Learning about food, photography, and writing. Sharing what I find.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Using up the Rhubarb

Around this time, that is often the dilemma. "Well, we've made one delicious dessert with as much of this rhubarb as we could fit in a pie pan. What do we do with the other 5 stalks?" Compote, that's what.

I'll be honest, I thought compote sounded a little too much like rotting food refuse in the back corner of the yard, but it's really quite pleasantly different from comPOST. So, just before the rhubarb made its way to "too limp to consume," I stumbled across a recipe for Rustic Rhubarb Tarts.

They were like nothing I've had, but they were certainly delicious. The recipe is kind of specialized, but I'm learning that any real baker just has to have loads of flour types on hand — spelt and all (come back soon to see my next post, which will detail my adventures in spelt flour).

The recipe for the tarts above came about when I read this post, but I have modified it a bit.

Ingredients for the filling:

5 rhubarb stalks
1 pear
1/2 cup minus 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar (7.5 tablespoons)
1 tsp vanilla extract (the original recipe used a full vanilla bean, but who has that lying around?)

Ingredients for the crust:

1/2 cup corn flour (I used soy flour because it was randomly in the cupboard)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine cornmeal
1/8 cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 stick cold butter
1/8 cup plus 1 Tbs heavy cream
1 egg yolk

Prep the compote first:
Start by chopping the rhubarb and the pear into 1/2 inch cubes.

Put 3/4 of the chopped pear and rhubarb into a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the Brown Sugar and Vanilla Extract.

Mix quickly to distribute the sugar and vanilla. Place the pot over medium-low heat and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until it becomes quite saucy. Meanwhile, chop the remaining rhubarb and pear bits into smaller, 1/4 inch, pieces. Reserve.

Remove the lid from the stewing compote and turn the heat up to medium. Cook uncovered over medium heat for roughly ten minutes more, being careful not to burn the sugar. It is done when the rhubarb is fully squish-able. Turn off the heat and stir in the the small cubes of rhubarb and pear. Pour the hot compote onto a large plate and spread it out to cool.

Now to start on the crust.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in the bowl of your mixer. Add the butter in small bits.

Break up the butter on low speed and then increase to medium until the butter looks like coarse meal.

Add the Heavy Cream and the Egg Yolk and mix until combined (it seemed REALLY dry to me and I had issues with crumbly dough, so you may want to use an extra yolk or some more cream).

Divide the dough into 5 equal chunks and flatten into 5 inch rounds on a floured surface.

Place a heaping Tbs of the compote into the center of each round and fold the edges up around it (again, mine was majorly crumbly, so they were "rustic" alright). Chill the uncooked tarts in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 375ยบ. Bake in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and the compote begins to bubble. Allow them to cool down from molten-lava-hot and then EAT.

These really need vanilla bean ice cream piled on them, but we settled for fresh whipped cream from the leftover heavy cream (isn't there always leftover heavy cream??).

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