Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until thick and creamy. Add the vanilla pod and seeds to the milk and heat to boiling point. Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla pod. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture gradually, whisking continuously.
3 egg yolks, 50 g caster sugar, 20 g cornflour, ½ vanilla pod, 250 ml whole milk
Return to the stove in a clean pan and heat gently until thickened, still whisking all the time. Once it has thickened, remove to a bowl and chill in the fridge until needed.
For the rhubarb
Preheat oven to 180°C. Wash and trim the rhubarb. Cut into 4cm pieces and place in a roasting tin. Sprinkle with the vanilla seeds and add the pod too. Sprinkle over the dark brown soft sugar, 1 teaspoon Amaretto and 2 teaspoon water. Roast for approximately 10 minutes or until tender but still holding their shape. Remove from the roasting tin and leave to cool.
200 g forced Yorkshire rhubarb, ½ vanilla pod, 1 teaspoon dark brown soft sugar, 2 teaspoons Amaretto liqueur, 2 teaspoons water
Pour the roasting juices into a small saucepan and add the remaining 1 teaspoon Amaretto and 1 teaspoon caster sugar. Heat briefly over a high heat so that the mixture reduces to form a glaze - scarcely a minute.
Rub the flour, almonds and butter together until they resemble breadcrumbs.
150 g plain flour, 50 g ground almonds, 100 g cold unsalted butter, pinch of salt
Add the almond extract, if using, along with the milk. Stir briefly and then turn the mixture out onto your work surface. Literally push it together with your hands - do not work this mixture at all. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 mins.
few drops almond extract, milk to bind
Roll out the pastry to 2-3mm thickness and cut out rounds that are slightly bigger than your tartlet tins. Push the pastry rounds gently into the tins - do not stretch them. Trim the edges (I find it easiest to roll my rolling pin over the top to do this but you can use a knife) and prick the bases with a fork. Chill for 10-20 mins.
Place a small piece of baking paper into each case and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake at 180°C for 10 mins. Remove the baking beans and return to the oven for another 5-10 mins until golden brown. Leave to cool.
Fill each pastry case with a dollop of crème pâtissière. You could pipe this if you want to be fancy. Top with a few pieces of cooled rhubarb and drizzle the fruit with the glaze to make them glisten.
I can't be doing with making pastry in the food processor. Not only is it perfectly simple to make by hand, it is also much easier to control the results this way. You want your pastry to be as short and as crisp as possible and working it as little as humanly possible is the best way to guarantee this.For a little twist, you could try flavouring the crème pâtissière with orange zest instead of, or in addition to, vanilla.