In Kusmark, the apple trees, now heavy with blossoms are buzzing with bumblebees. The rhubarb has grown taller than me. Strawberry and raspberry bushes are just starting to bloom.
Yes, every time we go there – more often than not on the weekend – I can’t stay away from the garden, mesmerised by how fast everything seems to grown around us.
Soon, potato flowers will come. And garlic and onions too.
And by the end of the summer, there will be enough apples in the tree for Svante to make forty litres of cider and a few apple cakes.
But for now, it’s all about the rhubarb we take back with us to Skellefteå in paper bags.
And these little rhubarb custard squares which disappeared faster than we’d like to admit.
- The shortbread dough will be slightly more than you need but you can cut out small disks (or other shapes) in the trimmings for almost-instant biscuits to have with your cup of coffee.
- When it comes to making rhubarb purée, I love to roast it until just soft. I've found that this brings out the rhubarb flavour, and also makes it so much easier to blend it to a smooth consistency.
- This is the kind of tarts you don't want to overbake, so keep a close eye on it after 25 minutes of baking, and as soon as the centre no longer jiggles, it's ready.
- It's fundamental to leave the tart to cool down completely - and even better to chill it for a couple of hours in the fridge - before slicing it.
- 375 g plain flour
- 100 g light soft brown sugar
- 25 g demerara sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 250 g cold butter, cubed
- one egg
- 600 g rhubarb, trimmed and washed
- 2 eggs
- 125 g caster sugar
- 50 g cornflour
- icing sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a 20x20cm tin with baking paper, making it go all the way to the top (so that you can use it as handles to take out the tart from its tin later on).
- Place the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, and mix to combine. Add the butter, and rub it in the flour mix until it resembles coarse oats. Add the egg and work the dough until just smooth.
- Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper until it’s around 8mm thick. Cut into a 20x20cm rectangle and place at the bottom of your prepared pan.
- Bake the shortbread in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Set aside, while you get on with the custard.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Chop the rhubarb into 4cm chunks and roast in the prepared baking tray for 10 minutes, or until just soft.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C.
- Blitz the roasted rhubarb, together with the eggs, caster sugar and cornflour until smooth, and pass through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Pour the custard over the baked shortbread base.
- And bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling has set.
- Allow to cool down at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Gently lift the tart - using the excess baking paper - from its tin; and place it onto a large chopping board.
- Dust with icing sugar and cut into squares, using a sharp hot knife, and cleaning the blade in between every slice using a wet cloth.