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Buttery Biscuit Base

Sorry for the blog silence! I know I've mentioned the wedding in my last two posts but it really is taking over pretty much every spare minute we have. And do you know what? I'm enjoying every second of it. I've heard stories from my married friends of how stressful organising their weddings was and I have to say, I'm not stressed at all. I may well be the day before, but right now, cool as a cucumber.

I think it helps that we had a week in September to sort out all the big stuff while we were in Italy. Finding a caterer when you're not in the same country is, I can imagine, stressful. But what I get to do now is the logistical fun stuff. I weirdly like the table planning and compiling the order of service. It reminds me of my events planning days - the good times, not the dealing with nincompoops times.

Anyway, I really started to miss baking. I've been baking at work, obviously, but it's been a good few weeks since I pottered around the kitchen, taking my time, seeing what's in the cupboard, using up any fruit thats on the turn. So the other day, I just decided, I'm going to make a frangipane. And I did. And I tested it on a friend who came round for dinner. This friend is very honest and would tell me if she didn't like my baking - but she loved it.

I bought some rhubarb at the weekend from our fruit and veg shop and I wanted to do something other than cake or compote. Don't get me wrong, I love both of those things but I just fancied a change. I follow a Kiwi blogger based in New York on instagram and she makes absolutely gorgeous looking pies. Hers are generally filled pies with delicately woven lattices on top so this is a bit different by being open, but I used her as my pie-spiration.

Rhubarb and Orange Blossom Frangipane Tart

For the pastry:

  • 250g plain flour

  • 50g caster sugar

  • 125g cold butter

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tbsp cold water

For the frangipane

  • 150g softened butter

  • 150g caster sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom extract

  • 150g ground almonds

Rhubarb bit:

  • 2 x 40cm sticks of rhubarb

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

  • 1 tbsp marmalade

  • 1 tbsp water

  • 1-2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds

This is quite a lengthy process but you can make the bits and then compile it later or you can spend a whole afternoon just taking your time with it. Make the pastry first. In a bowl, rub the butter and flour together until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar. Add the egg and bring everything together. You will need to add some of the water. Add it a little at a time until the pastry completely comes together.

Turn the pastry out onto the surface, form it into a disc, wrap it in cling film and chill it for 15 minutes. In this time, make a cuppa or some fancy coffee - you have the time. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface so that it is big enough to line a 9" pie tin. I use a fluted one because I think it looks pretty. Grease the tin and use your rolling pin to carry the pastry into the tin. Use some of the excess pastry to push the shell into the grooves of the tin. That way you don't end up with fingernail marks on your pastry shell. Chill for another 15 minutes.

Scrunch up a piece of baking paper big enough to cover the diameter of the tart. Lay it (unscrunched again) on top of the pastry and pour in baking beans - raw rice also works. Bake like this for 10 minutes. Take the tart case out and remove the beans. Put the pastry back in the oven for 8 minutes or so until the base is slightly golden.

When you take the pastry out, let it cool for about 20 minutes and make the frangipane. Oh, but also, put an oven tray in the oven to heat up - pastry hack. Anyway, in a mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream together the butter and sugar until its smooth. Beat the eggs and orange blossom water together and slowly add it to the butter and sugar until it's all combined. Fold in the ground almonds and chill the mix until the aforementioned 20 minutes is up.

Cut the rhubarb into manageable pieces any shape you like. I sliced mine into 1cm pieces. In a bowl, mix the rhubarb and sugar. In a small saucepan, heat the water and marmalade until it's runny and sticky. It shouldn't take too long. Brush half of the marmalade mix onto the base of the tart and spread it so that it covers the whole base of the tart. Arrange the rhubarb however you like but I like the look of the all lined up nicely in a row.

Place the tart tin on the hot tray in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. It won't be done but check the rim of the pastry, if it's getting too dark, cover the rim with foil while leaving the frangipane exposed. Bake for another 20 minutes or until the frangipane is nice and golden on top.

Let the tart cool in the tin for about 30 minutes and then trim the overhangs. Serve on your prettiest platter. Use the rest of the marmalade mix to brush the top of the tart and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.


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