rhubarb beignets

This recipe is my ode to two people I heart.

Marysol Foucault (Edgar & Odile) and Patricia Larkin (aka Trish) (The Black Cat Bistro).

I heart them both.

Marysol will sometimes just send me a link to a blog or a recipe with a note that says “i thought of you”.  As a girl who loves loves LOVES food – especially baked goods – it’s like getting a virtual hug.

I’ve been hanging out with Trish a lot recently … she’s taught a few LCBO food events and I’ve been her assistant … I just heart being able to listen to her talk food and share her ideas and her tips to people.  Plus she shares her recipes (and is as equally in love with Downton Abbey as I am).  Loves it! 

So … you might wonder … how does a rhubarb beignet recipe become an ode to two people?

Easy!

Marysol introduced me to, and makes, the MOST INCREDIBLE lemon beignet in the ENTIRE world.  That’s right people.  Edgar, in Gatineau, Québec has the greatest lemon beignet in the entire world.  And Trish introduced me to, and makes this insanely amazing rhubarb curd.  Rhubarb AND curd … LOVES. LOVES. LOVES.  Absolutely brilliant.

I decided that since I heart the two things (and people) so much … I needed to combine them.

Hence … the rhubarb beignet.  A light fluffy cupcake, stuffed with rhubarb curd, bathed in lemon juice and coated in cinnamon sugar.

DEE-LISH.  Seriously tartly delicious.  With a hint of sweetness.  I am totally in love with this recipe.

The rhubarb recipe is thanks to Trish and the cupcake recipe is thanks to Marysol (she also shared it when she appeared on must.love.food. the *lemon* episode).

rhubarb curd

ingredients:

3 c. chopped rhubarb
3/4 c. sugar handful of strawberries or raspberries for colour (optional – I have also used cranberries)
juice from 1 lemon
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
7 egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt

Place the rhubarb, juice of the lemon, sugar and water in a small pot and simmer gently until the rhubarb is soft.  Keep an eye on your saucepan and stir the fruit from time to time … the first time I made this, the heat was a little high and the fruit stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Once cooked down and thickened, remove from heat and blend into a smooth purée.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt in a bowl that can be used for a double boiler (either a glass or metal bowl).  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisking the egg mixture until warm.  Gradually add the rhubarb purée, stirring vigorously between each addition.

Once the consistency is rich and thick, remove from heat.  Put through a sieve immediately and cool with plastic wrap directly on top of the curd.  Set aside in the fridge while you bake the cupcakes.

Marysol’s basic cake recipe:
 
ingredients:
 
1 egg
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. oil
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
  
Heat your oven to 350 F.  Spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray … no need to use cupcake liners for this recipe. 

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, using a whisk attachment, beat the egg, sugar and oil.  Start at a low-speed and increase the speed, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.  

In a measuring cup, mix the buttermilk and vanilla.  
 
Alternating between the flour and the milk mixtures, add them to the oil – egg – sugar batter (flour / milk / flour / milk / flour).
 
Increase the speed of the mixer once the flour is completely incorporated, creating a smooth batter.  Once smooth … stop mixing!

Spoon the batter into your muffin tins.  Bake for about 17 minutes for large cupcakes.

Once baked, remove the pan from the oven, and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack immediately.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Time to pull out your rhubarb curd.  This is when I spoon it into a squeeze bottle.  A piping bag works too.  Basically … you just want something with a tip that you can stick into the bottom of your cupcake, allowing you to fill the centre with rhubarb curd.

Once the cupcakes are full of rhubarb curd love (that’s right … rhubarb curd is LOVE) … you need to bathe them in fresh lemon juice (I used 2 lemons for this … obviously this depends on how much juice your lemons yield).  Marysol taught me that the *best* way to do this is to put your hand into the lemon juice (palm side down); wet it, and then pat the entire cupcake surface with your wet hand.  The perfect amount of lemon juice gets soaked up … without overly saturating the cupcake.

Then roll the *lemon juiced* cupcakes in some cinnamon sugar.  The sugar will hold thanks to that lemon juice … plus it adds an extra zing to the cupcakes.

I heart these beignets.  Actually … I LOVE them.  I purposely didn’t use up all my rhubarb … I need to be able to make another batch of curd soon.  It’s just too good to resist.

modern apple tart

20120925-134934.jpg

Oh my goodness!

I think this is just about the prettiest apple tart I’ve ever made. EVER.

But the beauty about this one … is that it’s not just pretty. Oh heck no. It’s tasty as well. Like … truly delicious … melt in your mouth … bet you can’t eat just one slice … kinda good.

That’s good.

Wanna know the secret? It’s all in the filling … apple-rhubarb filling.

20120925-151536.jpg

Mother of pearl.

Tart with a hint of sweetness (just a hint) … this modern twist on the classic french apple tart has quickly become my *new* favourite.

