Rhubarb Napoleons

April 20, 2010 at 9:45 am 24 comments

Rhubarb and Dicentra Diptych

I don’t know what it’s like in your part of the world, but here in my neighborhood, it has been the most glorious spring.  After the dreary cold days of last spring, it feels like the heavens have finally decided we deserve a month of picture perfect warm sunny (with just a few showers once a week) days that have made even just a short walk down the street to the market or post office magical.  The sidewalks of Philadelphia are lined with the blooms of cherries, apples, dogwoods, red buds, tulips, bleeding hearts, brunnera, hellebores, lilacs, lilies of the valley, and much more.  On my deck, the blueberry bush and the alpine strawberries have been blooming their little hearts out, getting ready to give us a fine feast in the months to come.   I’m nearly giddy with the return of fresh fodder at the dinner table. 

Puff pastry being cut

Activity in the garden has been at a near manic pace (my continued excuse for neglecting you fine folks; forgive me?) and the young tender leaves of arugula, beets, kale, lettuces, carrots, cilantro, and peas are all making steady strides towards the sun’s rays.  I have also been busy preparing the beds for and planting the seedlings of myriad cut flowers for my business, including lisianthus, dianthus, calendula, queen anne’s lace, english daisies, flowering oregano, fragrant stock, poppies, larkspur, nigella, sunflowers, sweet peas and more.   Expect to see plenty of flowers here on SFTF this summer as they are my new muse when it comes to thinking up recipes.  Colors seem to inspire me just as much as flavors these days. 

Ingredients Diptych

For instance, the cheery pink of delicate and exotic bleeding hearts reminded me instantly of rhubarb and prompted me to conjure up a recipe for something equally beautiful, delicate, and just a tad exotic.  The rhubarb is from the three seedlings I started myself in the summer of 2008.  They have grown into near monsters, offering up more crispy pink stalks than I could ever know what to do with, even though all the nay-sayers told me that growing rhubarb from seed was silly since it would take years to get a plant that produced much.  

Puffed Pastry

This recipe for Rhubarb Strawberry Napoleon with Rhubarb Coulis is ridiculously easy, though it might look complicated at first glance.  Just buy the frozen puff pastry and throw it in the oven.  Then chop up a bunch of rhubarb and slice a few strawberries.  Put two saucepans on the stove and beat the heck out of the whipped cream and waa-laa!  You’re done!   Then sit back and soak up the verbal declarations of your marvelous culinary skills as your dinner guests ooh and ahh. 

Before and after diptych

The strawberries, by the way, aren’t quite in season here in Philadelphia yet.  I fortunately had just a few of my petite alpine strawberries from last season still in the freezer that were perfect for this dish.  If you don’t have frozen local berries, but you did put up some chunky strawberry jam last season, you could easily stir in a couple spoonfuls to the filling and would be just as well off.  Or, if you have no strawberries, this dish would be just as delicious with just rhubarb if you added another teaspoon of sugar to the filling to offset the tartness of the rhubarb flying solo. 

Rhubarb Strawberry Napoleons with Rhubarb Coulis

What local yumminess are you eating
now that warm weather is back in town?

Rhubarb Strawberry Napoleons with Rhubarb Coulis
A Straight from the Farm Original

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 T. water

2 c diced  rhubarb
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 vanilla bean, scraped
dash of freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 c. diced rhubarb
2 T. sugar
1 T. water
1/2 c. sliced strawberries
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. sugar or Splenda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Cut the puff pastry along the seams where it was folded and then cut each of these pieces into two so that you have a total of six rectangles of pastry.  Whisk the egg and water together.  Lay the pastry on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash.   Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and puffed up.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

For the coulis, combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is nearly dissolved and the mixture is very watery.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.   Place the rhubarb mixture into a blender and puree until very smooth.   Set aside.

In another small saucepan, make the filling by combining the rhubarb, sugar and water. Stir and cook over medium heat just until the rhubarb become soft, about 5-8 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries.  Let cool.

Whip the heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer, beating just until it begins thickening up before adding the sweetener.   Continue beating until the cream forms stiff peaks. 

Using a serrated knife, cut the pastry rectangles in half like a roll so that you have 12 “slices”.  Assemble the napoleons by placing a slice of pastry on a serving plate, spread with a generous spoonful of whipped cream, then a spoonful of fruit filling and a drizzle of coulis, and top with another slice of pastry.  Repeat so that there are two layers of filling and three slices of pastry for each napoleon.  Dust top with confectioners sugar and drizzle extra coulis around the edge of the plate.   Assemble all four napoleons and serve immediately.   The coulis, filling and pastry can all be prepared a day ahead and then assembled when ready to serve.  The whipped cream is best made right before serving but it can be made the night before. 

(serves  4)


Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , , .

From the Archives: Homemade Ravioli with Sorrel Pesto Filling Rhubarb Lemon Sponge Pie

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Food-Fitness-FreshAir  |  April 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I’m always so impressed with the photography and composure of your blog (and of course the wonderful in-season recipes). You have a great blog, keep it up.

    • 2. Jennie  |  May 18, 2010 at 6:58 am

      Aw, thank so very much. FFFA! I love that you are so generous with your comments. 🙂

  • 3. Joanne  |  April 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    This spring is definitely seriously glorious. I am so pleased that rhubarb has come into season where I live. Your Napoleons look fantastic! So impressive.

