WCC#16: Rhubarb Brûlée Tartlettes with Ginger

May 9, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Posted in events, pies & tarts, sweet things | 6 Comments

rhubarb brulee tartlettes with ginger

Towards the end of winter I begin to get very antsy.  This is not so much for the arrival of warm weather as it is for the arrival of rhubarb at the Borough Hall Greenmarket in Brooklyn.  But wait– I’m not in New York anymore, I’m in Sydney.  And it’s not spring here, it’s fall.  So imagine my excitement when I saw rhubarb at the Good Living Growers’ Market in Pyrmont this past Saturday!  Yes, of course I bought some.  I wish my camera could have captured how beautiful the raw, iridescent red stalks were, but I make do with a point and shoot, so it didn’t.

I’ve baked so many rhubarb pies, I *maybe* could make one with my eyes closed…although the lattice work would be tough.  If I’m too lazy to make a pie, then the rhubarb always gets folded into a really easy cake batter.   I felt like making something different.  And I was looking for something to do with my Sunday afternoon while R was glued to the tube watching slasher movies.  As I was poking through my cookbook collection, I found a recipe in Regan Daley’s 2001 book In the Sweet Kitchen, which I recently purchased, for rhubarb brûlée tartlettes with ginger.  Hmm…that sounded good (as does every other recipe in Chef Daley’s book).  Not only would I get to use a new cookbook,  it would also give me the chance to use a new gadget, my little kitchen blow torch.

little torch

The recipe is broken up into four parts:  preparing the tartlette shells, making the brûlée base, cooking the fruit and assembling the final product.  In and of themselves, these steps are quite simple, and the first three can be done a day ahead if need be.  The finished tarts though should be eaten on the day of final assembly and baking.  In detailing the recipe, I’m going to skip the method for the tart shells.  I didn’t actually make Chef Daley’s pâte brisée recipe, as I had some pie dough in the freezer from something else and thought this was a good way to use it up.  Just use your favorite brisée recipe for the tartlette shells and blind bake them.

tartlettes ready for blind baking

For the sake of presentation, I did two things differently than in the original recipe. The liquid from the cooked rhubarb was a beautiful pink, so I didn’t discard it. I added a bit more sugar and reduced it to make a syrup.  I also cut the rhubarb a bit longer than instructed.  When putting the compote into the tarts, I put the pieces that had fallen apart the most during cooking on the the bottoms, filled the shells with custard, then lined up a few pieces that had retained their shape on top.

rhubarb tartlettes out of the oven

The finished dessert was delicious.  The tart rhubarb went nicely with the creamy, vanilla-scented custard and it had just a bit of a kick from the ginger.  The shell stayed crisp, and of course there was the brûléed top.  I may as well also mention that while my little torch is certainly no match for the hardware store type I’ve used in restaurants, it’s not bad.

The theme for the sixteenth Weekend Cookbook Challenge, hosted by Sara (the founder of WCC) at I Like to Cook, is “Something New.”  Since I’ve used two new things to make this recipe, I thought I’d submit it as an entry. 

Rhubarb Brûlée Tartlettes with Ginger – makes 6 servings
adapted from Regan Daley’s In the Sweet Kitchen

6 (4 1/2 -inch) pâte brisée tartlette shells, pre-baked, cooled and left in their forms
1 1/2 T redcurrant or plum jelly
2 scant T finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup turbinado sugar for brûlée

for the rhubarb: 
3/4 pound rhubarb stalks, washed, trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
1/4 cup plus 1 T packed light brown sugar

for the custard:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 1 T granulated sugar
1 T unsalted butter, cut into bits
pinch of salt 

For the rhubarb:  Place the cut rhubarb and light brown sugar into a pot over low heat.  Cover and cook (gently stirring a few times) for 5 to 10 minutes until the rhubarb is tender, but still holds shape.  Drain and cool the rhubarb to room temperature before using, or refrigerate if making ahead.  Either discard the juice from the drained rhubarb, or reduce it to syrup consistency if desired for plating.

For the custard:  Set up a water bath by bringing about two inches of water to a simmer in a large pot and setting a heatproof bowl on top.   Pour cream into a separate small saucepan and add the pinch of salt and the seeds and pod from the vanilla bean.  Pot the pot on medium heat to scald the cream.  Put the yolks and sugar in the bowl set over the gently simmering water bath.  While cream is heating, constantly whisk the yolk mixture over the water bath.  When cream is scalded and the yolk mixture is thick and pale, temper the cream into the yolks.  Leave the mixture over the water bath, stirring constantly with a spoon until it thickly coats the back.  This will take 5 to 7 minutes.  Strain the custard through a fine sieve and stir in the butter until melted and incorporated.  Press plastic onto the surface to avoid a skin and refrigerate until cool. 

