The top of this pie has a chewy-biscuit texture from the brown sugar, while fennel seeds add a lovely note of spice to the pastry. Be careful not to overcook the rhubarb to begin with or it will fall apart as the pie bakes.
- 2 large bunches rhubarb, trimmed
- 120 gm raw sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tsp water
Brown sugar and fennel pastry
- 1½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- 170 gm softened butter
- 195 gm brown sugar
- 255 gm plain flour, sieved
- 1½ eggs, lightly whisked
- 1For brown sugar and fennel pastry, dry-roast fennel seeds and peppercorns in a small frying pan over low heat until fragrant (3-5 minutes). Beat butter in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until pale (4-6 minutes), mix in sugar and ¾ tsp fine sea salt, then add flour and toasted spices, and mix to combine. Add egg and mix to combine. Turn out pastry, pat into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (1 hour). Roll pastry between sheets of baking paper or Go-Between (plastic sheeting) to fit the top of a 23cm-diameter pie dish and refrigerate until required.
- 2Preheat oven to 190C. Wash rhubarb well and peel off the tough outer fibres, leaving as much colourful peel as possible (the larger the stems the more vigilant you need to be). Chop rhubarb into 5cm pieces, then transfer to a saucepan along with sugar, and orange juice and rind, and cook over medium heat until rhubarb starts to seep liquid and just softens on the outside (2-3 minutes). Transfer fruit to a 23cm-diameter pie dish with a slotted spoon, whisk cornflour slurry into liquid and bring to the boil, whisking until a syrup forms (2-4 minutes). Pour onto rhubarb and cool briefly.
- 3Place pastry on top, trim edges and bake, turning once or twice, until filling is bubbling and pastry is golden (25-35 minutes). Serve warm with ice-cream.
Drink Suggestion: Late-harvest, botrytis-affected chenin blanc. Drink suggestion by Max Allen