Sometimes the things we bake are weeks in the planning; a recipe we've had bookmarked for ages, an annual tradition or impending celebration. Other times things just fall into place; an overgrown crown of rhubarb that needs trimming at the peak of blood orange season, a half block of pâte sablée waiting patiently in the freezer...
Inspired by Emiko Davies's crostatine di ciligie as featured in her beautiful post about the breakfast traditions of Tuscany, these little rhubarb and blood orange tarts are ideal for that mid-morning snack and could easily be excused as breakfast alongside a short black, should you a bustling Italian bar to stand at.
Cute as a button they fill the void when craving a little something sweet, but don't go overboard thanks to the tartness of the rhubarb and citrus raspberry notes of the blood orange.
With their ambrosial rouge and rich, buttery crust they are a treat for all the senses, and sized just right to find balance between indulgence and manageability. Of course, any seasonal fruit will go nicely, but do try this filling if you can. A special combination to welcome the coming change of season.
CROSTATINE DI RHUBARB E ARANCIA ROSSA (Adapted from this recipe by Emiko Davies)
- 350 g pâte sablée*
- 300 g rhubarb
- 2 blood oranges
- the juice of 1 orange
- half a vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 1 star anise
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 60 g sugar
Rinse the rhubarb and cut into 1-cm pieces. Peel the blood oranges and slice into rounds. Combine all ingredients (except the pastry) in a saucepan and reduce over medium heat until the rhubarb is soft and beginning to take on a jam-like consistency (around 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2-3-mm. Cut out circles and line six well-buttered cups of a 12-cup muffin tray. Cut 1-cm-wide strips from the remaining pastry, which will be used for the lattice top. Fill the tarts with rhubarb blood orange compote and brush the edges with egg wash. Place the lattice strips over the top, trimming any overhanging edges, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw or Demerara sugar.
Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for about 30 minutes, until the filling has started to bubble and the tarts are golden brown on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tray. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 6.
** I'm currently in love with Stephane Reynaud's recipe for pâte sablée, which you can find in his latest book, Pies & Tarts. Feel free to use your own favourite recipe or give this one from Emiko's recipe a try.