The rich redness of the rhubarb manages to make this dish look both striking and sophisticated. Few will be able to resist the charms of the deliciously tart topping hiding a rich creamy custard filling.
2.Chop cold butter. Sift flour into large bowl; rub in butter until crumbly. Mix in enough of the water to make ingredients just come together. Knead dough lightly on floured surface until smooth. Flatten pastry slightly, wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.
3.Grease 11cm x 34cm (4½-inch x 13½-inch) loose-based fluted flan pan. Roll out pastry on floured surface or between sheets of baking paper until large enough to line pan.
4.Lift pastry into pan; press over base and sides, trim excess pastry. Prick base all over with fork; refrigerate 30 minutes.
5.Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
6.Place flan pan on oven tray, line pastry with baking paper; fill with dried beans or rice. Bake 15 minutes; remove paper and beans. Bake a further 10 minutes or until pastry is browned lightly and crisp; cool.
7.Trim rhubarb; cut stems into 11cm sticks. Toss rhubarb with icing sugar in shallow baking dish. Roast, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape; cool. Drain rhubarb; reserve syrup in dish.
8.Spread pastry cream into tart shell; top with rhubarb, drizzle with syrup. Serve immediately.
Vanilla pastry cream
9.Split vanilla bean lengthways, scrape seeds into small saucepan, add bean and milk. Bring to the boil; remove from heat.
10.Whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in medium heatproof bowl until combined; gradually whisk in hot milk mixture.
11.Strain into same saucepan; discard vanilla bean.
12.Whisk over high heat until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat; whisk in butter.
13.Transfer to medium bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap; refrigerate about 1 hour or until cool.
You can also make the pastry using a food processor. Process flour and butter until crumbly; with motor operating, add the water and process until ingredients just come together. Or you can use ready-made shortcrust pastry. If you don’t have a rectangular flan pan, use a 22cm (9-inch) round flan pan. If the pastry cream is difficult to spread, beat it with an electric mixer until smooth before filling the tart shell.