When I was little my aunt Lizzie was exactly who I wanted to be when I grew up. One of my Mums best friends, single without kids, she lived in a gloriously clean and tidy house in a small village outside York. The house was a total contrast to the ongoing building projects of my childhood homes. Lizzie drove a bright yellow MG sportscar, took holidays travellng Business Class Always , turned up with beautiful magical presents (lifelike birds made of painted bark, bathroom treats from fancy hotels) , came with us on fun trips; tea & Fat Rascals at Bettys Tea Rooms, and fish & chips at Trenchers in Whitby. Best of all Lizzie talked to you and treated you as an equal , as a grown up. I was going to be just like her when I grew up
This week my mum stopped by on the way back from a visit with Lizzie armed with presents from the two of them. I can picture now them fighting over the right to pay at checkouts across Yorkshire.
Lizzie sent me some Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb wrapped in a pink ribbon – a lovely bouquet. Last year this product obtained European Protected Designation of Origin under the EU Commissioners Protected Food Name Scheme joining Melton Mowbray Pork Pies , Stilton Cheese and as of this month Cornish Pasties.
Produced in the Rhubarb Triangle ,a 9-square-mile (23 km2) triangle ,formed by the cities of Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell in West Yorkshire. This delicate pink early rhubarb is grown in in low darkened forcing sheds and picked by candlelight to protect younger stems.
When cooked the rhubarb produces a Barbie-Fluorescent pink, brighter than any food colouring. I wanted to make the rhubarb go a long way and so made a Bakewell Tart with rhubarb replacing the traditional jam, it’s a method I have used before with Blackberries
Now pregnant , with the slow march of impending motherhood, panicking about how much my life is going to change ….. Just how much baby paraphanelia is going to clog my home….. When if ever again I might go for afternoon tea anywhere nice . Sitting here with tea and a slice of tart there is definitely a tiny part of me thinking it might all have been a bit easier if I had followed my aunt Lizzie’s glorious example.
Rhubarb Bakewell (Rhubarb and Almond Tart)
Shortcrust Pastry to fill a 30cm diameter tart tin
300g of plain flour
150g of butter
3 tbsp caster sugar
3tbsp of water
1. Sift the flour , add the butter and rub in with your fingertips
2. Add the water and mix to form a dough
3. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes
500g of forced rhubarb cut into 1cm lengths
150g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
100g self raising flour
2 medium eggs
Zest of one orange
2 tbso of flaked almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 200degC
2. Roll out the pastry and line a greased tart tin, line with baking paper and baking beads.
3. Bake blind for 25 minutes .
4. Put half rhubarb in a pan, cover and cook for 5 minutes
5. Meanwhile make the filling , if you are using a vanilla pod scrape the seeds from the pod
6. In a food processor blend together butter and sugar until creamed.
7. Add the ground almonds , flour , eggs , vanilla and orange zest
8. Turn the oven down to 175degC
9. Mix the cooked rhubarb with the raw rhubarb spread across the bottom of the pastry case, then spoon the almond mixture on top and spread out evenly.
10. Return to the oven for 40 minutes, bake until golden on top, ten minutes before the end of cooking scatter with the flaked almonds