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Campoy recipe: Grandma Jolly's Rhubarb Meringue Tarts

Grandma Jolly's Rhubarb Meringue Tarts

A family favorite from Susan Campoy's childhood, these tarts were often served at Julienne, the San Marino bistro she opened in 1985.

"Rich yet delicate crusts are filled with a rosy, sweet-tart rhubarb filling and topped with billowy meringue. They are irresistible," Campoy wrote in "Cooking with Julienne," a just-completed cookbook scheduled to be published in May.

The recipe serves eight.

Crust:

Nonstick cooking spray

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Filling:

3 cups 1/2 -inch pieces fresh rhubarb (from 3 large stalks)

1 1/2 cups sugar

5 extra-large egg yolks

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup heavy cream

Topping:

5 extra-large egg whites

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

For the crust: Spray eight 4 1/2 -inch-diameter tart pans with removable bottoms with nonstick cooking spray. Blend the flour and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and blend until a crumbly dough forms. Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Form each into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap each dough disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Roll out each dough disc on a lightly floured work surface to a 6-inch round. Transfer the dough to the prepared pans, pressing into the pan and trimming the edges.

For the filling: Divide the rhubarb among the crusts. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl to blend well. Mix in the flour and salt. Gradually mix in the cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Pour the filling over the rhubarb, dividing equally. Bake until the crusts are pale golden, the rhubarb is tender and the custard filling is golden brown on top and just set in the center when the pans are gently shaken, about 30 minutes. Transfer the tarts in the pans to a cooling rack and cool completely.

For the meringue topping: Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites in a clean large bowl until foamy. Mix in the vanilla. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Spread the meringue over the tarts. Bake until the meringue is golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Serve the tarts warm or at room temperature.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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