Rhubarb Apple Pie

20180525_184415The arrival of spring is a time much welcomed by those hit with the winter blues. It’s a time when warmer days allow you to pack away the jackets and begin purchasing a new bounty of fresh produce. Strawberries are probably the most popular spring pick, which is why I’m here to tell you about rhubarb.

20180525_184941Beginning in April and continuing through the summer, rhubarb is at its peak. It looks a lot like a stalk of celery, and even has the same stringy texture, but one bite of this plant and you will never forget how tart it is. To this day I still remember my first bite of raw rhubarb, and my decision to hate it for a long while after. I was very young, probably around 5 years old, when my dad picked a stalk from the plant in our backyard and offered I try it. I remember him stressing for me not to ever eat the leaves as they are poisonous, but his words would not be necessary. Merely taking one bite of that freshly picked stalk would keep me from wanting to go near the plant. Later that summer, however, I did ultimately give rhubarb a second chance, but in the form of a pie.

20180525_184822As tart as rhubarb is fresh, once it’s cooked the flavor gets drastically toned back to a delightful balance of sweet and tart. Once I realized this, I was in love, and every year thereafter I would look forward to the time the rhubarb would make its seasonal debut. My dad usually let rhubarb stand alone as the star of the pie, but I prefer it to share the title with other fruits. Two of the most popular pairings for rhubarb are strawberries and apples. Since strawberries are in season at the same time as rhubarb and their sweet flavor profile helps balance rhubarb’s tartness, it’s only natural they would be a favorite combination option. For me, however, there is just something delicious about the combination of cinnamon, sugar, fresh sliced rhubarb, and equally tart, sliced Granny Smith apples. But no matter which fresh fruit combination you choose, I guarantee you’ll have the makings of a perfect pie.

*NOTE: If you elect to give this pie a try, you can expect to spend about 30 minutes of time preparing it. From start to finish the pie should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and will yield 12 servings. If you have trouble finding fresh rhubarb or would like to make the pie when it’s not in season, you can substitute frozen rhubarb for the fresh. If you do opt for frozen rhubarb instead of fresh, be sure to thoroughly thaw and drain it before using as directed in the recipe, otherwise you will end up with a loose filling and soggy crust. If you’re considering serving this pie to guests, I recommend pairing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Rhubarb Apple Pie

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated or frozen 9 inch Pie Shell
  • 3 ½ cups (about 1 ¼ pounds) Sliced Rhubarb
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples; peeled, cored, & sliced
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/8 tsp. Salt; divided
  • ½ cup White Whole-Wheat Flour; plus 3 tbsp.
  • ½ cup Old-Fashioned Oats
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 6 tbsp. Cold Unsalted Butter; cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place pie shell on a baking sheet & set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, ¼ tsp. salt, and 3 tbsp. flour. Toss to combine. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, place the remaining flour (½ cup), remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, oats, and brown sugar. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the rhubarb filling.
  4. Bake pie for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° (do not remove pie) and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. If crust begins to get too brown, shield it with foil. Once baked, place pie on a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing & serving. Enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JULIANNA GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018

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Dessert Plating: Creme Brulee

Happy Friday everyone. I don’t know about you but I am ever so glad to see this week come to a close. It was a rough one let me tell you. This past week at Le Cordon Bleu the plating was focused on custards. We could choose any custard we wanted. Examples include Panna Cotta, Creme Caramel/Flan, Bread Pudding, or the famous Creme Brulee. I opted for the Creme Brulee as it has never been my friend when making it in the past and I seeked out to perfect it before graduating in four weeks. So without further ado let us start breaking down this plate…shall we 🙂

 As instructed by my chef, I made sure not to use any traditional flavors of Creme Brulee…or even textures. I started out my adventure by toasting some Almonds in some butter with Ginger. Once toasted, I added Honey and quickly worked to place the Almonds in the bottom of my gratin dish. Once cooled, the Almonds melded into a crisp candied bottom layer.

