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Rhubarb and Cheddar Tart
May 2024
Reading time 1 Minute

This travels most easily on the tray it was baked on, just covered with reusable food wrap. It keeps for up to two days in the fridge, just warm gently in the oven to serve

It's the Valentine's sugar-pink of the rhubarb, blushing under a blanket of melted Cheddar, that makes this feel like romantic food for me; though it's the flavour - rhubarb's intense earthy sourness counterbalanced by rich buttery pastry and melting cheese - that makes me long to eat it. As much as you might associate rhubarb with puddings and nursery fare, don't be fooled: this is very much a savoury business and also very much a 'grown-up' dish. I'll be honest: the portions here are more than generous for two, but to make half a tart seems mean, and this is one of those dishes that everyone always eats more of than seems sensible, so I prefer to err on the side of plenty. And while it really does taste its very best warm straight from the oven, the cheese melting in your mouth, I nonetheless always look forward to leftovers.

To go with it, you only need a salad: I can't resist pairing this with a similarly pastel- hued salad of blush-pink radicchio rosa or dark red bitter chicory. Too much? Or just enough? One warning: this works best with long, thin, furiously pink rhubarb stems rather than the fatter ones, which take longer to cook and can taste a little too sharp.
Hands-on time
10 minutes
Hands-off time
25–30 minutes in the oven; 10 minutes cooling
  • 325g sheet of ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 400g thin stems of bright pink rhubarb
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 130g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • small bunch of thyme
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and unroll the sheet of pastry on to the tray. Use a sharp knife to score a two to three centimetre border around the edge, then prick all over the centre part with a fork.

Brush the pastry edge with the egg, then line with baking parchment and baking beans. Blind-bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until dry to the touch and lightly golden at the edges. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes or so. 

In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the Parmesan and season generously with salt and pepper. Spoon the mascarpone over the middle of the tart and spread it out as evenly as you can. If the pastry is puffed up in the middle, don’t worry, just press it down gently with your hands and spoon the mascarpone on top. Cut the rhubarb into long-ish pieces, roughly 16cm long, and arrange them snugly, side by side like soldiers, over the mascarpone. Sprinkle the sugar over the rhubarb, then top with the grated Cheddar. Lastly scatter over a few thyme leaves. 

Set in the oven to bake for 15–20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the rhubarb is tender. Serve warm. 

A Table Full of Love by Skye McAlpine. Published by Bloomsbury (£26) Photography © Skye McAlpine A Table Full of Love by Skye McAlpine. Published by Bloomsbury (£26) Photography © Skye McAlpine

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