Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for rhubarb, cardamom and pistachio tart

I don’t believe in rules when it comes to the pairing of ingredients, but I removed rhubarb from its lifelong partner in crime, custard, with caution. Rhubarb by character is bright, fierce, acerbic and usually not for the faint-hearted unless tamed by something soothing. In custard’s place, I’ve used its more sophisticated cousin, frangipane, a sweet cream made using almonds, pistachios and oat milk flavoured with zesty orange and cardamom. (Though, if this makes you feel uncomfortable, and because there are no rules, you could always serve this tart with custard instead.)

Rhubarb and pistachio tart
Arrange the rhubarb as you wish: you could tessellate it (as per Instagram 2018) or just cut it into lengths. There are now some lovely vegan custards widely available – I like the ones made by both Alpro and Oatly.

Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min
Rest 30 min
Makes 1 x 23cm tart

For the pastry
250g plain flour
7 tbsp (105ml) light olive oil
40g caster sugar
1 pinch sea salt
3 tbsp cold water

For the filling
7 tbsp (105ml) light olive oil
125g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra to finish
50g cornflour
200g ground pistachios
40g ground almonds
4 tbsp (60ml) oat milk
1½ tsp cardamom powder
Zest of 1 orange
250g forced rhubarb

To make the pastry, put the flour, oil, sugar and salt in a bowl, and mix with a clean hand. Add the water, mix again, then knead for three minutes. Return to the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. After the pastry has rested, place it between two sheets of baking paper and flatten it gently. Roll to about 3mm thick and just larger than a loose-bottomed 23cm tart tin. Peel off the top sheet of baking paper, place a hand under the bottom sheet and flip the pastry on top of the tart tin – don’t worry if it cracks or breaks. Reserve the baking paper. Press the pastry into place, cut away the overhang and use the offcuts to fill any cracks. Prick the base all over with a fork, crumple up one of the sheets of baking paper, unravel it and put it in the tart case. Fill with baking beans (or uncooked rice) and bake for about 25 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and lightly golden. Remove, and leave to cool.

To make the filling, mix everything except the rhubarb in a bowl until well combined, then set aside.

When the tart case is cool, lift out the baking paper and beans, and scrape the frangipane mix into the tart shell. Even it out and smooth it down with the back of a spoon. Now decorate as you wish: you could cut the rhubarb to size to lay stripes across the tart, or cut it into shorter lengths and tessellate. I like to do mine as in the photograph above by neatly arranging 6cm pieces of rhubarb at the centre of the tart, then filling the gaps around it with smaller pieces, cut to size.

Sprinkle the extra tablespoon of sugar all over the top of the rhubarb, then bake for 40-45 minutes, until the filling is starting to bronze slightly and the rhubarb is tender. Leave to cool a little before cutting and serving.