Preclusion, rhubarb galette, and rhubarb haze

April 28th, 2010

Rhubarb galette

I want to tell you about my week, but right now it all seems a bit blurry, clouded by the intermittent rain we’ve been experiencing and the busyness that has precluded my memory. Do you ever have weeks like that?
Oh, yes. I am remembering a bit.

Saturday Brian and I went on a rare childless date trying a restaurant that specializes in local and seasonal fare. Later we found ourselves, rather unintentionally, spending the rest of our precious free time perusing Williams-Sonoma, with the sales associate bringing out all of their stock of a particular cutting board I kept eyeing, and lining them up on the sales counter for us to compare.

“Well, I have this food blog I started, and now I’m always checking out interesting cutting boards, imagining how they will look in photos.” I explained to the affably amused sales associate.

I also made this rhubarb galette, which as it turned out, was no minor occurrence.

Rhubarb stalksDiced rhubarb

I’ve been wanting to make something with rhubarb for over a month now, knowing it is in season and seeing it pop up here and there on other blogs, but the farmer’s market down the street is sans rhubarb, and the standard grocers I frequent were completely out two weeks in a row.

“What we had went bad because it wasn’t selling, and we haven’t gotten another shipment in,” I was told by a man in the produce section at my first store, with my second grocer echoing the same.

Lemon zest

I feel sad thinking about that, yet I think I understand it. I believe there are many fruits and vegetables that are commonly overlooked simply because people are not familiar with how to cook them or what the end result will taste like. It’s natural to cook with the familiar.

I can be included in this bunch at times. Yes, I’ve had strawberry rhubarb preserves, and I’ve seen and heard about rhubarb many times. But somehow, this was my first time cooking with rhubarb.

“I recognize you,” the produce manager at the second store I’ve been stalking said, “You were here last week looking for rhubarb. We finally got some on the last truck!”

I fumbled through the stack of fresh rhubarb picking out the best looking stalks, – yes, I am like that – bought three pounds, even though I only knew what I was going to do with two, and went to work.

Rhubarb with juices released

I adapted my rhubarb recipe from a cookbook by the editor’s of Cook’s Illustrated Brian gave me several years ago from which I had not yet tried a single recipe. Judging from my first bite of this galette, if the other recipes turn out anything like this galette turned out, I have been sorely missing out.

Cook’s Illustrated did their own adaptation of the recipe from an apparently well known Portland, Oregon restaurant by the name of Bluehour. When I am in Portland someday, as I am determined I will be, this recipe has certainly earned my patronage at their swanky little outfit.

FillingGalette dough sprinkled with sugar


You start out making the galette dough by combining flour, fine grain corn meal, a bit of confectioner’s sugar and a dash of sea salt with plenty of cold butter, two large egg yolks, and a nice pour of cold buttermilk.

Next you dice the rhubarb and sauté it with raw sugar, lemon zest, and the seeds and pod of one long slender fragrant vanilla bean, just until the rhubarb releases it’s cherry red juices. The sweet vanilla bean speckled juice is saved and simmered down to serve later alongside the galette.

The partially cooked rhubarb is then cooled and tossed  with just enough cornstarch for thickening, along with petite cubes of diced butter just for decadence sake.

The galette dough is sprinkled with raw sugar and the ruby filling is placed evenly in the center. The dough edges are then pleated in rose petal like fashion around the filling and whole milk is brushed on the exposed dough folds and finished with final sprinklings of raw sugar.


“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Brian said after taking his first bite, “But the ‘rubber’ pie is GOOOD! I guess we will have to grow our own ‘rubber’ in the garden next year.”

Apparently Brian thinks the word “rhubarb” sounds a bit like “rubber” so he has taken to calling it such, but please do not let this deter you – there is absolutely zero other resemblance between the two, I assure you.

The crust was buttery flaky, edgy from the buttermilk, yet softened by the sweetness of the confectioner’s sugar – and with just a little crunch from the corn meal – this was a crust to come back to.

And the rhubarb. The rhubarb! Sweet tart, rich from the vanilla and butter, accented by hints of lemon playing off the buttermilk tang in the crust. Not too sweet – just right.

