Rhubarb Tart 0

Hot Rhubarb Polenta Tart 06/02/11

My sister was recently given the chore of 'making dinner', and gee-willikers I am happy she was charged with that task.


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My sister was recently given the chore of ‘making dinner’ the other day, and gee-willikers I am happy she was charged with that task.

When we’d all finished eating the main meal she said “Stay sitting!” and whisked our plates away only to bring a slab of hot rhubarb tart to the table that would have made even a hardened rhubarb hater go ‘Mmm okay just a wee bit!’. I know this because my Dad is a hardened rhubarb hater and even he ate and approved! Our family is hugely inspired by the lovely Nigel Slater and this recipe is kind of an Africanised version of his rhubarb cinnamon Polenta cake.

Ingredients:

500g rhubarb (give or take a stalk, we grow it in the garden and just cooked as much as we could wrap our hands around.
50g – 80g castor sugar (our rhubarb is more tart than the English version, so use more sugar if you like, depends on your taste).
4 tbs water

Crust:
125g coarse Polenta
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of cinnamon
150g castor sugar
grated zest of an orange
150g butter
1 large egg
2-4 tbsp milk
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Method:

Chop off any dodgy bits of rhubarb, wash and cut into small fingers. Lay in a baking dish and sprinkle with the water and castor sugar. Bake at 180 C for about 40 minutes but basically until it’s nice and soft but not mushy. When it’s done drain the juice off and set aside for later use.

Now take all the dry ingredients (except the demerara sugar) and throw them in the food processor. Chop up the butter into little bits and add it to the dry ingredients, and also toss in the grated orange zest. Give it all a good whizz in the food processor until it resembles crumbles, or if you’re sans food processor get down and dirty with your hands to achieve the same end.

Mix the egg and milk together separately and then add it to the Polenta mixture, whizz in the food processor once more or further mix with your hands. It should be a sticky mixture, not like a typical crumble mixture. You can add water if it’s not wet enough.

Next, grab a cake tin (my sister just used a plain old square shallow baking dish actually) and line it with baking paper. Squish about two thirds of the polenta mixture well into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Lay your rhubarb in the base and then crumble the rest of the mix over the top. It’s supposed to be gappy so you can see bright sparkles of rhubarb through the pastry bits so don’t panic! Now sprinkle the demerara sugar all over and pop it back in the oven for 45 minutes (but leave it in ’til it’s done – nicely browned and pink juicy bubbles!

Let it cool before serving, or eat it nice and hot if you’re not worried about presentation. Pour the left over rhubarb syrup from earlier over it for good measure. Plain yoghurt is delicious on top, and I can confirm that a finger of rhubarb tart served cold with a hot cup of tea the day after is a complete winner. And with coffee. And also sherry. Yes, I ate 99% of the entire thing.

Text and Images Kath Fourie

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