Rhubarb and custard tart recipe

Get the pinkest stalks you can – one of the glories of forced rhubarb is its colour - Haarala Hamilton
Get the pinkest stalks you can – one of the glories of forced rhubarb is its colour - Haarala Hamilton

The custard here is sweet, and the rhubarb really tart, despite the added sugar. Get the pinkest stalks you can – one of the glories of forced rhubarb is its colour – all the same thickness if possible. The pastry recipe gives you more than you need but there’s nothing worse than rolling out pastry thinking you don’t have enough. Too stressful! That’s why I’m giving you a bit extra here.


Prep time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time

Cook time: 55 minutes




For the pastry

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 150g unsalted butter

  • 70g icing sugar

  • 2 egg yolks

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 400g rhubarb, cut into 3-4cm lengths

  • 100g caster sugar

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1 tbsp plain flour

  • 90ml double cream

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


1. To make the pastry, put the flour, butter and a good pinch of salt in a food processor. Mix using the pulse button – if you’re too harsh, your pastry will be tough. Pulse in short bursts until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.


2. Add the icing sugar and pulse again, then add the egg yolks and vanilla, and pulse again. The mixture should start to look like pastry dough. Add a little cold water if it hasn’t come together – no more than a tablespoon – and have a final mix, then take the dough out of the machine and place on to a lightly floured surface. Working gently, gather the dough and shape it into a disc. Wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for an hour.

3. Roll out the chilled pastry disc between two sheets of lightly floured baking parchment. It should be large enough to fit a 27cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Line the tin, gently pressing the pastry into the base and sides. Trim off any excess and put the tart case in the freezer for 20 minutes (or the coldest part of your fridge for 40 minutes). It must be cold before baking.

4. Heat the oven to 190C/180C fan/gas mark 5 and put a baking sheet into it.

5. Line the pastry case with crumpled greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (or dried beans). Slide on to the hot baking sheet in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and put the tart case back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. If there are any cracks, carefully put little chunks of leftover pastry in them. Leave the tart case to cool.

6. Put the rhubarb in a large ovenproof dish where it can lie in a single layer. Add half the sugar and toss the rhubarb in it. Add a tablespoon and a half of water. Cover tightly with foil then bake for about 10 minutes (the cooking time depends on the thickness of the stalks, so keep an eye on it). The rhubarb should be only just tender and have held its shape.

7. Carefully lift out the rhubarb with a slotted spoon into a broad dish, otherwise it will keep cooking in the residual heat and become too soft. Leave to cool.

8. Beat the egg yolks together with a fork, adding the flour and the rest of the sugar, then mix in the cream and vanilla. Spoon the rhubarb pieces into the tart case. Slowly pour the custard around the rhubarb. Bake for 25 minutes, or until only just set. The tart will continue to cook out of the oven and the custard will set more.

9. This is best eaten at room temperature on the day it’s been made.