I just can’t get enough of rhubarb….which is a good thing, as my rhubarb patch is in full production. My three plants each produce about 20 stalks at a time.
Here in an old and a new version of a favourite recipe from a recent New York Times.
1989: Rhubarb-Strawberry Mousse
1 1/4 pounds rhubarb, finely diced
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons kirsch
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream.
1. Combine the rhubarb, strawberries and sugar in a heavy 2-quart saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft.
2. Pour 2/3 of the mixture into a blender with the kirsch; purée and set aside.
3. Pour 4 tablespoons cold water into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Allow to soften for 10 minutes. Heat gently until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Stir into the rhubarb purée.
4. Combine the purée with the remaining cooked rhubarb mixture.
5. Whip the heavy cream until stiff and fold into the rhubarb mixture. Chill for several hours. Serves 8 to 10.
2010: Honey-and-Ricotta Mousse With Strawberry-Rhubarb Broth
1 pound strawberries (small and sweet), washed, trimmed and sliced
6 ounces rhubarb, washed, trimmed and sliced
3 ounces lavender honey
½ tablespoon red-wine vinegar (can also substitute lemon juice).
1. Place all of the ingredients in a small stainless-steel bowl that will fit appropriately over a double boiler. Add enough cold water to just cover the fruit (approximately 1½ cups), then cover the bowl with two tight layers of plastic wrap. Place the bowl over the double boiler and cook over low heat for at least 1 hour, making sure that the plastic wrap does not break. If it does, remove and replace it. (Alternatively, steep the ingredients directly in a nonreactive pot, covered, over very low heat.)
2. Once the broth has a nice ruby color and the fruit has sufficiently infused the liquid, gently strain through a fine sieve. Discard the remaining fruit. Sweeten with additional honey if you wish. Chill.
For the honey-ricotta mousse:
8 ounces whole-milk ricotta
1½ ounces lavender honey (or any honey you like) Grated zest from ½ lemon
1½ teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream.
1. Place the ricotta, honey and zest in a food processor and blend until creamy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and chill.
2. Pour 2 tablespoons cold water into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Allow to soften for 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup of the cream and warm over medium-low heat to dissolve. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, but do not chill.
3. Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks and fold it into the gelatin mixture. Fold the whipped-cream mixture into the ricotta mixture in thirds until fully incorporated. Chill for 2 to 3 hours.
For the garnish:
1½ cups thinly sliced rhubarb
½ cup sugar
1½ cups sliced strawberries
A few basil leaves
Shortbread cookies (like Walkers), crumbled.
1. Toss the sliced rhubarb with the sugar and allow to rest for 20 minutes. (If the sugar isn’t fully dissolved, stir and let sit another 10 minutes.) Add the strawberries and toss. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and toss with the fruit.
2. To serve, you can use a bowl or a cup. Use a spoonful of the fruit mixture as the base and spoon or pipe the mousse on top. Add a few ounces of the strawberry-rhubarb broth and sprinkle a few pinches of crumbled cookies over the mousse.