Time is doing freaky things all over the place at the moment, and I don't like it. I keep intending to post a particular recipe that just-can't-wait, and then thinking, you know, 'shit, better post that asparagus tart before next year's asparagus turns up', or 'when is rhubarb season over'?
I don't know when rhubarb season is over, but I'm posting this in the hopes that the answer is Not Yet.
So that's annoying enough to keep track of, but you want to know what's really weird? My nineteenth birthday. The other day. Um, what? Nineteen is old. Nineteen is resolutely Not A Child. Nineteen sucks.
Interesting fact for you: I was sixteen when I began Happy Love Strawberry. I mean, okay, it was like the day before my seventeenth birthday. But still! I was technically sixteen! And ever since, one thing I've heard a lot is 'I can't believe you're only 17/18/so young'. No longer!
I think I can feel my cells dying.
Anyway, since summer is going by crazyfast - does time do this as you get older? Oh my god, I'm having an age crisis here - I had to rethink the post I'd initially planned for today so I could share this with you before the last of the strawberries & rhubarb is lost to us. Lost, like my youth.
So: this recipe. You know when I fell in love with the brown sugar cinnamon pastry of my apricot galette, a few weeks ago? Well, I promised you'd see it again, and here it is; but this time, with a creamy layer of baked vanilla cheesecake between pastry and fruit - because everyone knows that anything is better with cheesecake involved. And yes, it's another big hit with my mother, especially warm from the oven and finished with a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream. Oh my.
Strawberry & Rhubarb Cheesecake Tart
I had no idea if I even liked rhubarb before making this tart - but yum, apparently I do. If you're dubious over it, you can definitely use all strawberries, but you'd need to reduce the sugar a little (likewise, if you wanted to use all rhubarb (900g/2lb), I'd up the sugar back to 85g/3oz; these were the original proportions in the recipe I based this upon).
This is the perfect late-summer dessert: a little sweet, a little tart, kind of wholesome, and wrapped in brown sugar cinnamon pastry. Do you think I've said those words enough times yet?
For the pastry:
150g (5oz) plain flour
50g (2oz) wholemeal flour
2 tsp cinnamon
140g (1 stick + 2 tbsp) cold butter, cut into small chunks
85g (3oz) light muscavado sugar
1 egg, separated
1 tbsp demerara sugar
1. Put the flour & cinnamon in a food processor and add the butter, processing to make fine crumbs. Reserve 2tbsp of the muscavado sugar, then add the remainder and the lemon zest, and briefly mix. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp water, then pulse to make a firm dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and briefly knead. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
For the fruit:
juice of 1 whole lemon
450g (1lb) rhubarb
450g (1lb) strawberries, sliced
50g (2oz) caster sugar
2. Put the lemon juice in a pan with the rhubarb & caster sugar, and cook on a low heat til sugar is dissolved. Then cook for about 5 mins, tipping the strawberries in for the last minute or so (so they don't break up too much). It will be very juicy; tip it all into a sieve over a bowl and leave to cool.
Preheat oven to 200C.
For the cheesecake:
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
400g (14oz) full-fat soft cheese
50g (2oz) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3. Beat the egg in a bowl, then beat in soft cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest.
4. Roll out pastry on a sheet of baking parchment to a roughly 12"/30cm round. Slide pastry & paper onto a large baking sheet. Spread cheesecake mixture over pastry to within 2"/5cm of the edges. Spread cooled fruit over top, then fold the pastry edges over the filling, leaving the centre exposed. Brush with reserved egg white & sprinkle with 1tbsp demerara sugar. Bake at 200C for 30mins.
5. Optional: While baking, heat the reserved juices with 50g sugar and boil for a few minutes until reduced to a thickish glaze (I left mine runny, for time reasons). Drizzle a little over the fruit to when out of the oven, and serve the rest warm, separately. Eat warm or hot with ice cream.