Rhubarb is another terrific Spring ingredient, I simply love its juicy and powerful tartness but am even more captivated by the way it sweetens and softens with a little bit of cooking and coaxing. This dessert was a spontaneous creation, borrowing pieces from a wonderful dessert I had recently in a small NY restaurant, a little from my Mom's strawberry-rhubarb pie filling, a little from the affinity of these fruits for cheese and the gritty and sweet-tart taste of quince. The granité recipe I found in Chef Daniel Boulud's "Cooking in New York City" cookbook and the combination worked beautifully.
Here is my "Rhubarb and Quince Compote with Strawberries and Spiced-Apple Granité".
There is a little surprise of fresh goat cheese under the quince-rhubarb compote and the hot fruit melted it and mixed in a gloriously rich and creamy way. The dollop of white you see on the side is mascarpone cheese, which worked as a great balancer of the other sweet and tart flavors. This is a simple yet very satisfying and different dessert. Our Scrumptious guests really loved how this one turned out!
2 fresh quince, peeled, cored and diced
6 c. water
1 1/2 c. sugar plus 1 T.
1 star anise
1 cinammon stick
1/2 vanilla bean, sliced and scraped
Juice 1 1/2 lemon
5 T. unsalted butter
8 young fresh rhubarb stalks, diced
16 fresh strawberries, halved
1 oz. fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 pieces (I used Boucherondin)
1. Wash, peel and slice fruits. Prepare the spiced-apple granité, recipe below.
2. In a medium pot combine water sugar, star anise, cinammon, vanilla bean seeds and pod, juice of 1 lemon and bring to a gentle boil. Add the quince and simmer about 40 minutes, until tender. Stir in the rhubarb and simmer another 10 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain, reserving 2/3 c. poaching liquid. Discard the spices.
3. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the quince and cook until it is a light brown. Add the poaching liquid and reduce to a thick compote. Place the goat cheese in a dessert dish and spoon the warm compote on top. Add the strawberries, one more T. of sugar and 1/2 lemon juice and toss over medium heat for about 20 seconds. Remove and spoon around the compote. Top with scoops or quenelles of the granité and serve immediately. Add mint sprig and mascarpone cheese as garnish.
Spiced-Apple Granité by Daniel Boulud
4 c. fresh apple cider
1/2 c. sugar
1 3-inch cinammon stick
3 whole cloves
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1. In a large saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil. Using a fine-mesh sieve or strainer, strain the liquid into a loaf pan and place in freezer. Stir occasionally with a fork until liquid is frozen and granular.