It is 4.40 am. I am hearing an increasingly impatient and loud moaning from the staircase which is a sign for me to get out of bed. I stumble down the stairs in the darkness and open the front door to our cat, Gata, who starts her usual morning hunting routine.
I take a deep breath of the amazingly fresh air and pull together my sweater because of its chilliness. Áron wakes up a bit later and leaves the house at 5.30 to get to work.
At that moment complete silence settles in our little house which won’t be broken except by the twittering of the birds from outside and the humming of the fridge which switches on at times.
Silence is something which we are all longing to but we do everything to avoid it. We are listening to music, chatting, making phone calls, getting notifications of messages, making noise in the kitchen, the kitchen hood is on and the oven is humming.
The lack of silence becomes a second nature and the interesting part begins at the moment when there is finally no distraction and silence settles in.
The question is what we are going to do with that silence.
I have decided to allow silence to take over the power sometimes or even more often and let my mind rest. It is my usual habit to post each recipe on the blog alongside with a story. However, this time I temporarily allow silence to sneak in and replace the story so the rhubarb tart can get full attention.
And in the meantime, silence can do his job: to make room for everything I haven’t left room for in the past weeks.
Maybe room exactly for those answers to my questions which I was looking for.
This recipe was inspired by that single rhubarb seedling that I planted 2 years ago next to our house, to the spot where we planned to set up a herb bed. At that time we had just moved into our newly renovated, almost 90 years old house, and there were still a lot of things to do both indoor and outdoor. Since I got it as a gift from my friend Mária, I desperately tried to find a place to plant it as quickly as possible to keep it alive.
The soil was still hard and full of stones but I tried to do my best to give this little plant a chance to grow by loosening and moistening soil and removing stones. I didn’t have too much hope that this rhubarb seedling – which was already a bit weak at the moment of planting- will ever grow big, but it absolutely exceeded my expectations. To my biggest surprise this spring, two years after planting it, it has produced so many leaves that it will not only serve for a rhubarb tart, but I can even think about other ideas to create new recipes. I am so grateful for this rich harvest and I imagine making a tart that highlights the rhubarb’s beautiful green colour, but in a form that is ideal for single portions that I can send to family members for tasting and testing.
As a starting point I used the recipe of an apple pie dough from my favourite old cookbook from 1941, which was fortunately exactly the amount needed to fill my seven tart moulds and even to decorate the top nicely. When working on the rhubarb filling I remembered the strawberry-rhubarb sauce that we have created together with my grandmother to spice up my usual rice soufflé. I kept the fruit-sugar ratio of that recipe because I wanted the tanginess of the rhubarb to dominate instead of sugar.
Textiles I use for photography are hand-woven and botanical dyed, made by @textil_szakacsniki
(for 7 tart moulds of 10 cm diameter)
140 g all-purpose flour
100 g butter and some for greasing the tart moulds
70 g powdered sugar
1 pinch of salt
a few drops of fresh lemon juice
grated zest of a lemon
a handful of fine breadcrumbs
1000 g rhubarb
8 tablespoons granulated sugar
- First prepare the dough. Mix flour and salt, add butter and knead until the dough resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg, sugar, lemon juice and zest and knead until a soft and flexible dough forms. Wrap the dough into a plastic foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Peel and chop rhubarb and add to a saucepan alongside with the sugar. Bring to boil and cook for a couple of minutes, until the rhubarb softens.
- Grease the tart moulds with butter. Divide the dough into 7 pieces. Roll out each to 3 mm and fill the moulds, trimming the edges. The edges will serve as decoration on the top later, so knead it together and wrap it into the plastic foil.
- Put the moulds for 15 minutes into the freezer so they will keep their shape better.
- Preheat the oven to 190 ºC.
- Sprinkle some fine breadcrumbs on the bottom of the moulds so it will absorb the moisture of the rhubarb, then fill each one with rhubarb. Roll out the rest of the dough and cut stripes of it. Decorate the top of each tart with the stripes, sprinkle with some powdered sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.