  • 4. Stefanie  |  April 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    The bleeding Heart is already flowering at youre place? I am envious! We have to wait untill middle of may! At the moment we have a lot of wild garlic here, and I enjoy cooking with it.
    The rhubarb Napoleons looks very delicious!

  • 5. The Unusual Farm Chick  |  April 21, 2010 at 5:52 am

    I was so excited to see your recipe for Rhubarb strawberry Napoleons. I purchased my first few Rhubarb plants the other day and can not wait until I have plenty to harvest. I of course will not be waiting to make this irresistable dish. Hopefully I can find rhubarb from the Amish market and thankfully I too have a small amount of last year strawberries awaiting in the freezer. this would be perfect to make and take along for our very rustic camping trip. To be ate our first night enjoying each others company around the fire. Thank you for the recipe (& such beautiful pictures!)

  • 6. fattydumpling  |  April 21, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Oh my goodness, woman. Your blog is so gorgeous, in food and photographs! There’s quite a few things that I would like to try out. I’m actually surprised, I didn’t know about the capacity of local foods. I liked how grocery stores provided me with almost anything I wanted at any time, but going local just makes you be creative–and it’s delicious creativity. It’s really awesome ;]

    I’ve never tried rhubarb before. But I must.

    • 7. Jennie  |  May 18, 2010 at 7:01 am

      Thanks for your kind words, fattydumpling! I am so glad you are thinking more about local foods. It really is a fun experience to go to the farmers market and pick out what strikes your fancy and then come home to make it into something delicious, rather than going to the grocery store with a very specific list. That’s why this blog is as creative and beautiful as it is; I’m constantly inspired by the local produce. 🙂

  • 8. ziabaki  |  April 24, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Okay, this just isn’t fair. Here I am drooling all over my keyboard. I’m going to bed and dream about them.

  • 9. Eddie@CulinaryStudio  |  April 25, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I really hope rhubarb is available at the NY farmer’s markets next week, because I absolutely have to make these rhubarb napoleons. Great work!

  • 10. Sabine @ berrylovely  |  April 26, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Beautiful photographs and I think it’s a great idea to make napoleons filled with rhubarb. Spring here in Vancouver started really early this year. All the cherry trees were already blooming in early March.

  • 11. Christine  |  April 26, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Hi there — How did you winter over your blueberry bush and strawberry plants?

    • 12. Jennie  |  April 26, 2010 at 8:39 am

      Hey stranger. 🙂 Come visit sometime and I’ll show you! But for the rest of the inquiring minds out there: both the strawberries and blueberries are grown in containers on the deck. The strawberries are the alpine species so they don’t mind the cold at all and I do nothing for them. For the blueberry bushes, the pot holding the bush is put inside an even larger pot that has been filled with dry fall leaves and then I cram as many more leaves as I can in around the sides and on the top. I then sit the bushes close to the wall on (counter-intuitively) the north facing side of the house. This protects them from any major fluctuations in temperature throughout the winter.

      Seriously, come visit. 🙂

      • 13. Christine  |  April 26, 2010 at 1:37 pm

        Name the day. Can I have a rhubarb napoleon? 😉

  • 14. Heather  |  May 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    sooo pretty – your images are lovely and very inspiring. So glad I found you, now I need my daughter to nap, so I can spend an hour going through old posts!

  • 15. Rhubarb Lemon Sponge Pie « Straight from the Farm  |  May 6, 2010 at 7:32 am

    […] Rhubarb Napoleons […]

  • 16. shayma  |  May 7, 2010 at 11:51 am

    fabulous photos- soft, elegant, delicious. how lucky to have rhubarb- in your own garden. i have some bad memories of rhubarb from watery crumbles in primary school- but looking at your photos- those memories have thankfully all but disappeared. i love your blog.

    • 17. Jennie  |  May 18, 2010 at 7:04 am

      Thanks, Shayma! Too funny that you have some bad assocations with rhubarb since I do too from childhood. But once you start cooking with it yourself, you find it’s a very versitile ingredient that is easily manipulated into being delicious. Hope you’ll indeed give it another try. 🙂

  • 18. Stefanie  |  May 17, 2010 at 11:33 am

    We made Rhurab Napoleons and Napoleons with (frozen) Raspberries and both tasted great. Thanks for this easy and delicious recipe!

    • 19. Jennie  |  May 17, 2010 at 7:13 pm

      Ooo, with raspberries sounds nice, Stefanie. They’ll be in season again soon so I’ll have to give that a try myself. Thanks for sharing!

  • 20. Rachel  |  May 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Had never cooked with rhubarb before, but your posts inspired me. Bought 2 “stalks?” at a farm mkt on Sat. Made 1/2 batch of the sauce and stirred in to homemade yogurt!

    • 21. Jennie  |  May 17, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      Really, Rachel? Never cooked rhubarb before? Apparently you’ve never followed Miriam Love into the garden in springtime or you would have had the giant bagfuls I came back with last week. As if I didn’t have enough ofmy own here. 🙂 Glad you made the sauce and hope you’ll give more rhubarb a try. Did the kids try/like it?

  • […] that tops these little pots is quite worth a try for donning any number of delightful dishes. The coulis and cream are a match made in heaven, like the fragrance of lilies of the valley and a warm spring […]

  • 23. Rachel  |  May 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    The kids ate it in the yogurt, my more adventurous eater tried it off the spoon but not miss picky pants. Is it related to celery?

  • 24. shell  |  May 19, 2010 at 11:57 am

    OK, you totally have me excited about all the rhubarb growing in my yard. I’m going to try jam this weekend – I’m so over the pies!


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