Saturday, March 14, 2009
Martha's Rhubarb Tart with Lemon-Yogurt Mousse
Happy National Pi Day!! Yep, it's official, today, March 14 is National Pi Day, in honor of the lowly number, pi (you know, 3.14 etc., etc.... get it? 3/14 is March 14?). For those of you that might have replaced this little tidbit of information with something more useful, pi is used when calculating the area of a circle.
But since calculating areas of circles is booooor-ing, let's talk about something more fun... like P.I.E., pie!
It was love at first sight when I saw the Rhubarb Tart with Lemon-Yogurt Mousse in last month's Martha Stewart Living magazine. And when I saw that the recipe called for peppercorns along with salt and cinnamon, well, I figured it more than qualified for this month's "You Want Pies with That?" theme. For this month we were to emphasize herbs and spices in our choice of pie. (Thanks to Elizabeth of Cake or Death for chosing the theme.)
As for the tart, I'll spare you all the gory details, but let's just say the rhubarb component bombed... twice. The recipe calls for cooking a sugar water solution to a light amber color and *twice* I ended up with a pan full of nasty sugar crystals.
You know the old saying "fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice, shame on me". I was not about to try this recipe (and waste another 2 cups of sugar) a third time. On to plan "B".
I ended up winging the rhubarb part, pulling ideas from various recipes. Happily, it turned out delicious and I was able to use the same spice blend.
The cornmeal crust was good and went together without incident. Also, the lemon yogurt mousse... no problems there.
Well, except when I tasted my little sampler tart (I had a little extra of each part and so made a little mini tart in a ramekin), I thought the yogurt mousse overwhelmed the rhubarb topping. And since I absolutely adore rhubarb, I removed about half of the mousse from the crust.
Mmmm, my favorite part. The rhubarb...
Smooth it out, and all that's left is the tasting.
Aaaaand, I'm here to report that it was divine. The yogurt mouse was mellow and creamy, perfect for the just slightly chunky, tart-sweet rhubarb. I really enjoyed the cornmeal crust too, it was almost cookie like and just a little sandy textured. I'm glad I halved the mousse, it was just the right amount, in my opinion.
You can find the original recipe ----> here. If you try it and you get the rhubarb part to work, please let me know how it was. It sounds wonderful and I'm sad it didn't work for me. For my rhubarb topping, see the recipe below.
No-Bake Rhubarb Pie Filling
1-1/2 pounds frozen rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, thawed, drained and liquid reserved
1 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 stick cinnamon
2 shakes of pepper from your pepper shaker
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg or 5-6 passes of whole nutmeg over grater
1 tsp. brandy
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbsp. cornstarch, depending on how thickened you like your filling. I used 4.
Measure out liquid reserved from thawed rhubarb. If needed, add enough water to measuring cup to make 1/2 cup liquid total. If you have more than 1/2 C. rhubarb liquid, you may want to use additional cornstarch.
Place well thawed rhubarb in bowl and sprinkle sugar over. Let sit for 10 minutes. Sprinkle ground cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and cornstarch over rhubarb and toss gently to mix. Add mixture to a large sauce pot. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
Heat on medium-high heat until bubbling, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is fork tender and mixture is thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let mixture cool. If you like your topping more chunky, try not to stir after this point.
Remove cinnamon stick and discard.
Place filling in a container and chill until cold. (Overnight is best.) Gently spoon filling on lemon yogurt mousse that has been chilling at least 4 hours, or better yet, overnight. Chill until serving time.
OK, take care folks and happy baking!