This tart had a past life as a cherry tart. I made the cherry tart to take as a dessert to our friend’s Ben and Sarah’s place for dinner, and it was lovely but the next day I was left with extra pastry and meringue so instead of making another cherry tart I decided to do something different and give this tart a second life and turn it into individual rhubarb meringue tarts.
I am sorry to say Ben and Sarah that this tart superseded the cherry tart and was off the scale, out of control yumminess. The creamy zinginess (is that a word?) of the rhubarb curd paired with the meringue and the biscuity pastry was decadent yet tasted quite light.
I know this dessert looks like it has a lot of elements to it but they are all quite quick to make and the rhubarb curd and meringue can be made while the pastry is resting and cooking so overall it doesn’t really take that long.
If you want to make your own pastry, I really like this pastry recipe as you don’t need to rest it twice in the fridge like other pastry recipes, only once when you’ve rolled it out into the tart tin. If pastry is just not your thang then I’m happy for you to use store-bought pastry and I’ve recommended brand below. Also if you’re not into piping the meringue or don’t have the tools, that’s all cool, just spread it over with a spoon and you’re good to go.
p.s. I should mention that your meringue will look more peaked and less like blobs like mine because my meringue had been sitting in the fridge overnight so had slightly separated.
Rhubarb meringue tart
What you need:
For the pastry (or use store bought pastry, I recommend Careme brand) – makes 1 x 28cm tart or 4 x 12cm individual tart cases
- 250 g plain (all-purpose flour)
- 60 g caster sugar
- 160 g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 egg (beat and then just pour out half)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the rhubarb curd
- 6-7 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1cm chunks
- 1/4 cup caster sugar + 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp butter, cut into chunks
For the meringue
- 6 egg whites
- 300g caster sugar
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- icing sugar to dust
What to do:
Let’s start by making the pastry. In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until you get the consistency of breadcrumbs.
Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract and with your hands, knead until ingredients are mostly combined but dough is still sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface and knead gently until smooth.
Roll out the dough to about the thickness of 5mm. If using a larger tart tin, lift the dough with the rolling pin and ease it into the tart tin. Gently push it into the tin. If you are using smaller individual tins, cut the pastry to fit the tart tin and again gently push it in with your fingers. If you have any cracks or breakages, don’t fret, just patch it up with spare dough.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Chill the tart(s) in the fridge for at least 30 mins. At this point if you don’t want to use the tarts now, you can pop them into the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
After chilling the dough, you will need to blind bake them. You can use baking beads, rice, dried beans or even coins. Line the tarts with either foil or baking (parchment) paper and fill with whatever weights you’re using. Bake in the oven for 20 mins. Take the tarts out and remove the weights and foil/baking paper and pop the tarts back into the oven and bake until lightly golden. This should take another 10 – 15 mins. Let the tarts cool while we make the rhubarb curd and meringue.
To make the rhubarb curd, in a small saucepan, put the pieces of rhubarb and 1/4 sugar and cook on a medium heat until the rhubarb pieces break up and it’s almost a puree. If you feel the rhubarb is sticking to the bottom of the pan add 1 tbsp of water. Using a stick blender, blend the rhubarb puree until smooth and then push it through a fine sieve to make it extra smooth.
Make a double boiler by boiling some water in a medium saucepan and sit a bowl over the top (the water should not touch the bowl). In the bowl, put in the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/3 cup of sugar and butter and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Gradually add the pureed rhubarb a bit at a time and whisk to combine. Continue to whisk the rhubarb curd until it has thickened slightly. This should take no more than 5 mins. Again push the curd through a sieve to ensure smoothness. Cover with cling film directly sitting on the curd so it doesn’t form a skin while you are making the meringue.
Now onto the meringue. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar while continuing to whisk until stiff and the meringue looks shiny. Add the vinegar, vanilla extract and cream of tartar and briefly whisk until combined.
Finally now we can assemble the tart. Spoon the rhubarb curd into the tart shell and then either pipe the meringue on top of the rhubarb curd using a 1.5 cm piping nozzle or just spread it over with a spoon.
Bake the tart in the oven for another 10-15 mins until the meringue has turned golden. When cool, dust with icing sugar.