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Article: Jane Lovett shares her Easter entertaining tips

Rhubarb & Pistachio Tarts with Stem Ginger Crème Fraîche

Jane Lovett shares her Easter entertaining tips

Jane Lovett
Fellow Northumbrian Jane is a cook, food stylist, recipe developer and author. With over 40 years of experience, Jane trained at the Cordon Bleu, before teaching at Leith’s School of Food and Wine and going on to run her own catering company in London.
Jane has written four books all with an emphasis on stress-free recipes. She shared her tips for entertaining and even a recipe to try below.




What are your favourite ingredients at this time of year?

This is an easy one as I love, and eagerly await, the new season’s ingredients – I’d move house for British asparagus and would eat it three times a day during its all too short season if I could (actually we almost do!);  Spring lamb, wild garlic that I forage for in the woods on our farm, and the pretty pink forced Champagne rhubarb grown in the so-called Yorkshire Triangle’ are other favourites.  I force my own rhubarb by covering it with cloches (or a bucket secured with a brick will do) in January, then harvesting the gorgeous tender pink stems around now.


What will you be serving on Easter Sunday?

Roast Lamb – leg or shoulder – with chopped wild garlic mixed into a mint-style sauce with capers and anchovies; Pavé Potatoes (thinly sliced, layered with butter, cooked, pressed & chilled, then cut into sort of fat chips, and roast till golden and crisp);  Rhubarb & Pistachio Tarts with lashings of Ginger Crème Fraîche.


What are your three key tips for making entertaining easier?

  1. Choose your menu carefully, considering recipes that have prepare-ahead elements as well as ones that don’t require too much last-minute attention.  Be realistic with your choices bearing in mind time available and ability, and remember it’s not MasterChef, you’re simply entertaining friends and family who have come to see you and have fun – not judge what you’ve cooked.
  2. Choose at least one course that can be made entirely in advance e.g. a pudding.  One less thing to worry about and less to wash up!
  3. Lay the table the day before if space allows. Ditto pick/buy/arrange any flowers, chill drinks, make a seating plan if relevant.


What are your top three OSSKI picks for this Spring?

  1. Striped Apple Green Tablecloth
  2. Striped Apple Green Napkins
  3. Danish Summer Easter Eggs – in all colours! 

Give Jane's recipe ago!

Rhubarb & Pistachio Tarts with Stem Ginger Crème Fraîche

These little tarts are a doddle to make and are at their prettiest when made with tender, new season forced ‘champagne’ rhubarb. If using later season (main crop) rhubarb, try to pick out the pink and thinner stems.

Serves 8

1 x 320g ready-rolled puff pastry sheet (about 35 x 23cm)

plain flour, for dusting

300g young rhubarb stems (see intro)

caster sugar, for sprinkling

clear honey, for brushing

1 piece of stem ginger in syrup, drained and finely chopped, plus a little of the syrup (to taste)

250g crème fraîche


To serve

icing sugar, for dusting

a handful of shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Rhubarb Ribbons (see Hints & Tips) (optional)


1.Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

2.Unroll the pastry and peel it from its paper. Put the paper onto a large baking sheet and lightly dust with flour. Replace the pastry on its paper and cut into eight even-sized rectangles. Re-position each one very slightly so that they’re marginally separated from their neighbours. With the point of a sharp knife, score a border about 1cm in around the edge of each tart, being careful not to cut right through the pastry. Score a criss-cross pattern within the borders, then prick the centre of the tarts with a fork.

3.Cut the rhubarb stems into even-sized pieces that fit exactly into the middle of the tarts, then arrange, side-by-side, in the middle of each tart (roughly six pieces per tart, depending on the thickness of the stems). Cut fatter stems in half and arrange them cut-side down. Scatter the tarts all over quite generously with caster sugar (about 1 teaspoon per tart).

4.Bake for 30 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately brush the tarts all over with honey. Set aside (still on the baking sheet).

5.Mix the stem ginger, plus a little of its syrup to taste, into the crème fraîche. Set aside.

6.Serve the tarts warm, dusted with icing sugar and scattered with the pistachios and the rhubarb ribbons (if using). Serve the stem ginger crème fraîche separately in a bowl or spoon a neat ‘quenelle’ shape into the middle of each tart.


Get Ahead

  • The tarts can be made fully up to 3 days in advance. Cool, cover and chill on the baking sheet. Reheat in the oven at 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 for 5–10 minutes until warmed through.
  • Make the stem ginger crème fraîche up to 3 days ahead, cover and chill.
  • The rhubarb ribbons (if using – see below) can be made several weeks ahead.


Hints & Tips

To make Rhubarb Ribbons: using a potato peeler, peel long, thin strips off the length of a young (pink) rhubarb stem(s). Put onto a baking sheet lined with silicone or baking parchment, in a single layer, then cook in a low oven (120°C/100°C fan/gas 1/2), for an hour or so until completely dried out (cooking time will depend on the thickness of the ribbons). Leave to cool, then store in an airtight container – they will keep crisp for several weeks.

For more recipes by Jane visit her website

📸 credit Tony Briscoe


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