Rhubarb Tart with Star Anise and Orange
The highly perfumed seeds from the Chinese star anise pods go curiously well
with rhubarb. For a beautiful colour, use young rhubarb with slender shocking
pink stems rather than the thick reddish-green stems of mature plants.
shortcrust pastry 350g
young pink rhubarb trimmed, 350g
star anise pods seeds from 4–5
cornflour 2 tsp
caster sugar 75g, plus extra for sprinkling
orange finely grated zest of 1
1) Lightly grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Form the pastry into a thick disk, roll out thinly and use to line the tin. Pass a rolling pin over the top to trim excess dough. Using the side of your forefinger, press the dough into the corner of the tin to raise it slightly above the rim. Chill for 30 minutes.
2) Cut the rhubarb into 2.5cm diagonal slices and put in china or glass dish, large enough to take the slices in a single layer.
3) Crush the star anise seeds, tip into a small bowl and mix with the cornflour, caster sugar and orange zest. Mix with the rhubarb, tossing until well coated. Leave to stand for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juices are flowing from the rhubarb.
4) Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3. Line the pastry case with a large piece of kitchen foil. Weigh down with plenty of dried baking beans, making sure they go all the way to the edge.
5) Bake blind for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and baking beans, and bake for 5 minutes more. Remove the pastry case from the oven and raise the heat to 190°C/gas 5.
6) Spoon the rhubarb mixture into the pastry case, spreading it out evenly. Pour over any syrup remaining in the dish. Bake for 35–45 minutes, rotating the tin halfway through, or until the edges of the rhubarb are slightly blackened.
7) Remove from the oven, place on a metal rack and leave to settle in the tin for 10 minutes. Carefully slide the tart onto a serving plate, then sprinkle with extra caster sugar to taste.
• The unripe green seeds and feathery leaves from the herb sweet cicely have
a similar flavour to star anise. They look beautiful scattered over the vibrant
pink rhubarb. You won't find sweet cicely in the shops but it's easy to grow.
• Instead of star anise, add 2 tablespoons of pernod to the cornflour mixture.
Recipe © Christine McFadden February 2021