- 1.5kg rhubarb, cut into 3cm lengths
- 200g golden caster sugar, plus extra
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Finely grated zest ½ lemon, plus ½ tbsp juice
- 2 tbsp cornflour
For the pastry
- 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 5g salt
- 25g golden caster sugar
- 200g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 medium free-range eggs, beaten, plus
- 1 egg, beaten, for brushing
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tbsp cold water
You’ll also need…
- 20cm non-stick pie dish, different-size leaf and flower pastry cutters
- For the pastry, sift the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub in the butter until it starts to look like large breadcrumbs, then add the 2 eggs, vanilla and water. Use a dough scraper to cut in the ingredients and bring it all together. Try not to overwork the pastry and make it tough. Divide the pastry in half and flatten into discs. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Put the rhubarb in a large oven tray, sprinkle over the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, then mix to coat. Cover the tray with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 5-7 minutes more until the rhubarb is soft but still holding its shape. Put a sieve over a mixing bowl and tip in the rhubarb, straining off the juices. Put the juices in a small pan over a medium heat. Mix the cornflour with a splash of water in a cup. When the juices are steaming, whisk in the cornflour mixture until thickened. Set aside.
- On a well floured surface, roll out one disc of pastry to a thickness of about 5mm (in a rough 26cm circle). Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour, then roll the pastry onto the rolling pin. Unroll it onto the dish to line it, gently easing the pastry into the corners. Put the lined tin in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5. Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 5mm thick and at least 24cm in length. Cut out 6 x 24cm strips of pastry of different widths and put them on a tray lined with baking paper. Using your cutters, cut out enough leaves to go all the way round the edge of the tart. Put them onto the tray. Cut out more shapes to decorate, then put on the tray and chill.
- Prick the base of the tart case several times with a fork, line it with foil and fill with baking beans or raw rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the beans/rice and foil. Brush the base all over with beaten egg and bake for 7-10 minutes more (to seal the pastry and stop it going soggy). The base should be golden with no grey patches. Leave the case in its dish to cool for 10 minutes, then trim off any pastry overhang with a serrated knife.
- Add the rhubarb back into the juices, then spoon into the tart case. Brush the edges of the tart with beaten egg and weave the pastry strips over the top in a lattice, pressing the ends onto the edges of the tart case to seal.
- Brush the strips and edges with beaten egg, then overlap the pastry shapes around the edge of the tart, pressing them on gently. Add any other decorations, brush with more beaten egg, then sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is hot and the pastry is crisp and golden. Allow to cool completely (for at least 2 hours), then serve at room temperature with custard, cream or ice cream.
- Make the pie a day ahead and store in the fridge. Bring back to room temperature before serving.