Vegan Rhubarb and Custard Tart
It’s rhubarb season! I’ve been seeing rhubarb appear in the shops and decided to celebrate this peculiar veggie with a pretty tart. Now that I mention it, rhubarb is pretty tart… 🙂
After looking at several recipes for rhubarb pies and tarts, I realised there were a few different ways to go about this. There’s rhubarb pies with lattice topping, crumb topping, full pie crust topping, and the one that immediately caught my eye: rhubarb topping, with rhubarb arranged carefully to create a beautiful pattern on top of a tart.
As no vegan recipes for existed for what I had in mind, I decided to create my own, using a custard filling as the middle layer. I often make custard sauces and puddings, but I’ve never baked a custard after boiling it, so this tart was a bit of an experiment. Fortunately it worked out well! I used a mix of corn starch and custard powder, as I didn’t want my custard to be overpoweringly yellow and vanilla-flavored, but a bit more of a neutral base for the rhubarb to shine. All custard or all corn starch will work too, but if you use corn starch only, add some vanilla to the recipe.
For the crust of this pie, I used my favorite flaky pie crust recipe. The filling will fill an 18 cm (8 inch) pie tin as made in that recipe. Blind bake it for the time specified in the recipe (15 + 10 minutes) then fill it with the custard and rhubarb before baking again. You can also use a different crust recipe, or a premade crust – just make sure to prebake it before filling with custard to prevent sogginess.
For the rhubarb topping, I decided to go with a simple geometric pattern, because I wanted to keep a lot of the rhubarb shape intact. I coated them in flour to prevent rhubarb liquids from settling on top of the custard, and some sugar to make the rhubarb a bit sweeter. To make the pattern I made, simply cut the rhubarb in pieces that are twice as long as they are wide – this way, two pieces lined up will form a square. Start with the four squares in the middle and then use the rhubarb that’s left to fill the spaces around it. Use the largest pieces first and trim them as necessary, so that you can fill the small spaces at the end with your rhubarb trimmings.
Brushing the rhubarb with jam after baking is optional, but it makes the rhubarb nice and shiny. Fruit on top of pie can sometimes get that ‘dry’ look, and brushing with jam prevents this. Use any red jam or jelly, such as strawberry, raspberry or forest fruit.
To make an even more Spring-like variation, you could also add strawberries to the custard. Rhubarb and strawberry go so well together! To do this, heat some strawberries in a saucepan and mash them to create a somewhat chunky strawberry puree. Measure this mixture, and replace some of the 500 mls of soy milk with the strawberry so that the total volume is 500ml. Make the custard according to the recipe, but with the milk and strawberry puree mixed together.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe, and if you make this vegan rhubarb custard tart, do share your results on Instagram or in the comments!
Rhubarb Custard Tart
- 20 cm (8 inch) tart form
- 1 recipe flaky pie crust (blind baked) Use my recipe, your favorite recipe for a 20cm pie crust, or a premade 20cm pie crust. Make sure it has been blind baked first.
- 500 ml unsweetened soy milk other plantbased miks will work too
- 20 g custard powder Instead of custard powder, you could add 20g extra corn starch and some vanilla.
- 20 g corn starch
- 40 g sugar
- 3 large stalks rhubarb
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp red fruit jam
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
- Rinse the rhubarb and cut off the ends on both sides. Cut the rhubarb in even pieces twice as long as they are wide.
- Place rhubarb in a bowl, add the tbsp of flour and sugar and stir, so that all pieces are covered.
- Heat up the milk in a small saucepan.
- In a small bowl, mix the custard, corn starch, sugar with a few tablespoons of water. Stir well so that there are no lumps left.
- When the milk gets close to boiling, add the custard mixture and keep stirring well to prevent lumps. Stir and heat the mixture for a few minutes until it thickens.
- Fill the prebaked pie crust with the custard.
- Arrange the rhubarb on top. To create the pattern shown, start by making a square out of 8 pieces of rhubarb in the middle of the pie. Fill in the edges around the square by trimming the pieces so that they fit perfectly.
- Bake the pie for 40-45 minutes, until the rhubarb softens.
- In a small bowl, mix the red fruit jam with a tablespoon of water, and heat in the microwave for a few seconds. With a pastry brush, brush the jam onto the rhubarb pieces to give them a shiny glaze.
- Let the pie cool completely, then refrigerate before eating.