This sophisticated dessert is a cross between a tartlet and a millefeuille – and is beautiful in both presentation and taste.
2 large or 3 small gelatine leaves
250ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, split in half, seeds scraped out with a knife
60g caster sugar
3 medium egg yolks
300g puff pastry
250ml double cream
icing sugar, to dust
shredded mint leaves, to decorate (optional)
For the rhubarb sorbet:
500g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
1 orange, zest and juiced
2 lemons, zest and juiced
25g peeled and finely grated ginger
250g caster sugar
For the poached rhubarb:
4-5 stalks rhubarb
50g pickled ginger, sliced
75g granulated sugar
To make the rhubarb sorbet:
1 Put all the ingredients into a pan and place over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for about 10–12 minutes until the rhubarb is very soft.
2 Transfer the rhubarb and its juices to a food processor and blend to a purée. Pass the purée through a fine sieve and push down with the back of a wooden spoon or a ladle to extract as much juice as possible.
3 Leave to cool completely, then pour the purée into the bowl of an ice-cream machine and churn until almost set.
4 Transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight until the sorbet is set. (If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, freeze the sorbet in a suitable container for a couple of hours then stir the ice crystals with a fork to break them down.
5 Freeze again and repeat the process 2 or 3 more times.)
To make the mascarpone mousse:
1 soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water. Put the milk and vanilla pod and seeds into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
2 Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together, then very slowly incorporate the hot milk, whisking the whole time. Return the combined mixture to the saucepan and stir frequently over a medium–low heat until the mixture begins to thicken to a custard that lightly coats the back of a spoon.
3 Drain and squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine leaves and add these to the pan. Stir to dissolve. Pass the custard through a fine sieve into a shallow container. Fold through the mascarpone then cover with cling film and chill for a few hours.
4 Preheat the oven to 190°C. Roll out the puff pastry to 2–3mm thick on a lightly floured surface. Use an 8cm pastry cutter to cut out 12 discs of puff pastry. Put the pastry discs on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or a silicone mat. Prick each pastry disc all over with a fork.
5 Lightly grease another baking sheet and gently place this on top of the first to hold down the pastry discs (be careful though, you don’t want to weigh them down so much that the discs lose their shape). Bake for 15 minutes, then gently remove the top baking sheet and evenly dust the pastry discs with icing sugar.
6 Return to the oven and bake for another 5–10 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
To make the poached rhubarb:
1 Cut the rhubarb into 8cm lengths. If they’re very thick, halve them lengthways into batons about 5mm thick. Place in a bowl with the pickled ginger. Put the sugar and 200ml water in a small pan and dissolve over a medium heat. Add the grenadine and bring to the boil.
2 Add the rhubarb and ginger and leave to simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and let the rhubarb steep until it cools completely.
3 To assemble, place a pastry disc on each serving plate. Use the pastry cutter to stamp out neat rounds of the mousse. Place these on top of the plated pastry bases. Repeat with another layer of pastry and mousse and top with a pastry disc.
4 The tarts should have two layers of mascarpone mousse sandwiched between three pastry discs.
5 Drain and neatly pile a few rhubarb batons alongside the tart then decorate with the shredded mint leaves, if using.
6 Finally, place neat scoops of rhubarb sorbet on top of and alongside the tarts. Serve at once.
Recipe courtesy of Jason Atherton’s Social Suppers cookbook.