Sometimes guests ask me ‘what is my favourite recipe to cook’? To be honest, it is impossible to choose one particular dish, as it varies from season to season, even week to week. The excitement of the first rhubarb stems peeping under the forcing pot or a bunched of asparagus freshly picked that morning are always a joy never to tire from.
All AGA cooks will know how wonderful it is to be able to pop a quiche or tart in the stove without the need to bake blind. This idea is basically an egg custard tart with the addition of raw rhubarb that has gently poached in the eggy mixture, whilst the pastry was cooking to a crisp underneath. The addition of sweetly scented Cardamom takes it to another level and a shaving or two of orange zest into the pastry crumb would be a great addition too.
For my garden rhubarb recipe to serve six, you will need…
1 quantity of rich butter pastry or good quality ready prepared bought pastry approximately 275 g
4 egg yolks – freeze the whites to make meringues or Italian style almond biscuits
300 ml buttermilk
25 g golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 sticks rhubarb – washed and trimmed, cut to size to fit your tin
25 g melted butter to brush the inside of your pastry tin
1 x Loose bottomed tin – we used a rectangular tin 35 cm x 11 cm as it is easier to cut into equal portions
Measure 25 g butter into a pudding basin and put this into the simmering oven so that it melts. Or melt in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Brush the quiche tin with melted butter. We like to use a loose bottomed tin measuring
Make pastry and shape into a rectangle or disc depending on the shape of your tin. Rest for twenty minutes then roll out between two sheets of cling film or baking parchment.
Line tin and leave edges untrimmed whilst pastry rests for another twenty minutes. Trim the edges with a sharp knife.
Prepare filling. Measure buttermilk and separate eggs into a jug and then whisk together with the ground cardamom. Season well.
If using a loose bottom tin, slide this on to the floor of the AGA roasting oven to preheat.
Lay even sized sticks of rhubarb into the base. If you wish add a sprinkling of caster sugar.
Remove the preheated baking tray from the AGA and place directly on the simmering plate. Put the quiche tin on top and then carefully fill the tin with the cream and egg mixture. Allow a little room for the filling to rise during cooking so that it does not leak over the sides.
Remove any grid shelves so that it is easier to lift the baking tray on to the floor of the roasting oven.
Slide the plain cold shelf over the top of the tart and cook for 20 – 30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and the savoury filling is set and golden.
Remove from oven, cool slightly and remove from tin using pastry cutters or a ramekin placed under the loose base.
Serve warm with stem ginger ice-cream or or at room temperature with blood orange compote.