
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