Rhubarb Tarts : Creme Patisserie : Vanilla : more quick puff pastry adventures!

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After looking for salted cod for an entire day…in regards to baconbiscuit212‘s suggestion to use it in my fish croquette’s recipe from last week,  I had to give up momentarily, I couldn’t find any, only frozen cod. I will have to continue my search next weekend which will probably land me in some cool yet to be discovered market.  Although I didn’t find what I was looking for, I came across rhubarb. Rhubarb is one of those ingredients I had never tried before, what it this mysterious rhubarb I wondered. Have I been missing out!, this extremely tart “fruit” combined with a fair amount of sugar delivers a punch of goodness I’m still trying to recover from.  Since my last quick puff pastry adventure, which by the way, didn’t go incredibly well, I had been wanting a second change at getting this dough right. I have to say, this time it worked much much better. For this simple rhubarb tarts recipe, I made a basic vanilla cream patisserie and finished them with a sugar glaze. I have also been invited by Genie from bunnyeatsdesign.com to participate and link my post in the “Our growing edge” monthly event. Thank you Genie! Ok, here we go, back to the Rhubarb tarts!:

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Ingredients:

Rhubarb Compote:

6-8 Rhubarb Stalks, firm and colorful!
2/3 cups of sugar or 200g
pinch of salt

Creme Patisserie:

200 ml whole milk
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
20g AP flour
25g granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Sugar Glaze:

1/2 cup confectioner’s  sugar
1 Tbsp whole milk

Quick Puff Pastry:

100g AP flour
100g really cold butter
2-3 Tbsp chilled water
pinch of salt
25g granulated sugar

Egg Wash:

1 egg
1/2 Tsp whole milk
1/2 Tsp granulated sugar

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Cut the rhubarb stalks into 2-3  inch sections. I used the most colorful parts of the stalks. I really wanted to preserve that intense color that makes a rhubarb stalk so beautiful. Then combine sugar and fruit in a saucepan and set over medium heat. The sugar will start to melt and the rhubarb will start to break down quickly. After a few minutes, the sugar is bubbling nicely and the rhubarb is extremely soft. I cooked the mix for about 8 minutes, making sure some of the water in the rhubarb had evaporated and the flavors where intensified and nicely caramelized.

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For the creme patisserie, add the milk and the vanilla bean (split lengthwise) to a sauce pan and heat over medium low heat. While the milk heats up, combine yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until the mixture is creamy. You can check by lifting the whisk, the yolks should drizzle down into the bowl forming ribbon marks. Then sift in the flour and mix until achieving a smooth paste. Don’t let sit too long, so have the milk ready. With the vanilla milk just below boiling point, remove from heat, and slowly drizzle it into the yolk paste whisking constantly. You can add a little, stop, mix it well, tempering the yolks this way, reducing the risk of curdling. Keep adding the vanilla milk slowly and whisking until fully incorporated. Remove the vanilla bean (you can wash it and store it in your sugar jar to infuse your sugar with vanilla flavor if you like) Add the mixture into the saucepan (use the same sauce pan you used to heat up the milk) and boil while constantly stirring. It will thicken up, cook for another 2-3 minutes to ensure the flour is nicely cooked, stir constantly to prevent lumps and the bottom from burning. Remove from heat. Transfer to a container and chill in the fridge.

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If you want to check out my recipe on quick puff pastry, this would be a great time! It is a time consuming procedure but well worth the effort. It takes roughy a couple of hours (longer in hot summer days because chilling times are longer) including fridge time to get a nice quick puff pastry ready for baking so plan accordingly.  Roll out your puff pastry on a nice flat work area, the pastry should be about 1.5mm thick. Marble countertops would be ideal for rolling out this dough. I worked on a wooden surface that I really like. Using ring cutters or an empty can (I open all my cans with this wonderful can opener that gives me a perfect edge to use as a ring cutter and has lasted me an eternity), cut about 6-8 disks 3  inches in diameter. Return to the fridge if they are getting sticky and soft. I use the freezer sometimes. Transfer the disks onto a baking tray over parchment paper.  Using a smaller ring, 1.5inch in diameter, press down on the disks but don’t cut through them. We just want to define the are we’re gonna carve out to make room for the filling later. Make the egg wash by combining the ingredients in a mixing bowl, whisking until everything is incorporated. With a pastry brush, paint the top side of the pastry disks.

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Bake the disks for about 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 450F. This by the way is extremely important. Most ovens have a preheating cycle that is probably too short. Allow the oven an extra 30 minutes after the preheating cycle is over. I have fitted the bottom of my oven with 8 small red bricks. This allows my oven to stay hot more evenly after opening and closing the oven doors. Great for baking breads. Once the disks have puffed and are nice and golden remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes or until you can comfortably handle them. Using a sharp parking knife or X-acto knife, remove the inner ring tops leaving the bottoms intact.

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Using 2 small plastic ziplock bags as pastry bags, one for the rhubarb compote and one for the pastry cream, fill them respectively (if you have nice pastry bags, then use them) Cut the corner of, make sure the opening isn’t too big. I make an opening of about 1mm-2mm in diameter. Do this for both bags. Pipe the cream first (or at least I did) but don’t fill the tart. Allow  room for the rhubarb compote, which is piped right above the cream, and then top with a small dollop of more pastry cream.  Finish them with the sugar glaze. Which is really simple to make. Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth and creamy, almost thick. Then transfer to a squeeze bottle and drizzle over the rhubarb pastries. You can also do the ziplock baggie pastry bag if you don’t have a squeeze bottle, make sure the opening is really small, about 1mm.

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And that’s really it! It is a time consuming process making pastries at home, no doubt. I would recommend making it a weekend project and not rushing though the process. You can make the puff pastry on a saturday, store it in the fridge over night and finish the pastries sunday. There’re few steps most of the simple and quick, like the pastry cream, it takes about 15 mins, the baking time is also quick, about 20 minutes and the filling process isn’t that long either. Hopefully this post will get you pumped and excited about baking projects at home!  Anyways, hope this was enjoyable. I certainly had a great time making these and learned a few more skills! Until the next one!