Yorkshire Rhubarb Crème Brûlée Tartlets
For the sweet pastry:
300g (2 ¼ cups) plain flour
90g (⅔ cups) icing sugar
210g (⅞ cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
30ml (⅛ cup) chilled water
1 free-range medium egg yolk
For the crème brûlée:
4 free-range egg yolks
1 free-range egg
110g (½ cup) unrefined caster sugar
500ml (2 cups) double cream
½ vanilla pod, split
For the rhubarb:
3 sticks Yorkshire forced pink rhubarb (available from January-March)
100g (½ cup) unrefined caster sugar
200g (1 cup) demerara sugar
150g (5oz) white chocolate)
8 cm/3" individual shallow tartlet moulds, blow torch
To make the sweet pastry:
- Place the flour, icing sugar and butter into a mixing bowl and begin to gently rub the butter into the other dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolk and chilled water together. Once the butter has all been incorporated this liquid can be carefully added and mixed in, until the ingredients come together in a neat ball. Wrap the pastry in cling film and allow to relax in the fridge for at least an hour.
To make the crème brûlée:
- Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F, gas mark 1/2).
- Boil the cream with the split vanilla pod in a saucepan. Whisk the whole egg, egg yolks and sugar in a separate mixing bowl, and whilst whisking pour the boiled cream on to the eggs and sugar. Pass through a sieve into a measuring jug and then pour into a shallow dish sat in bain marie.
- Place the bain marie in the preheated oven and cook slowly until the brûlée appears firm when gently shaken in the dish (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool before storing in the fridge until required.
For the pastry tartlets:
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F, gas mark 3).
- Once it has been rested, roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work service to a thickness of 2 mm. Place on a tray and return to the fridge to rest again. (Resting the pastry after each step will ensure that the pastry doesn't shrink during baking, producing neat and even tartlet shells.)
- Cut out discs of the pastry and carefully line the metal tartlet shells as evenly as possible, and allow to rest once more in the fridge before trimming the edges to neaten them. Place on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and blind bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Once baked remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
For the poached Yorkshire rhubarb:
- Gently wash the rhubarb in chilled water to remove any soil. Top and tail before cutting into 4 cm batons. Place these in a shallow saucepan and lightly poach with a splash of water and some sugar. Remove from the heat when tender and completely cover with cling film - the residual heat will ensure the rhubarb is cooked through yet not overcooked. Maintaining the pink colour when breaking into the finished tartlet is extremely important - as the photo shows!
- Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Then carefully taking a tartlet shell, brush the inside with the melted chocolate and allow to set.
- Once the chocolate has firmed, spoon a few of the rhubarb batons onto the bottom of the tartlet shell. Remove the cooked crème brûlée from the fridge and carefully spoon the mix on top of the rhubarb, filling the tartlet all the way to the top. Take the edge of your palette knife and level the brûlée off flush with the top of the tartlet. Completely cover with an even layer of demerara sugar and caramelise with the blow torch (even sugar distribution and even blow torch movement will ensure that the top caramelises perfectly). Serve immediately.