“New school, new baby pool!” Or rather, new city, new so many tons of things to be doing all of the time, including my brand new intense job, that this will be a quick blog post. When I posted last, I was courting a production baking job in Portland, Maine, and lazing away the start of summer with my folks in their dreamy log cabin up north. All of the sudden, I found myself instead with the pastry opportunity of a lifetime in Baltimore, and I’m here now (!!), working away as a pastry assistant at Woodberry Kitchen. Check ‘er out, dudes. It’s an amazing restaurant, business model, idea, influence, etc., that supports farms all over the Chesapeake Watershed by putting their produce to exclusive, consistent use. Farm-to-table in the sense of it being for the benefit of farmers, more than for the delight of eaters, but delight we do, and it sure is a ton of work.
On one of my precious days off last week, I hopped down to DC to retrieve all of my things, and whipped up this rhubarb dessert in compensation for my trespassing unannounced in the house of my sister and buddies. It’s an April Bloomfield recipe that I’ve had my eye on for awhile, and in the spate of 90-degree heat, it seemed a lot more appealing than a rhubarb Bundt cake, both to make and to eat. It ended up being finished just in time for a sparkling wine–fueled round of porch Carcassonne and visits from the dearest friends, and I’m so thankful to be back home. So please come visit in Baltimore, and eat at Woodberry Kitchen! I’ll be the gal in the back covered in flour and rhubarb splatters.
Honey Rhubarb Fool with Cardamom Chèvre Cream and Pistachios
Here, I used honey in place of sugar, omitted rosewater, reduced the cardamom, and used goat cheese instead of creme fraiche in the cream. The original recipe calls for the addition of one to two teaspoons rosewater to the rhubarb. I think that sounds good, but I wanted to round it out with honey for a nice base to the chèvre instead. If rosewater is your thing, add it to the rhubarb once it’s finished cooling, a 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until you reach a flavor strength that you’re down with. And to see the original recipe, check out Bloomfield’s book, or pop on over to L + D or the LA Times.
1 1/4 pounds of rhubarb, topped and tailed, then sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons mild honey
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1. Toss the rhubarb and sugar in a medium pot. Add the white wine. Use a knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the pot, and toss the pod into the pot too. Place the pot over medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is very tender but still more or less intact, about 10 minutes—keep a careful eye on it as a totally stringy pulp is not what you’re going for here. Set aside to cool.
Cardamom Chèvre Cream
5 green cardamom pods
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
4 ounces mild, fresh chèvre
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Handful of roasted, salted pistachios, for garnish
1. Smash the cardamom pods, discard the husks and pound the seeds in a mortar and pestle or grind in a spice grinder until finely ground. If using a mortar and pestle, grind the sugar into the spices toward the end.
2. Combine the goat cheese, heavy cream, cardamom, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Chill until ready to assemble. When ready to assemble, whisk the mixture to soft peaks—about two minutes.
3. To assemble: Use four 8-ounce glasses, or a large glass bowl (so as to see the layers, counsels Tim Mazurek!). Layer the rhubarb and whipped cream and top with chopped roasted and salted pistachios. Cover the fools and let them chill in the fridge for an hour or so before serving. They will keep for longer, but really are best served about an hour into chilling.