You could serve all this artistry with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but we happily devoured it with vanilla Greek yogurt and splashes of the vanilla dotted magenta sauce.

Rhubarb galette

Now that rhubarb and I have been properly introduced in my own kitchen, I want to make rhubarb everything! Like this, and this, and this – and many others I am sure I am overlooking in my present state of rhubarb haze – thank goodness I bought extra.

Eating galetteEating galette

All done

Rhubarb galette
Adapted from here who adapted it from here

1/4 cup cold buttermilk
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour *
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup fine-grind corn meal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) very cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch dice

2 pounds rhubarb, washed, tops and bottoms trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 6 cups)
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) raw cane sugar *
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds removed, seeds and bean pod reserved
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch dice
4 tablespoons raw cane sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
vanilla Greek yogurt, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Make the crust by whisking buttermilk, egg yolks, and 1 tablespoon water in a medium bowl. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, in a food processor, or in a medium bowl using pastry knives or a fork, combine the flours, confectioners’ sugar and salt. Add the butter to the flour mixture and combine on a low speed just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with some pea size bits of butter remaining, about 1 minute. With the mixer or food processor running, or while stirring, add the buttermilk mixture slowly until dough comes together, about 20 seconds (do not overmix). Remove dough from mixing bowl and shape into an 8 inch disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate till firm, about 1 hour.

Make the filling by cooking the rhubarb, sugar, salt, lemon zest, vanilla seeds and pod in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until the rhubarb releases its juices, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer and spread rhubarb out on a rimmed baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Then stir in cornstarch and butter and set aside.

Simmer the juices left in the pan down to about 1/2 cup, 3-5 minutes, allow to cool, and reserve to serve as a syrup alongside the finished galette.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and adjust and oven rack to the middle position. Roll the galette dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 16 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper set on top of a rimless baking sheet. Sprinkle the dough with 2 tablespoons of sugar and then lay rhubarb filling in the middle of the dough, leaving a 3 inch rim uncovered by filling around the edge. Fold the edges of the dough up around the filling, overlapping and pleating at equal intervals. Brush the top of the crust with milk and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling. Cool for 30 minutes and then cut in 8 wedges and serve with cooled rhubarb syrup, vanilla Greek yogurt, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.

*may use all white flour or substitute standard whole wheat flour for the white whole wheat flour
*may use standard granulated sugar

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Posted in Dessert | 35 Comments »

35 Responses to “Preclusion, rhubarb galette, and rhubarb haze”

  1. grace says:

    stalking the rhubarb stalk, are you? :)
    what a gorgeous tart/galette/pastry delight/what-have-you–worth the wait, no doubt! the crust looks outstanding, and the rhubarb is just the perfect hue.

    • laura says:

      Thanks, grace! “stalking the rhubarb stalk”… this kind of wit must just come naturally to you (;

  2. Barbara says:

    Now you’re talking my game! Rhubarb. I love it, as you know from reading my blog now and then. I have about 4 more recipes to go… I love the idea of a galette and you got some lovely red rhubarb! Usually rhubarb this red comes from a hothouse. This is a lovely dish!

    • laura says:

      I have not been able to forget your rhubarb verrine, Barbara! I’m excited about all your rhubarb still to come…

  3. Mary says:

    The galette looks wonderful and your pictures are better than that. I love the recipe you’ve used and will give a try in the next couple of weeks. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  4. Catherine says:

    This is beautiful, Laura. I’m going to try it soon!

  5. Bridget says:

    Your photos are gorgeous…. I can not wait to try this soon.

  6. heather says:

    looks and sounds IN-credible! i’m craving rhubarb lately, but it’s so expensive here in south Texas.



    • laura says:

      Sorry to hear about the expense, heather – this might be worth it for a special occasion. This rhubarb was actually on sale for two something a pound (not too bad I don’t think?) – I guess my suburb in Virginia does not cook with a great deal of rhubarb.

  7. Liz says:

    That is so pretty!! I too have only had rhubarb when combined with strawberries, never on it’s own. I will have to give it a try. I love pies/galettes/anything that has a crust and can be filled with fruit.