Assembling the tartlettes:  Preheat the oven to 325°F/170°C.  Place the tartlette shells on a flat baking sheet.  Gently melt the jelly and brush the bottoms of the shells with a thin layer.  Spoon a couple of tablespoons of cooked rhubarb into the shells and smooth out.  Divide the chopped ginger among the shells and spoon custard on top.  If desired, place a few nicely shaped pieces of rhubarb across the top.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  The filling should be a little jiggly in the center, but slightly set around the edges.  Cool the tarts on a rack (the custard will further set).  Place in the refrigerator if not eating within two hours (although you should not prepare them more than five hours in advance, according to Daley).

– To serve:  Remove the tartlettes from their shells and sprinkle on the turbinado sugar.  Using a kitchen torch, melt and caramelize the sugar.  If you have placed some rhubarb on top of the tarts like I did, sprinkle sugar and brûlée AROUND the exposed pieces.  They will burn if you torch them.  Serve immediately with the rhubarb syrup, if using.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Mascarpone Mousse

July 23, 2019 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments

mascarpone mousse

Mascarpone Mousse sounds like it would be rich, but it is surprisingly light and airy. It’s a nice chilled, no-bake dessert for the oppressively hot summer days we’ve been having. I think it would go well with just about any summer fruit, too…here I topped it with some of the Roasted Rhubarb with Bitters I made for our last posting.

To make the mousse, mascarpone and honey-sweetened cream are mixed together. Then a simple meringue is folded through the mix to give it its delicate texture. There is a little gelatin as well to help it set up. That’s not my favorite ingredient, but I did use it here. The recipe says it makes four servings, but I got six that I thought were quite reasonably sized.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Classic Fruit Tart

July 10, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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classic fruit tart

This Classic Fruit Tart is the type you’ll encounter in just about every French bakery case. A sweet shell, filled with pastry cream and topped with lots of berries, they are always eye-catching and so tempting. But they are really so easy to make at home, and very often, much tastier. Made at home, you can control when you assemble it, so the shell stays crisp and the berries fresh and vibrant. You can even play around with the flavors. I took the regular vanilla pastry cream and added a bit of almond extract to it, too, because I like that flavor with berries. I made mini tarts just so I can fill them as we want them, since there are only two of us. I couldn’t fit that many different fruits on top of my mini tartlets…space was a little restricted. I went with teensy tristar strawberries and some pink champagne currents. Then I filled in the gaps with some white chocolate Valrhona crunchy pearls. Maybe tomorrow’s pair will have raspberries in place of the strawberries, or maybe even rhubarb compote. Options, options.

classic fruit tart

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Springtime Cookies and Curd with Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies

May 22, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, other sweet, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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springtime cookies and curd with double-butter double-baked petit beurre cookies

Here are both of this month’s BCM recipes in one nifty post. I’d say I love the efficiency, but actually, I had to get together a lot of bits and pieces before I could stick a spoon in this Springtime Cookies and Curd dessert and call it done. This is a layered treat…cookies, curd, rhubarb and strawberries…oh my! I began by making Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies, which I can assure you are double-good. They’re made in an unusual way, starting with buttery baked streusel-like crumbles, to which even more butter is added to hold them together into a rough dough. I knew this would be tricky to work with, so I skipped the step of rolling out the dough and then cutting and transferring delicate rounds. Instead, I pressed the dough into rings, chilled everything well and baked the cookies right in those rings.

Once the cookies were baked and cooled, I got everything else together. Sometimes the state of my fridge drives me nuts, while other times I am thankful for all the little jars of this and that I have kicking around. Taking shortcuts where you can is nothing to be ashamed of. I had passion fruit curd in the fridge already, as well as stewed rhubarb, so I used those. Rather than make a strawberry compote I just diced up some fresh berries.  I put all these together in a coupe, beginning and ending with cookie bits, and it made a beautiful and delicious springtime dessert. And the cookies are fabulous on their own…very buttery, a tiny bit salty and with a texture that can’t be beat.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Les Whoopies

June 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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les whoopies

It doesn’t matter if they’re called Les Whoopies or whoopie pies, I’m a big fan. I used to work in a bakery where we made heaps of them (the chocolate and the pumpkin ones were my favorites), so I know my whoops. These are great– moist and chocolatey, like little devil’s food sandwiches, with peanut butter filling. I always like how good whoopee pie cakes are a little sticky on my fingers. Is that weird? I made these a few months ago actually, but now that I’m looking at the picture I took, I should go make them again!

