Rhubarb and smoked vanilla tart

Joshua Niland (Head Chef of Fishface Sydney) received a highly commended in the 2013 Electrolux Appetite for Excellence, Australian Young Chef of the Year this week. On the evening prior to the announcement, here’s the dessert he cooked for the finalists Whet Your Appetite dinner in Melbourne. Thanks for the recipe Chef.

Rhubarb and Smoked Vanilla Tart

Serves 4

Vanilla Ash:

3 vanilla beans, scraped (save the vanilla seeds for use in the puff pastry and custard)

1. Preheat oven to 200degC
2. Place vanilla in oven on a tray lined with baking paper for 5 – 10 minutes until they are crisp.
3. Allow to cool, then blend to a fine powder in a spice grinder or blender.

Smoked Vanilla Puff Pastry:

120g unsalted butter, diced at room temperature
7g vanilla ash
150g bakers flour
Seeds of 2 vanilla beans
60g unsalted butter, diced, cold
3g salt
40ml cream
40ml milk

1. First make your butter block for the pastry: Mix the 120g of butter with the vanilla ash until combined.
2. Line a small rectangular container with baking paper (approx. 10cm x 5cm) and fill with the vanilla butter in one flat layer. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until set firm.
3. To make the dough: Place flour, vanilla seeds from scraped bean, 60g cold butter, and salt in a mixer with a dough hook attachment. Mix until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
4. Add the cream and milk while mixing. Continue mixing on low speed until a smooth dough is formed, this will take about 5 minutes.
5. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours or until cold but not set hard.
6. To make the puff pastry the dough and butter block must be combined through a process called ‘lamination’.
7. Roll the dough on a floured bench into a rectangle 15cm x 10 cm. Place the butter block in the middle of the rectangle, it should be the same width as the dough.
8. Fold the top piece of dough over the butter, then the bottom piece over the top of that. This will form a small rectangle with 3 layers of dough and the butter inside.
9. Turn the dough and roll it out again to the same size rectangle, 15cm x 10cm. Fold rectangle into thirds again, as if folding a piece of paper to fit in an envelope. Now wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour. This process is called ‘a turn’.
10. Repeat this 5 more times, folding and refrigerating the dough each time. In total the puff pastry requires 6 turns.
11. Once all the turns are finished the puff pastry is complete and can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Rose geranium custard:

20g sugar
10g corn flour
2 egg yolks
100ml milk
3 rose geranium leaves, washed
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
10g butter

1. Whisk the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks together to form a smooth paste.
2. Bring the milk, rose geranium and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan.
3. Pour the boiling milk over the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
4. Return mix to the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the custard begins to boil, (this is necessary to activate the cornflour).
5. Strain the custard into a clean bowl to remove rose geranium leaves and whisk in the butter.
6. Place a piece of clingwrap on the surface of the custard so it doesn’t form a skin then refrigerate until cold.

Rhubarb and smoked vanilla tart:

1 recipe of puff pastry
1 recipe of rose geranium custard
1 bunch of rhubarb
2 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry jam

1. Wash the rhubarb and cut into 10cm pieces.
2. Preheat oven to 220degC.
3. Roll the pastry out on a floured bench to a large rectangle 30cm x 15cm.
4. Carefully lift the pastry onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
5. Use a large knife to score sides in the pastry: On each of the tart’s long sides score a line 2cm in from the edge running the whole length of the tart. Make sure you don’t cut all the way through the pastry. When the tart bakes these sides will rise up around the rhubarb, displaying your puff pastry layers.
6. Spread the tart with custard thinly, taking care not to put any custard past the lines you have scored.
7. Top the custard with rhubarb batons in one flat layer.
8. Bake the tart for 10-15 minutes until the pastry has puffed nicely. Reduce the heat to 180degC for another 15 minutes to ensure the pastry and rhubarb are cooked through.
9. While the tart is baking warm the jam up in the microwave or stove until hot and liquid.
10. When the tart is out of the oven glaze the whole tart with the hot jam glaze to give it shine.
11. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

In a restaurant setting the rhubarb is peeled and cooked sous vide at 60degC for 20 minutes in a stock make from sugar syrup and the rhubarb peel. The slightly cooked rhubarb is then drained and dehydrated slightly in a warm oven for 2 hours to intensify the flavours. The rhubarb is then placed on the tart and cooked as per recipe. The tart could be served with whipped cream and a verjus jelly if desired.

Josh Niland rhubarb tart recipe

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