    As for Cook’s Illustrated, I love them. My boyfriend’s dad got me into them and now I know I can pretty much expect one of their cookbooks for Christmas. Their recipes always work out well and use ingredients that are easy to source, which I appreciate since I live in an area where there are only standard grocery stores. Their magazine is also fun to read (a little pricey) because each recipe comes with an article describing their testing process and why they did chose particular ingredients and techniques. I actually pay more Attention to the America’s Test Kitchen end of things than Cook’s Illustrated, they’re very similar. Test Kitchen is also a fun PBS show to watch when you can catch it (I think Sunday’s at 1pm EST).

    • laura says:

      Thanks Liz! I love America’s Test Kitchen as well. Brian saw them on PBS a few years ago and ordered me several books and we continue to steadily add to our collection (I must have 5 or 6 books by now and several DVDs). The recipes are usually quite reliable and I love all the info they give as well.

  8. Tracy says:

    The first photo is just stunning. I wish I had seen this recipe before making rhubarb and strawberry compote…

  9. Luisa says:

    You mentioned corn meal in the dough but I don’t see it in the recipe ingredient list.

  10. Oh Laura, this looks awesome! We make strawberry-rhubarb tarts every year, but I’ve never tried rhubarb on its own. Is that weird? I trust your judgement–will give it a whirl soon! Maybe for our anniversary!

    • laura says:

      Thanks, Sommer! No, that’s not weird – this was my first time cooking rhubarb anything – you’re ahead of me! This is a good recipe – we really did enjoy it.

  11. Marisa says:

    I love the colour on that tart!

  12. siri says:

    YUM. I’d never thought about using rhubarb in a galette, but it’s such a good idea. I’m thrilled that rhubarb season is here. Great photos and nice writing too!

    • laura says:

      Thanks siri! This was my first time cooking with rhubarb – luckily the galette left a good impression! Thanks for taking the time to leave a note.

  13. Gosh, this rhubarb galette looks so good. I have never cooked rhubarb. Don’t tell Barbara! Your photos are stunning!! I did order the pizza stone from King Arthur and the peeler. Thanks for your help!

    • laura says:

      Thanks – this was my first rhubarb cooking and now I am a convert! I hope you like the pizza stone and peel – we do!

  14. Joy says:

    AH Laura c’est magnifique! (okay I totally don’t speak french I just wanted to sound cool there…) You know I have never cooked with rhubarb … I’ve always been curious. I’ve had rhubarb pie and loved it but like you said, it is easy to stick to what you know. BUT you’ve inspired me to come out of my comfort zone, so I will now be in search of rhubarb so I can try your beautiful tart. The colors are dazzling!

    A very beautiful tart indeed :)

  15. lbrookscooks says:

    Gorgeous photos, as always! I drag my husband to places like WS and usually end up spending way too much time in there too. I’ve noticed they never seem to complain when things like this are the result!

    • laura says:

      Thank you! Brian actually enjoys WS (likes to look at the electronic machines and kitchen gadgets), but I know he enjoys the fruits of our purchases even more!

  16. Malia says:

    I just made this – nummy! I made 4 smaller gallettes, rather than one large one. Gorgeous, and so tasty. Thank you!

    • laura says:

      That makes me very happy, Malia! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it – I love the sound of four smaller galettes.

  17. Amy says:

    I am intrigued! I am a rhubarb virgin, and in fact, it has never even crossed my mind to try cooking with it! This spring is turning out to be a very busy one for me, so I don’t think I will be crossing into rhubarb cooking territory this year, but that doesn’t keep me from wishing I could come over and sample some of your galette.

    • laura says:

      I have been wondering how homemade rhubarb jam would turn out – perhaps next spring we will be able to visit one another and give it a try, maybe even adding a bit of lavender! XO

      • Amy says:

        I did find time to make a batch of strawberry-lavender jam this Sunday. Strawberries are in season, and so delicious. I wish you could have come to the Hollywood farmer’s market with me when you visited – I think you would love it. It’s on my list of things I very much appreciate about Los Angeles. The jam I made to give as gifts to several different friends for helping me out with things and birthdays, etc. I suppose it wouldn’t be that much more complicated to make strawberry-rhubarb jam – more of a mental hurdle than anything.


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