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This morning when I popped my head into the local La Fromagerie in Highbury Barn, the French lady on duty was kind enough to gift me two kilos of forced rhubarb since it was close to losing its mojo, its commercial value all but nil. Great news for me and this particular tarte: rustic in its beauty, comprising rhubarb, flaked almonds and sugar, I couldn’t think of a better way to honour the season. The pastry case is taken from an old 1980s book by the legendary Paul Bocuse, which is obscenely delicate and flaky, meaning the tart lacks any real integrity in a structural sense, but when you turn it out onto the plate it kind of crumbles to form a fantastically provincial looking thing. Finish with a generous dusting of icing sugar, and serve by the slice with a cup of tea or for dessert with some pouring cream to prolong your Easter indulgences. 

Waste not, want not, said the rhubarb.

Serves four for tea or dessert

For the pastry 

1 generous cup of 00 flour
5 tbsp or 75g of softened butter
Pinch salt
2 tbsp water 
Butter (for the pie pan)
1 egg yolk

For the filling 

500g rhubarb
150g sugar
1/2 cup of slivered almonds
2 tbsp icing sugar


Make the pasty by measuring flour, butter and salt into a mixing bowl. Coat the butter with the flour before rubbing the entire mass with your fingertips to form a fine breadcrumb consistency. 

Add enough water to bind the mixture and knead briefly until lovely and smooth. Refrigerate for one hour.

Next, slice your rhubarb into 1 cm discs and cover with the sugar until its liquid is released and the sugar is dissolved. You can stir to aid this process. 

Allow the sugar to draw the moisture from the fruit.

Then put the rhubarb and its sweetened liquid in a pan on a medium heat until it just reaches the boil, then turn down to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the mixture thickens and the pink hues deepen. 

Meanwhile, roll out the dough into a thin sheet of about 15 cm diameter onto a floured surface and after generously buttering your pie tin, drape over the pastry and use the tip of your fingers to delicately form into place. I like to let the pastry hang over the edges without trimming, which adds to the rusticity in the end result. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Press a large sheet of parchment paper against the dough and fill with rice grains, before brushing the pastry edges generously with egg yolk to ensure a beautifully golden crust. 

Blind bake the tart for 40 minutes until golden and remove from the oven. Let cool slightly before blessing it with your rhubarb and almond slivers before returning to the oven for a final 10 minute bake. 

Leave to cool in its tin before turning out carefully onto a plate. It will crumble a little but that’s ok. Finally, give it a generous dusting of icing sugar which turns the almonds a brilliant white, and gives the whole thing an extra blanket of sweetness.

I’ve had my slice.

Hannah Hammond is a London-based chef currently working at Leo’s on Chatsworth Road. Photography by Hannah Hammond.

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