Friday, May 1, 2009
Strawberry Rhubarb Napoleon
At long last, strawberries have arrived and along with them, their trusty partner, rhubarb. I love tart desserts, so strawberries and rhubarb are among my favorite combinations. There are so many fabulous desserts to concoct with these two ingredients but this time around I’m going with a very simple and quick Napoleon.
I’ve used a shortcut Sour Cream Pastry instead of the traditional mille feuilles or puff pastry because I don’t want too much butter or fat on the palate in addition to the whipped cream. I want the fruit to shine. I roast the rhubarb with sugar and vanilla until tender. I then add fresh strawberries and sandwich them with whipped cream. An easy and delicious dessert that is definitely in the mode of the first sign of a beautiful spring.
- I roll the dough out on parchment paper so it can be lifted onto a baking sheet and placed in the refrigerator without stretching or tearing it. Once the dough is sufficiently chilled, it can be cut and lifted off the sheet very easily.
- This pastry dough should be eaten the same day it is baked.
Strawberry Rhubarb Napoleons
Sour Cream Pastry
2 C flour
2 T sugar
1/4 t salt
8 oz (1 C) of cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 C sour cream
1 egg + 1/2 t water for egg wash
Strawberry and Rhubarb Filling
1 lb fresh rhubarb
3/4 C sugar
2 t flour
1/2 vanilla bean
2 pints fresh strawberries
1 C heavy cream or crème fraîche
sugar to taste
powdered sugar for dusting
For the pastry, combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process until the butter is reduced to small pieces and the mixture resembles course cornmeal for the most part. Add sour cream and yolk and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Be careful not to overmix. Gather the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and seal it. Chill thoroughly.
Remove the dough and let it warm at room temperature for a couple of minutes. Divide the dough in half and place on a lightly floured piece of parchment. Roll each half out to a very thin 1/8”. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score the dough into 4 1/2” x 2 1/2 “ rectangles. Chill the dough thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, cut out the pastry rectangles, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Bake for about 13 minutes until golden brown. Cool.
Cut the rhubarb into 1” pieces. Toss with the sugar and flour.
Place in a shallow roasting dish or pan. Scrape the vanilla seeds onto the rhubarb and add the vanilla bean.
Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender, stirring once to distribute the juices. Cool.
Slice the strawberries and fold into the rhubarb. Taste and adjust for sugar.
Whip the cream to a soft peak with sugar to taste.
Dust the top of the pastry rectangles with powdered sugar.
Assemble the Napoleons using 3 pastry rectangles per serving. Layer with cream, fruit and pastry. Serve immediately.