Rhubarb Maids of Honour Tarts

, from Issue #50. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Rhubarb Maids of Honour Tarts

One of the stories of how these tarts (originally without the rhubarb) came about tells of Henry VIII discovering the recipe in a locked chest at Hampton Court and presenting it to Anne Boleyn, who was then lady-in-waiting to Henry's wife, Catherine of Aragon. The tarts are very moreish little numbers - and presumably that's how Henry felt about the ladies-in-waiting as well!


5 slim stalks rhubarb, ends trimmed
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup wild rosehip cordial (I used Aroha)
1 tablespoon orange juice

2 or 3 sheets pre-rolled butter puff pastry*
250 grams cottage cheese
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon plain flour
finely grated zest 1 large lemon
3 egg yolks

To assemble
1/4 cup sliced almonds
icing sugar

*NB: I used 2 x 6 hole muffin tins that are 9cm wide to make 8 tarts. If you use a standard sized 12 hole muffin tin that is 7cm wide you will get 12 tarts and will need to use 3 sheets of pastry.


Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Rhubarb: Cut the rhubarb into 3cm pieces and place in a single layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle over the sugar, wild rosehip cordial and the orange juice. Bake for about 10 minutes until tender but not collapsing. Cool then carefully transfer the rhubarb to a plate and tip the syrup into a small jug.

Tarts: Cut 4 x 12 cm circles from each sheet of pastry and line the tins.

Place all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and combine.

Place 2-3 pieces of rhubarb in the base of each tart. Make sure you reserve some pieces of rhubarb for topping each tart. Top with a 1/4 cup of the filling and sprinkle with the sliced almonds.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tray for even browning, until golden and puffed and the pastry is crisp. Cool for a few minutes then remove from the tins to a cooling rack.

To serve: Just before serving top each tart with extra rhubarb and dust with icing sugar. Drizzle with a little of the reserved syrup and serve immediately. Makes 8 or 12