Week 1 – Rhubarb (Kari)

Kari here. This past weekend my in-laws were visiting.  The smell of rhubarb filled the house.  Everyone loved it– we even caught George (my father-in-law) helping himself to a piece at lunch time while we were away.  Delicious. The parchment paper was a must.  Also delicious for breakfast the next day 🙂

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RUSTIC FRUIT TART

Makes 2 (12-inch) tart crusts.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. When making two tarts, double the filling ingredients.
For the crust:
• 21/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 1 tsp. salt
• 12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter (11/2 sticks, cut in 1/2 -in.pieces)
• 1/2 c. cold vegetable shortening
• 1/2  c. ice water
For each tart filling:
• 1/2 c. sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 tbsp. cornstarch
• 2 c. fruit of choice, sliced thin or left whole, depending on the fruit
• Melted butter and sparkling sugar
Directions:
To prepare crust:
Whisk together flour, 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. With pastry blender, cut in butter and shortening until well distributed. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal.
Sprinkle water over flour mixture, blending and sprinkling until all the liquid is used. The dough may seem rather sticky, but that’s OK.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, pat it into a loaf shape and cut in 2 equal pieces and flatten into fat disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. (You can also double wrap 1 disk and store in the freezer for use within 2 months.)
About 30 minutes before you want to bake, remove dough from the refrigerator and place it on the counter to take off the chill. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and fold over the edges about a half-inch to create a rim, to capture the fruit juices if they should begin to ooze.
On a well-floured pastry cloth or silicone sheet, roll out the dough, working from the middle to the edges, until you have a rough circle about 12 to 14 inches around. Don’t roll the dough too thin or the fruit may break through the sides of the tart.
Drape half the dough over the rolling pin and use the pin to lift the dough gently onto the parchment paper.
To prepare filling: 
Mix together the 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and pinch of salt. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Toss the remaining mixture with the fruit (1 cup Rhubarb + 1 cup strawberry). Arrange fruit in center of dough circle.
Gently lift the border of dough up and toward the fruit, folding or pleating as you complete the circle. If desired, you can brush the dough border with some melted butter and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. If fruit juices have oozed onto the parchment, gently work the tart loose, slipping a knife under the crust. Then slide the tart onto a wire rack to cool slightly (or completely) before serving.
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Week 1 – Rhubarb (Abby)

Abby here. For the first week of our recipe challenge Kari and I chose rhubarb. Rhubarb is such a quintessential spring item that it only made sense we used it as our first ingredient. I absolutely love the tartness of rhubarb, and when paired with the right things it is completely perfect for those warm spring evenings.

I had found a recipe for an Eton Mess with rhubarb quite a while ago (from the crumb.com) that I wanted to try, so when we decided to go with the stalky fruit I immediately knew what I wanted to make. I had never heard of the dessert before, but it sounded delicious. An Eton Mess, for those of you who like me, haven’t heard of the treat, is a traditional English dessert. It is a mixture of fruit (traditionally strawberries), cream, and meringues. The slightly crunchy meringues contrast the light whipped cream perfectly, and the rhubarb is such a nice compliment to the pair. The three components are combined right at the last minute and are barely mixed together, so it results in a swirly, beautifully colorful treat.

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I had never made meringues before so it was a fun challenge for me. Also, Isabelle Boucher (the author of the recipe) added Greek yogurt into the whipped cream to lighten it up some; it was something I had never tried, and to be honest was a bit nervous about (I really love whipped cream). I was pleasantly surprised, and the yogurt ended up being a perfect complement to the cream and to the flavors of the dessert in general. The recipe was deceptively simple and may be one of my new favorites. I have seen other variations of the Eton Mess as well, with various summer fruits, so I plan on trying those out at some point because my boyfriend and I loved this one so much.

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Rhubarb Eton Mess

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Meringues:

  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp corn starch
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Rhubarb Compote:

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Yogurt Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

Make the Brown Sugar Meringues (up to 2 days ahead)

  1. Preheat the oven to 250F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. On medium speed with a mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add in both the white and brown sugars, one spoonful at a time. Continue whisking until the sugars have been completely incorporated and the whites have formed stiff peaks. Finally, gently fold in the vinegar, corn starch and vanilla.
  3. Spoon the meringue into twelve large dollops onto the prepared cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 90 minutes, or until the surface of the meringues feels dry to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in with the door closed to cool for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.

Rhubarb Compote (can be made up to 1 week ahead)

  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the rhubarb, orange juice, sugar and orange zest. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for around 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and beginning to fall apart. Set aside to cool off to room temperature.

Make the Yogurt Cream (shortly before assembling)

  1. In a large bowl, whip together the heavy cream, yogurt, sugar and vanilla until it stiffens and soft peaks form.
Assemble the Eton Mess (at the last possible minute)
  1. Crumble the meringues into a large bowl. Spoon the cream and rhubarb compote on top, and fold until just barely combined (the mixture should still look streaky).
  2. Divide evenly between six dessert bowls or martini glasses, and serve immediately, and enjoy!

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