Preheat the oven to 180°C (356°F). Brush a round 22cm (9″) base measurement cake pan with melted dairy spread to lightly grease. Line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Combine the cocoa powder & hot water in a medium bowl. Combine the instant coffee powder & boiling water in a cup. Add the coffee to the cocoa mixture & stir until combined.
Add almond meal, sugar, & egg yolks to cocoa mixture, & stir until well combined.
Use an electric beater to whisk egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Use a metal spoon to fold a spoonful of egg whites into cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining egg whites until just combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Place cake pan in a roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach two-thirds of the way up the side of the cake pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Remove cake pan from water bath & set aside for 20 minutes to cool Turn cake onto a wire rack & remove paper. Set aside for another 20 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.
Cut cake into wedges & carefully transfer to serving plates. Serve with strawberries
Slice the rhubarb thinly and put it, the brown sugar, water, & spices in a saucepan on lowest heat for about an hour, with the lid on, until the rhubarb has totally collapsed. Strain the liquid into a bowl or jug. Remove the cinnamon & star anise & then set the rhubarb aside to cool.
Create a batch of sweet shortcrust pastry (see link for recipe). Once you’ve mixed it all up, put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
Roll out your pastry & place in your tart or pie dish. Cover with parchment paper & fill with rice or baking weights & bake for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool while melting chocolate.
Melt 375g (about 13.2 oz) of semi-sweet good quality chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, pour it into the base of the tart. Don’t fill it too much, you want just a thin layer. Refrigerate until chocolate sets.
Make custard. You could do this from scratch, or use 1 box of custard powder & make according to the directions on the package.
Once your chocolate/pastry has hardened, put a layer of the cooled rhubarb on top of the chocolate. Pour the custard over the rhubarb & put in the refrigerator to set. You need the custard to set to about the firmness of Jell-O before you top with strawberries.
Decorate the top with strawberries. It’s hard to say exactly how many you will need, but about three baskets should do it. Once the custard has set, layer the strawberries, halved, on top of the custard in a circle starting from the outer edge until right in the middle. Make a second layer on top to cover any visible gaps where you can see the custard.
Sprinkle with fine white sugar & put back in the refrigerator. The strawberries will absorb the sugar & turn into a sort of glaze. If you want to get fancy, you can use a dessert torch to heat the sugar & caramelize it into a nice crust. Serve with vanilla ice cream on the side.
Chef’s Note: You can omit the rhubarb and use more strawberries to turn this into just a strawberry tart.