15 June 2011

{Sweet & Sour: Rhubarb Tartelettes with Ginger and Vanilla}

One of the many reasons I love Norwegian food is the adherent use of fresh ingredients; fresh salmon, newly picked berries, warm and fresh milk, home-grown vegetables and let's not forget the yummy and juicy tomatoes from the many fjord islands. I often get asked by foreigners how fruits and berries can possibly grow in Norway. Ehh, it's not the North Pole, I reply, somewhat perplexed. Midsummer days up here are so long that it never gets dark, and the copious amounts of light – coalesced with a temperate climate – is ideal for growing juicy delights such as raspberries, blueberries, redcurrants, apples, plums, cherries and so on. But in the weeks before Midsummer, there is one vegetable in particular that seems to enjoy the cool climate and rain weather prone to Norway: the rhubarb. This veggie is a popularly used ingredient in June; its rich, sour taste balancing sweet desserts. 

One of the most popular rhubarb desserts in Norway is rabarbragraut (literally rhubarb porridge). Rhubarb is cooked with sugar, water and potato starch and served with vaniljesaus – vanilla sauce. In other areas of the world, rhubarb is prepared differently. Some dice the rhubarbs, blend them with an egg and sugar mixture and make rhubarb tarts. These rhubarb tarts can also be served with sour cream or – as they do in Alsace – with meringue.

For me, though, the rhubarb is perfect just the way it is. I've never been a huge fan of mixing berries or fruits with lots of sugar or creams; natural juices are often tastier. And since the rhubarb season is in its prime at the moment, why ruin something the taste of pure, juicy fresh rhubarb veggies? But the rhubarb flavour is too tart to be left completely alone, and something needs to be added to balance the acidity. I had been looking for a recipe that balanced the acidity with something else; not too sweet, not too sour (just too pink?) Finally, I found a recipe at the wonderful La Tartine Gourmade blog; a recipe, she wrote, which was neither too sweet, nor sour, and left the rhubarbs be rhubarbs.The ginger and almond mixture tastes so yummy by themselves, and, added to the rhubarb, leaves your mouth feeling happy and satisfied. 

{Rhubarb Tartelettes with Ginger and Vanilla}
Recipe by La Tartine Gourmande

300 g. pâte feuilletée (about 1/3 of this recipe)
500 g. rhubarb,  peeled, cleaned and cut into 6.5 cm. pieces
50 g. fine cane sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed
5 cm. ginger root, peeled and grated extremely thinly
80 g. almond meal (store-bought works fine)
3.5 tbsp. brown sugar + 2 tbsp., to sprinkle over
Confectioner's sugar (optional)

1.Take the peeled*, cleaned and cut rhubarb and place them in a colander and sprinkle with 50 g. sugar. Let rest for 1 hour, to let the rhubarb loose its water.

2.In the meantime, roll your pâte feuilletée thinly and divide in four 20 x 10 cm rectangals, and place them on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 210°C. 

3.Make small holes with a fork leaving a 1 cm. border. Cover with plastic film and place in fridge. In a bowl, mix together the almond meal with 4 tbsp brown sugar, vanilla seeds and ginger. 

4.Take the dough out of the fridge and top with the almond mixture, leaving the border intact. Arrange the rhubarb sticks on top and sprinkle with additional 1/2 tbsp brown sugar on each tartelette.Cook for about 20 minutes or more, depending on your oven. Take out of oven and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, if desired.

*I, ahem, forgot to peel them... Don't make the same mistake as me!

2 comment (s):

N said...

I had once a very bad experience with Rhubarb pie some years ago, i should maybe try to eat some, especially because if i look your Tartelettes they seems to be so delicious...
Thank you for the post

Madame Grenouille said...

Thanks! I really thought they were delicious :D

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