For the traditional Creme Brulee custard filling, I began by heating my dairy with a bit of Saffron. The Saffron was my supporting actor to the main star of the custard…the sweet Blood Oranges. To compliment the Blood Oranges I added a dash of Honey, which draws hints back to that bottom layer of Honey encrusted Almonds I mentioned earlier. This all leads to the final component which is, of course, the notorious crunchy top layer. No matter how amazing the creamy citrus custard was underneath, I received most satisfaction from torching the sugar.  Nothing is better than playing with fire in the morning to ease your culinary frustrations. Regardless of my bad relationship with Creme Brulee in the past this one turned out quite delightful. I finally think Creme Brulee and I can maintain a lifelong friendship. The finished custard is certainly a perfect representation of how to use Central Florida and it’s Citrus!

To add height to the sweet and crispy custard, I created a heart-shaped Tuille flavored with Myer Lemon juice and Poppyseeds. The Tuille’s heart shape was created by drawing a heart on a hard piece of cardboard or thick paper and creating a stencil. I then made a small batch of Tuille batter (a little goes a long way…tuilles are very thin and require very little batter to fill the stencil). I laid the stencil down on a parchment lined baking sheet and using my offset spatula, spread an extremely thin layer of Tuille batter (also known as Stencil Paste). My Tuille Heart is then held upright on the Creme Brulee by two pieces of Spun Caramel, which I fused together to created a pedestal base.

 To minimize waste and utilize my hard work of battling boiling hot sugar (290° to be exact), I incorporated the Spun Sugar into a decorative adornment for the plate. I started by ladling a small amount of Strawberry Rhubarb Rum Coulis into a circle. I arranged four blackberries on top, two on each side to hold the Spun Sugar piece. To draw the eye to the decorative adornment, I placed three dots of Chocolate Sauce flavored with Tangelo and Orange Blossom leading toward the decor and also framing the front of the gratin dish of Creme Brulee.

Even with all the stress of the day I am pleased with the outcome. I am so ready for the weekend. I must plan for next week’s plated dessert following dietary guidelines. Since I am lactose intolerant I will most likely utilize that special dietary concern but am unsure what to choose as the other. Much research is in store along with costing sheets and possible baking sunday at home. If I am not able to bake sunday then I will see you all back here next friday for another installment in Dessert Plating.

 

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011

Dessert Plating: Non-Traditional Napoleons

Happy Monday everyone! This past week has been very busy for me. I just began my final class at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Orlando. This class is Dessert Plating and it is a very demanding course to say the least. Not only is it crucial to understand all of the elements which are important to plating a high end dessert but also we have to create our own flavors and they must be creative and a bit risky. It has been difficult because in all of the previous courses students are held on a tight leash when it comes to what we would make in class. We had to follow the recipe in our textbooks or whatever Chef declared we must follow and we couldn’t deviate much from that in the ways of presentation or flavor options. With this class they basically throw you to the wolves and chef gets to sit back and watch with a grin.

 In week one of Dessert Plating, our simple instruction was to create a a few dessert sauces with our own flavor choices which would compliment our finished plates of non-traditional Napoleons due on friday. The first order of operations was to choose my two flavor stars for each plate. My first star I chose was Pumpkin. The second was Peach. Let’s start with my first plating: The Pumpkin Praline Napoleon. For the first Napoleon, I was instructed to use sheets of Phyllo dough and enhance them in any way I chose. To do this I first melted some butter and added a praline flavor compound by Amoretti to enhance the butter with flavor. I delicately soaked my first layer of phyllo with the enhanced butter and spread a Praline mixture I created over the buttered phyllo sheet. My Praline mixture consisted of pecans, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. I continued the layering process until I had about five sheets of Praline enhanced phyllo melded together. Before baking, I cut the phyllo layers with a metal fluted cutter to create the non-traditional circle shape. Once strategically placed on the baking sheet, it was to the oven for the phyllo. About 7 minutes later, caramel crisp goodness emerged and wafted in my direction.

