When Raymond Blanc isn’t running Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons (one of the best and most eyewateringly expensive restaurants in the UK) he can be found presenting “The Restaurant” a reality show in which he finds rubbish people to open a restaurant with. When Raymond Blanc isn’t opening restaurants with rubbish people he is busy with Brasserie Blanc which has just taken over Chez Gerard and will soon double its branch tally and appear everywhere. When Raymond Blanc isn’t expanding Brasserie Blanc he is busy running Maison Blanc a chain of mid range bakeries that you find in places like Chiswick. If you don’t live somewhere like Chiswick and thus can’t get to a Maison Blanc your next chance to try some of it’s wares is to live near a Waitrose where Maison Blanc sells a limited range. If you don’t live near a Waitrose you are probably too poor to afford anything Raymond is involved with so you are best just watching him on telly presenting a cooking show which is how he spends the rest of his time.
I digress – what I meant to write about was the Maison Blanc Rhubarb and Frangipane Tart. If there is one thing I adore in this world it is rhubarb, whenever I see it on a menu I have to order it, so when after gazing at chocolate cakes, brownies, pear tarts etc etc I saw a rhubarb tart my decision was made.
I got the pretty pink box home, and pulled out the tart – it looked good with a nice finish and a generous smattering of rhubarb. I took out a knife and began to slice. It slid through the frangipane before hitting the pastry and refusing to go any further – this pastry base was hard and needed some heavy duty pushing down to eke out a slice.
I shovelled up a forkful and the rock hard pastry base was delicious, really buttery and crumbly and rich, I was not expecting that! The frangipane was soft and moist but really did not taste of very much; certainly not almond, although it did have that grainy almond texture. Worst of all I could not detect any rhubarb flavour despite the nice chunks on top. This was very disappointing – a rhubarb frangipane tart that did not taste of rhubarb or frangipane. Luckily the box also billed a raspberry glaze and there was a hint of raspberry, tart and sweet coming from the sticky top.
Having said all that when I ate a mouthful of the tart it tasted really good – in a blind tasting I would not have had a clue what it was but I would have enjoyed it all the same.
Maison Blanc Rhubarb and Frangipane Tart from Waitrose – £4.49