I love Februarys. They're like the holidays, extended - birthdays, valentines, food, celebration, large amounts of gift giving. Love emanates from everywhere.
This month hasn't allowed me all that much time to try new recipes, but I have enjoyed many good meals with many good friends. And eating out often inspires my conceptual creativity in baking. Hence today's fusion concoction where East, you guessed it, meets West.
Rhubarb Pie, meet, Matcha Green Tea. Hello! Hello!
And how about that rhubarb? Just a year ago Michael warned of its extreme tartness and encouraged an overzealous use of sugar. I grunted at the idea. In my effort to make this year's rhubarb tarts, well, more diabetic friendly, I substituted all that granulated sugar for a low-glycemic organic blue agave. I grinned at my own genius; I was gonna defying the rhubarb gods and show 'em "I don't need no stinkin' sugar to reap the reward of their root!"
So I tried and I didn't fail completely. Yes, the tarts were gorgeous pink pockets of puff pastry heaven. Though, drenching the tarts with my orange-citrus glaze didn't help the matters of my sour pucker face. In the end, I raised my white flag and surrendered my stubborn tastebuds over. I showered my rhubarb tarts with the snowy white sugar granules, and just like Michael warned, rhubarb really is inedible without heaps of sugar.
And the green tea ice cream... it was so creamy. Like, if creamy had a texture, it would be creamy. It's as if someone asked me if I wanted to add a little green tea to my creamy. You get it. So less like gelato, and more like ice creeeeeeeaaaam.
A whole lot of taste sensations going on, but quite the unique flavor combination. Quite.
Creamy Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream
makes 1 quart
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups whole milk
1.4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons matcha (powdered Japanese green tea)
Requires an ice cream maker
1. Bring cream, milk, and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan and remove from heat.
2. Whisk together eggs, sugar, and matcha in a bowl (tea will not be completely dissolved), then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking vigorously. Whisk custard into remaining cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly to keep eggs from curdling and until an instant-read thermometer registers 170 degrees (do not let boil). Immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 1 hour.
3. Freeze in ice cream maker, about 20 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Rhubarb Tart with Orange Glaze
makes 6-3x6 inch tarts
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup agave syrup (or 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
3/4 pound rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced diagonally (1/8 inch)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17 1/4-ounces package), thawed
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in middle.
2. Stir together orange juice, lime juice, and sugar in a bowl. Add rhubarb and let stand, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut out 6 3-inch by 6-inch rectangles. Arrange pastry rectangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make a 1/2-inch border around each pastry rectangle by lightly scoring a line parallel to each edge (do not cut all the way through). Prick pastry inside border all over with a fork. Strain rhubarb mixture through a sieve set over a bowl, reserving liquid. Top 1 pastry rectangle (within border) with rhubarb, overlapping slices slightly. Repeat with remaining pastry and rhubarb. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden (underside of pastry should also be golden), about 25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, boil reserved rhubarb liquid in a small saucepan, skimming foam if necessary, until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 15 to 18 minutes.
5. Transfer tarts to a rack. Drizzle rhubarb with glaze. Serve with ice cream.
Rhubarb Tart recipe adapted from Gourmet, April '09 via epicurious.
Green Tea Ice Cream recipe adapted from Gourmet, July '02 via epicurious.