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. It’s also here. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Pistachio and Summer Fruit Gratins

May 23, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Posted in BCM, cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, general pastry, groups, jams & preserves, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 1 Comment
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pistachio and summer fruit gratins

What to say about these Pistachio and Summer Fruit Gratins? Well for one thing, they are pretty tasty. A layer of fruit and berries topped with pistachio frangipane could almost not be a winning dessert. I will fess up that I fudged the frangipane and used the “regular” almond kind, which I have a stash of in the freezer.  I sprinkled a bunch of pistachios on top to fool everyone, though! Haha– I have a few tricks up my sleeve now and then. The fruit in this can be pretty much whatever’s in season…I went with a rhubarb/raspberry combo. The ‘barb and ‘berries bubbled up in the oven and turned into a jammy layer that was the most gorgeous shade of hot pink. Hot pink and pistachio green might be my favorite color combo, but I can see myself making this one over and over again this summer as different fruits roll though the farmers’ market.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Danish Pastry Pockets

May 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Posted in breakfast things, BWJ, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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danish pastry pockets

I’ve made Beatrice Ojakangas’s Danish recipe here once before, when we formed it into an impressive braid.  Her dough uses a “quick” method, employing the food processor to break down the butter into chunks in the flour, rather than folding a butter block into a dough.  The rough dough does need to rest in the fridge overnight, but after that, all of the lamination work is done quickly and at once, without any waiting in between the turns and folds.  Pretty easy, all things considered, and crisp and flaky, too.

There are a variety of little shapes you can form Danish dough into, but I only did the “spandauer,” mostly because it has the coolest name.  It’s just a square folded up around a filling like a baby in a papoose.  I didn’t feel like trying to hard on those fillings.  I thought for all of two seconds about making a pastry cream, before remembering I had some ricotta cheese in the fridge.  I drained it for a couple of hours before stirring in a bit of sugar, lemon zest and egg yolk.  I topped that off with some rhubarb jam.  After the Danishes were out of the oven they got a good squiggling of glaze.  These were quite delicious, and would have no doubt been amazing with coffee for breakfast, but we actually had them for dessert.  Good anytime of day– that’s what I’m sayin’!

Back when we did that braid, I also tried out my shaping skills on the pinwheel.  That one was filled with cream cheese and blueberry jam and sprinkled with pearl sugar.  And glazed, too, of course.

danish pinwheel

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  There’s even a video of Beatrice and Julia making Danish together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Jammer Galette

April 26, 2016 at 10:00 am | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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jammer galette

Sometimes there just isn’t any good fruit around to make a pie.  Where I live right now, I can get some really old apples or some really green rhubarb at the farmers’ market.  We’re in the in-between season.  That’s when jam tarts come in handy, like the Jammer Galette.  This is a full-size version of Dorie’s Jammer cookies–a short and sandy sablé crust, topped with jam and covered in a sweet streusel.  I’m often taking a large version of something and scaling it down to a smaller size, but the little Jammer really does scale up well.

We’ve used Dorie’s sweet tart and galette doughs in the past, and I have a piece of each in the freezer.  I was tempted to cheat and swap one of them here, but I stayed true and made the sablé.  I had some homemade rhubarb jam from last summer in the fridge and I used it up here to make room for this year’s coming preserves stash.  This galette is pretty easy to make…the crust and and streusel can be taken care of in advance, and of course you can buy a nice jam for this.  It’s slim and bakes up crisp and delicate, and, naturally, it’s fabulous with vanilla ice cream.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Blood Orange Yogurt Loaf Cake

March 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 14 Comments
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blood orange yogurt loaf cake

It might technically be spring, but it sure doesn’t feel like it yet.  I’m still wearing a scarf inside, my down parka outside, and there was even talk of pulling snow boots out again last night.  Oh, bother.  A bright spot here, while I wait for spring to really show up, is that the citrus is still good.  I think we’re at the tail-end of the preciously short blood orange season.  Blood oranges are so sweet and vibrantly colored– I still feel surprised every time I cut one open.