Lucky for me – I was able to get my apples while picking up my weekly fruit and veggies in the byward market … and I was gifted a whole bunch of rhubarb from my boss (you gotta love a boss that brings you rhubarb from his garden not once … but twice a season!). It was time to put it to use … and what great use.

I decided to use cortland apples for this because they hold their shape well, and I really wanted the ring of apple slices on top to sit pretty once baked. Plus I enjoy the tartness of cortlands. I will definitely make this again – and likely remember to add a handful of fresh cranberries to the fruit filling as well. And to make it REALLY Canadian … I’ll sprinkle maple sugar instead of regular sugar on top of the apples before baking the tart.

Overall … success. Actually … this was a HUGE success. I strongly recommend you add this to your thanksgiving dessert options. I promise all your friends and family will thank you for it.

apple-rhubarb tart

ingredients:

1 recipe pâte brisée (I opted to use an unsweetened pastry – you can follow my recipe and simply omit the sugar)

2 apples, peeled, cored and diced

7 stalks of rhubarb, diced

4-5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 lemon, juice

1/2 c. sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

1/2 c. water

1/4 c. butter, melted

In a medium saucepan, combine the diced apple and rhubarb, the lemon juice, sugar, vanilla bean and water. Cook the filling over medium-high heat, stirring often so that the fruit doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once everything is bubbling – turn the heat down to a simmer (keep uncovered), and allow the fruit to break-down and the liquid to evaporate. This should take all of 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled – remove the vanilla pod from the filling.

20120925-135152.jpg

Heat the oven to 375 F.

Roll out the pastry (made at least one hour in advance in order to chill and rest). Flour your work surface and roll out the dough as thinly as possible … ensuring that the pastry circumference is slightly larger than your tart pan. Gently press the dough into the pan, and remove the excess dough that will hang over the edges.

20120925-135222.jpg

Once the tart shell is ready … start to fill it with the cooked fruit. I used a small spatula to push the fruit around ensuring that I have an even layer.

Then it’s time to place the apple slices. You want to cover the entire surface: start by placing the slices of apple around the side of the tart, overlapping the pieces so that they fit tightly against one another. Keep adding slices. You might think that it’s overkill … but it’s not. I even went back and added another slice of apple between every other slice … you want it to be a really tight fit.

20120925-134908.jpg

Once the entire surface is covered with apple slices, brush with melted butter and sprinkle (generously enough) with sugar. That’s it. Time to bake.

20120925-134754.jpg

Bake for about 60 minutes (lower rack of the oven so that the dough bakes through). You’ll know it’s ready when the apples are golden and the filling bubbles slightly under the surface. You’ll know it’s ready … it will smell divine.

When ready … pull it out of the oven … and wait.

I know. How cruel am I? You’re probably thinking … WHY MUST I WAIT?!

Just wait about 10 minutes. You want it to rest a little, allowing the juices to settle. And then … dig in. I bet you don’t stop with just one piece. Seriously … this is delicious.

Ridiculously delicious.

20120925-135214.jpg

rhubarb raspberry cream tarts

There is so much that I want to blog about.

In the past few weeks I’ve made my first batch of gelato (huge success), batches of those smores bars (now I add the flaked coconut to the graham cracker base … a very tasty “twist” to the recipe), and I’ve been making these …

These are the best little tarts I ever did try.

Rhubarb.

Raspberries.

Cream filling.

DEE-LIGHT-FUL.

Oh my gosh … I wish I was nibbling on one as I write this …

It’s a tart happy little treat … full of promise of the summer to come.

It’s everything I love in baked goods.

Plus … it’s super pretty (double bonus).

I made a batch of my favourite pastry dough – and was able to get 18 tarts out of it.  The tarts were made using my cupcake / muffin pans as a mold.  I thought it was a good idea, since you need a “deep-dish” like mold – after all, you not only fill them with berries and rhubarb; but you also top them with a cream / custard filling.

The original recipe made a 9-inch pie … but who wants one 9-inch pie … when you can get eighteen mini tarts!

rhubarb – raspberry cream tarts

ingredients:

basic pastry dough (although for this tart, I omit the sugar in the recipe)

1 1/2 c. chopped rhubarb (about 4 stalks)

1 c. raspberries

1 c. sugar

2 tbsp flour

3/4 c. heavy cream

2 eggs

*bakers note – I halved the recipe each time I made it (the better to have fresh tarts for many occasions) – so the pictures below show the instructions and ingredients halved.  If you want to make a full batch at a time – follow the ingredient list above.  Sorry for any confusion.

Making the cream filling is super simple … and done in 3 easy steps!

Then you fill each tart with the berries and cream … and bake.

Pretty simple and easy eh?

Go on … make this!  And if you want … since it’s such a classic combination … go and grab some of those newly picked strawberries and turn these into rhubarb-strawberry tarts.

Sighs of happiness.