While I had never had rhubarb, I had always adored the color of this vibrant colored vegetable. I began an investigation of all those people I knew that had eaten this celeriac-like ingredient to hear what they had to say about their likes/dislikes. For those that I spoke with that were rhubarb regulars, they agreed that this vegetable turned dessert can be VERY tart. I decided that this would have to be a recipe with some other elements. If you are looking for a Spring treat, and dare take on a bit of culinary adventure, let the baking commence.
If you still need convincing, take a peak at the photos and see if you feel tempted!
The fine print: Be forewarned, this recipe involves numerous steps and should be made at least one-two days in advance due to the refrigeration required for the crust, mousse and rhubarb elements. Please note that there are three sets of ingredients listed below along with three sets of directions. None of the steps are very difficult but every layer will have its moment in the refrigerator.
10-inch spring form pan
Cornmeal Lemon Crust
1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for parchment
3/4 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large egg yokes
3 TBS water
In a food processor mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, lemon zest and salt until well combined. Add butter and mix in food processor until well combined, approx 20-30 seconds. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
In a small-size bowl, beat yolks and water. With machine running, pour yolk mixture into flour mixture for approximately 20 seconds until just combined.
Shape dough into disk then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hr. (This dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days.)
On lightly floured parchment paper, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. (If you have refrigerated dough longer overnight you may need to let it sit out for 20 minutes with the plastic removed to allow it to roll out easier). Place into a 10-inch spring form pan, making sure that the dough goes to the top of the pan. Refrigerate until dough is cold and firm, approximately 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line dough with parchment paper and fill with either pie weights or dried beans. Bake approximately 25 minutes or until edges start to turn brown. Carefully remove weights and parchment. reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Let crust cool in pan on a wire rack.
Lemon Yogurt Mousse
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 TBS cold water
3/4 cup plus 1 TBS heavy cream
3 TBS light-brown sugar
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 TBS lemon zest, finely grated
pinch of coarse salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
In a small-size bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand until softened, approximately 5 minutes.
In a small-size pan, over medium-high heat, combine 1 TBS cream and the brown sugar stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm. Stir in gelatin mixture and remove from heat.
In a medium-size bowl, combine yogurt, lemon zest, and salt. Add brown-sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
In another medium-size bowl, whisk remaining 3/4 cup cream and vanilla until medium-peaks form. Gently fold cream into yogurt mixture.
Pour lemon-yogurt mousse into crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup brandy
1 cinnamon stick
8 whole black peppercorns
pinch of salt
1 1/2 lbs rhubarb (approx 2 large stalks), halved lengthwise and cut in to 1/2-inch pieces
1 TBS lemon juice, fresh squeezed
In a medium-size pot on medium-heat, bring sugar and water to a boil stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook without stirring until mixture becomes a light amber color, approximately 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add 3/4-cup brandy, the cinnamon stick , peppercorns, vanilla and salt. Return mixture to a boil for 2-3 minutes and ten stir in rhubarb.
Remove pan from heat, cover and let stand for 5-8 minutes. Stir in lemon juices and remaining 1/4 cup brandy. Cover and let stand for 20 more minutes. Then refrigerate until cold, approximately 4 hours.
Strain rhubarb and reserve liquid. Discard cinnamon and peppercorns. In a medium-size pot, boil reserved liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Let cool.
Spoon strained rhubarb over the mouse. Serve immediately with rhubarb reduction on the side.