Michael Morphy, the nursery manager at Great Dixter, has a great passion for the good things in life, and food is high on his list. I love doing weekend nursery duty with Michael as it is a great opportunity to talk about what we have been cooking and eating and to exchange recipes. When I heard him talk about this tart, I knew I had to try it.


For the rhubarb jam

  • 450g Forced rhubarb cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2tbsp Caster sugar
  • 100g Stem ginger coarsely chopped

For the pastry

  • 200g Plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • 60g Ground almonds
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • 160g Butter unsalted, chilled and diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 1tbsp Beaten egg

For the almond topping and filling

  • 40g Blanched almonds
  • 180g Butter unsalted, at room temperature, diced
  • 180g Golden caster sugar
  • 140g Ground almonds
  • 40g Plain flour
  • 4 Medium eggs beaten
  • 60g Stem ginger coarsely chopped


Rhubarb jam

  • STEP 1

    Put the rhubarb into a pan with the sugar and stem ginger and cook, covered, over low heat until the juices start to run from the fruit.

  • STEP 2

    Uncover and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the excess liquid has disappeared and it has a thick, jam-like consistency. Set aside to cool completely.


  • STEP 1

    Put the flour, ground almonds, icing sugar and butter into a bowl and then, using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

  • STEP 2

    Add the beaten egg and mix very briefly until a dough has formed. Shape into a ball, cover with clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

  • STEP 3

    Grease a 27cm loose-bottom tart pan with butter. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to line the bottom and sides of the tart pan.

  • STEP 4

    Let rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Slide a baking sheet into the oven.

  • STEP 5

    Line the pastry case with a crumpled sheet of baking paper and fill it with baking beans. Place the pan on the hot baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges are a gentle gold colour.

  • STEP 6

    Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and then very carefully remove the paper and beans (take care as the pastry is very short). Protect the edges of the pastry case with narrow strips of aluminium foil and return to the oven for 5-7 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.


  • STEP 1

    While the pastry is cooling, put the blanched almonds in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain and dry well, then cut lengthways into thin slivers. Scatter over a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes until lightly golden. (You can also use the same amount of flaked almonds, toasted quickly in the oven or in a dry frying pan.)


  • STEP 1

    For the almond filling, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the ground almonds, flour and eggs, one-third at a time. Fold in the stem ginger.

  • STEP 2

    When the pastry case has cooled, spread the rhubarb jam over the bottom of the tart. Then gently spread the almond filling over the jam, sprinkle over the toasted almonds and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and a skewer pushed into the centre of the tart comes out clean. If it looks like the tart is browning too quickly, cover with a loose sheet of aluminium foil towards the end of cooking.

  • STEP 3

    Serve warm or at room temperature.

This recipe is taken from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon, 2020).


Having studied at Kew Gardens and spent two years at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel, Aaron Bertelsen is now vegetable gardener and cook at Great Dixter. His book, The Great Dixter Cookbook was published in March 2017.