I’ve made lots of yogurt cakes here (and even yogurt cupcakes, too).  They stay moist for days, feel less guilty than pound cakes and they’re a great match for citrus, so I looked around on-line to see if anyone had a good one using blood oranges. Most cakes that I saw seemed to resemble another one I’d made, Ina’s Lemon Yogurt Cake, swapping out the lemon zest and juice for blood orange.  At its core, so did this one but it has a few tweeks that set it apart for me.  Subbing some of the AP four with cornmeal gives the cake a more rustic taste and texture.  Swapping the plain vegetable oil for olive oil adds to its fruitiness.  Cutting out just a bit of the sugar and forgoing the powdered sugar glaze keeps it from being overly sweet. Don’t worry– a jewel toned blood orange juice soaking syrup drenches the top and seeps into the cake, so you still get enough of that sticky sweetness to call this dessert.

P.S.:  If you like cocktails, add a little vodka and a splash of simple syrup to blood orange juice, top it off with seltzer and ice, and you’ll have the most brilliantly colored drink you’ve ever seen.

Blood Orange Yogurt Loaf Cake-makes an 8 1/2″ x  4 1/4″ loaf cake
adapted from Ina Garten and foodonfifth.com

for the cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal,
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
zest of two blood oranges
1 cup yogurt (Greek or regular, but preferably not non-fat)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup olive oil

for the soaking syrup
1/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (from the two zested oranges)
2 tbsp. granulated sugar

-Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8 1/2″ x  4 1/4″ loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, rub the 3/4 cup sugar and the blood orange zest together with your fingers until fragrant.  Whisk in the yogurt, eggs, vanilla and olive oil.  Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, switching to a spatula, if needed.  Mix until just fully combined.

-Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Start checking for doneness at 40 minutes.

-When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, make the soaking syrup by combining the 1/3 cup blood orange juice and remaining 2 tbsp sugar in a small pan.  Bring it up to the boil and simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear, about a minute. Set aside.

-Carefully place the cake on a baking rack over a sheet pan. Use a skewer to poke holes in the top. While the cake is still warm and the syrup is hot, pour the syrup mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. (You can get all the syrup to absorb into the cake or reserve a little bit of it for drizzling over the cut slices, if you’d like).

-Cool completely before slicing.


Buttermilk Ice Cream

June 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Posted in ice creams & frozen, sweet things | 13 Comments
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buttermilk ice cream

We’re in the summer swing here, and I’m starting to see some good-looking fruit at the farmers’ markets.  The first nice strawberries had me digging through my cookbook collection (I’m not a gardener) the other week for some fresh fruit inspiration.  Who wants to turn on the oven, especially in a house with no A/C?  What wound up catching my eye didn’t actually involve fresh fruit, but was something to go with it…Buttermilk Ice Cream.  It had been a while since I’d made ice cream at home and I happened to have some extra-special “real” buttermilk that I thought I’d paid too much for to hide in a baked good.  The gentle sweet tang of this ice cream is the prefect partner for simply sliced berries or peaches.  Don’t get me wrong, it’ll also be *stellar* with strawberry-rhubarb double crisp or  blueberry-nectarine pie.  Oh, and a strawberry-buttermilk milkshake…try that out, too.

I like to store my homemade ice cream in a restaurant-style 1/6 pan with a snap-on lid.  Freeze the empty stainless steel container while the ice cream is churning, and you’ll be good to go!

buttermilk ice cream

Buttermilk Ice Cream (makes about a quart)
adapted from The Last Course by Claudia Fleming

1 1/2 heavy cream 
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 
 5 large egg yolks (you could use up to 9 yolks- the more the richer)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or half a vanilla bean, scraped)
pinch of salt
about 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional; helps keep ice cream scoopable)

-In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar (and the vanilla bean seeds and pod, if using) and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

-In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.  You want it to look lightened.

-Remove the cream mixture from the heat and slowly drizzle about half the warm liquid into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

-Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (if you are using a thermometer, this should be about 175-180°F).  Vigorously whisk in the xanthan gum, if using.  Strain the mixture and whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla extract (if not using a bean), and salt.

-Cool completely over an ice bath. Then refrigerate several hours or overnight before churning in an ice cream machine according manufacturer’s directions.  Transfer to a container for freezer storage.

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