We had such a glorious, hot, summer this year that most pick-your-own fruits came into season earlier than normal and I totally missed out. Yep, I missed the blackcurrants (I had great plans for these), the redcurrants, the gooseberries, the raspberries and even the fail-safe English strawberries.
Needless to say, I managed to make it to the PYO farm, in the nick of time, for some glorious rhubarb! I wanted to use it in a pie and I don’t think you will be disappointed with this Rhubarb and Coconut Tart.
Let me tell you a little more.
This tart is quite special. I have used one of Dean Brettschneider’s pastry bases – with lemon and sour cream. It is deliciously light and fragrant. Then comes the roasted rhubarb which is soft, tart and of course colourful. The piece de resistance, in my opinion is the gorgeous, light, mallow, slightly chewy, coconut meringue topping. Just dreamy. The meringue has a dash of salt in it to take away any sickly sweetness and it gives the tart a real depth of flavour.
This tart comes together pretty easily. If you are rushed, you could (dare I say) use shop bought short crust pastry. Tips for enhancing the tart while making it would be to sprinkle a little cornflour on the pastry base prior to adding the rhubarb. Then when adding the rhubarb, try to add the fruit alone and not the juice as the rhubarb will make more juice whilst the topping is baking. Both these measures will ensure a ‘soggy’ bottom of the pie is avoided.
This Rhubarb and Coconut Tart is perfect for sharing at a gathering, as a dessert or lovely with a cup of afternoon tea. So glad I made it to the PYO in the end.
- 150g unsalted butter
- 190g plain flour
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 60ml soured cream
- 400g rhubarb, chopped
- 2 tbsp. Demerara sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 5 egg whites
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla paste, or extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 150g shredded coconut
- Prepare the pastry by combining the butter, flour, lemon zest and sour cream until is comes together. Form into a flat disk and wrap in a piece of food wrap. Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
- For the filling, preheat the oven to 170 degrees C, or Gas Mark 3. Place the chopped rhubarb into a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and add the lemon juice. Mix so the rhubarb is covered then spread onto a baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the rhubarb is softer. Set aside to cool.
- Take the pastry and place onto a piece of floured baking parchment. Lay the food wrap on top of the disk of dough and gently roll the pastry. Roll until the pastry will fit into an 23cm diameter tin, allowing for the sides and a little over hang. Line the tin with the pastry, gently pushing the pastry into the edges of the tin. Line with crinkled baking parchment and baking beads. Blind bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove the beans and the paper. Make fork marks into the pastry base and return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes (at 170 degrees C or Gas Mark 3).
- For the topping, whisk the eggs whites in a freestanding mixer until firm peaks form. Add the sugar, whilst still whisking, one spoon at a time. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk further. Gently fold in the shredded coconut.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees C, or Gas Mark 2. Equally spread the rhubarb throughout the pastry tart base. Spoon the coconut meringue onto the rhubarb and spread evenly over the pie. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the topping browns very slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Serve.
Sprinkle a little cornflour to the baked pastry base prior to adding the rhubarb.
Source: Inspired and adapted from Dean Brettschneider’s ‘Pie’.