Friday, April 25, 2008
I love dessert soups. They are light, refreshing, simple and pure manifestations of the season’s best fruit. Preparation is always fairly minimal and the rewards are great.
While we’re in the midst of rhubarb season, I thought I’d present a wonderful recipe for Rhubarb Soup from Simply Sensational Desserts by François Payard. I absolutely love Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, but sometimes we are searching for lighter fare on a warm spring night and this is a nice alternative. Rhubarb soup has all of the same bright tart flavors without any other textures or fat content to mediate the purity of the fresh fruit.
This recipe is for rhubarb lovers and those who gravitate toward a nice level of tartness in their desserts. And the gorgeous color is a beautiful way to liven up your table. Take a drink of this incredible soup and you’ll discover a whole new way to enjoy rhubarb.
- Payard’s recipe calls for Grenadine, which is a very sweet syrup used as a mixer in cocktails. It’s made from a base of corn syrup and, wherever possible, I try to avoid that ingredient. The term Grenadine is derived from grenade, the French word for pomegranate. It’s quite easy to replicate and has a much cleaner and fresher taste. It should be fairly sweet to offset the tartness of the rhubarb, but taste it and adjust as you go along. If you want to make extra, it’s a good addition to lemonade.
- I added just a little splash of lemon to the soup at the end to brighten the flavors. I think it makes a big difference.
- Another nice garnish would be a small scoop of orange sorbet.
- Payard serves this at room temperature, but I prefer it chilled for a really refreshing dessert.
adapted from Simply Sensational Desserts by François Payard
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 stalk of lemongrass, chopped coarsely
4 C water
2/3 C sugar
1/3 C Grenadine or pomegranate syrup (see below)
1 lb rhubarb (about 7 stalks), washed, trimmed and sliced
lemon juice, to taste
Make a flavor sachet by placing the citrus zests and chopped lemongrass on a piece of cheesecloth. Tie together with string.
Bring the water and sugar to a simmer and add the rhubarb. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from heat and add the flavor sachet and pomegranate syrup. Cover and let steep for 2 hours.
Remove flavor sachet and whisk the soup to break up some of the rhubarb. Add a splash of lemon juice, to taste.
Prepare the fruit garnishes by slicing the strawberries and mango into matchsticks.
To serve, place a heaping tablespoon of sliced strawberries in serving bowls. Ladle the soup into the bowls and garnish with a bit of mango.
1 C pomegranate juice
1/2 C sugar, to taste
lemon juice, to taste
Bring 1 C of pomegranate juice to a simmer and reduce by 1/2. Add 1/2 C sugar and simmer until dissolved. Taste to adjust sweetness. It should be fairly sweet to offset the rhubarb, but not super sugary. Take off the heat and add just a splash of lemon juice. Set aside to cool.