Once the phyllo layers were completed it was time to focus on filling options. I chose to flavor a basic pastry cream with Pumpkin and its complimentary warm spices of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. To assemble the napoleon, I placed one layer of praline enhanced phyllo on the plate and used a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a round of pumpkin spice pastry cream in the center of the phyllo circle. To prevent any leaking pastry cream while waiting to present my plate, I lined the outer edges of the enhanced phyllo with fresh cut raspberries. This created a dam for any running pastry cream and also added complimentary flavor and texture. I repeated the process once more before placing my final round of praline enhanced phyllo on top.

With the napoleon constructed it was on to decorative sauce creation and adornments for the presentation. To compliment the raspberries I added to the napoleon, I created a Strawberry Rhubarb Rum Coulis. I placed four rounds on the plate all leading the eye toward the napolean. To add contrast to the red colored coulis and compliment the pumpkin spice pastry cream filling, I created a Maple Nut Creme Anglaise. I placed four rounds between the Coulis and drew a bamboo skewer through both sauces to add a finishing look to the plate. For the final adornment, I simply utilized leftover praline to prevent further waste. I shaped the praline mixture into a mound and topped it with a fresh blackberry. This added height, color contrast and it complimented flavors within the dish, which is of course important.

 Now that the first plate was complete it was on to number two: The Spiced Peach Napoleon. For this napoleon I had to utilize puff pastry and again enhance it. I laid out a sheet of puff pastry and cut it into rounds again using my fluted metal cutter. When melting the butter I enhanced it with a dash of cayenne pepper to add heat which would later compliment the sweetness and other spices. Once the butter was melted I brushed it over the sheet of puff pastry in order for my enhancement to stick…that being Toasted Cayenne Coconut. Once the puff pastry had fully baked and cooled, I proceeded to use a bench knife to cut each circle in half. This created another non-traditional shape, that being a half moon. To fill the puff pastry layers I opted for a Peach Mousse. To assemble the napolean I placed one puff pastry moon on the plate and again used a disposable pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a small amount of peach mousse onto the pastry. I then topped the mousse with a spiced poach peach, which I will describe in a moment. I repeated the process once more but alternated the direction of the half moon. After placing the final layer of puff pastry, again alternating the direction for an even more noticable non-traditional shape, I piped a rosette of peach mousse and topped it with some of my remaining Toasted Cayenne Coconut.

As for the decorative elements to this plate, I made sure to incorporate sauce and fresh fruit for added textures, tastes, and colors. As mentioned previously, I created Spicy Poached Peaches not only for the napoleon but also decor. I poached the peaches in red wine with whole allspice, black peppercorns, and a cinnamon stick until tender. For plating I aligned three peaches to create an abstract basket to hold the fresh blackberries. This created additional color, shape and complimentary flavors for the rest of the plate. This all leads to the final element on the plate, the sauce. The sauce I chose to create was chocolate. This added a distinct color which popped off the white plate and also added contrast to the other colors. To make the chocolate flavor meld with the rest of the plate, I enhanced it with Tangelo and Orange Blossom extracts made by Amoretti. These are wonderful jewels to have in any pastry kitchen as they give great options for creating epic flavor profiles in any dish, whether culinary or pastisserie. I placed the chocolate sauce in three simple dots on each side to draw the eye back and forth between the bushel of peach and berries to the napoleon.

 After this first week of non-traditional Napoleons, I realize what is ahead of me for the weeks to come. This week I will be creating custards with my own flavor profiles. My options are Panna Cotta, Creme Caramel, Creme Brulee, and Bread Pudding which I will contruct my own of each. I will also be required to create decorative adornments such as flavored pate a choux filigree and Florentine or Tuille cookies. It shall be interesting. I will be sure to post the finished products. Until then….have a good rest of your week. Enjoy the fall weather as I am from Florida 🙂

 

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011