Frozen Rhubarb And Banana Charlottes

Sunday, March 09, 2008

What follows is a typical conversation you can hear at our house on a Sunday afternoon:
Me: Hey, what'cha got planned today?
Him: well, I found this electric saw (or drill, or vacuum,....) in the street and I thought I'd fix it up. You?
Me: I just picked some stuff up at the grocery store and I'd thought I'd play around a little.
Both at the same time: well, call me before you burn the house down!

We had a very similar conversation last week but this time I was on a mission. I was standing in the middle of the fruits and vegetables stands, starring at gorgeous stalks of deep red rhubarb when my friend S. called. "Remember my bridal shower next July?" Yesssssss....(can't you just tell what's coming?!) "Change of plans...it's in two weeks otherwise I'll have to throw a baby shower with it!" Yesssss "Can you think of something pretty, girlie, decadent, pink, red, white....?" Yesssss...I love S., she is the exact opposite of me in almost everything and in that regard she is the ultimate girlie girl, ultra pink and fuchsia, which makes me look like a Gothic tomboy (and if you know me, you know I am not which gives you a pretty good image of S.) Good thing I was holding pretty red rhubarb when she called and that she happens to love it too.
So here I was, back in the kitchen letting my brain do its usual selection of all the wild ideas running through my mind. A charlotte is always a pretty thing and since the weather has been very clement and her shower would be an intimate affair (12 ladies), I thought about a chilled/frozen filling. Bananas are one of my favorite ingredients for frozen mousses because they provide good body and sweetness without being too heavy. When cut in long strips and prepared just a bit, the rhubarb graciously replaces the traditional ladyfinger casing of a charlotte. While the leaves are toxic, the stalks can be used to your heart's contents but they need a good dose of sugar as they are very tart and make cranberries look weak in that department.

When working with cold or frozen individual plated desserts you can use metal pastry rings but since they are not cheap and I tend to accumulate mini pans of all shapes and sizes I rely on a big stock of different pvc pipes. Yep, hardware stores are a cook's treasure land sometimes! For a minimal fee you can select all the diameters you like and if you smile big enough (maybe throw in a little eyelash action for good measure) they might even cut the pipe for you. Since the pipe is almost indestructible, I am not worried about storage, bending or rust. To make sure the "rhubarb ladyfingers" would not stick to the plastic mold, I just lined them with parchment paper that I secured with tape. The rhubarb is cut in paper thin slices and barely softened in a low temperature oven for 10 minutes, to retain the color without caramelizing them. Once filled and frozen, the charlottes popped right out and all I had to do was to carefully peel the paper.

After the stalks, I chopped up the remaining tidbits, cooked them down with some sugar until I had a deep red puree and just stared at it mesmerized. Just kidding! Although I just wanted to spread that delicious jam on fresh toast, I thinned it down a bit and used for the plating along with some of the frozen banana filling. I topped each charlotte with caramelized banana slices and a little rhubarb bow with strips cut in the soft slices. as a homage to S's girlie-ness. She came over that night for dinner and loved it, from the presentation to the taste...Ouf! (that's French for "big sigh of relief!)....Now I have got the think about that baby shower of hers!!


Frozen Rhubarb And Banana Charlottes:

Serves 4. The molds used are 3 inches tall and 3 inches across.

For the Rhubarb "ladyfingers":
12 to 15 rhubarb stalks, cleaned and cut to measure 3 inches
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat your oven to 200F. With a sharp knife and without peeling the stalks, cut them into thin slices (1/8inch thick). Keep the ends and trimmings for later. Set them onto parchment paper lined baking sheets (or silicone ones), and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
Cut strips of parchment paper to fit inside the molds and carefully line the inside of the mold with the sliced rhubarb easier to do if you lay the mold on its side). Place the rings in the freezer for a couple of hours.

Frozen Banana Mousse:
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 cup pureed bananas
1 cup heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy. Fold the banana puree into the yolk mixture. Whisk the egg whites until they foam and add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 Tb. at a time and continue to whip until glossy. Fold the whites into the banana mixture. Whip the cream to soft peaks and add to the banana batter. Keep about 1/4 cup of the mousse to use as a sauce for plating if desired. Spoon the mousse into the rhubarb lined rings and freeze overnight.

Caramelized Banana Slices:
Cut 2 bananas into thin slices. In a pan, melt 4 Tb sugar with 4 TB butter, and cook until the sugar is melted. Add the bananas and cook them until barely soft. Remove them from the pan and let cool. It is preferable to do these the day you plate up the whole dessert.

Options for plating:
Cook down the bits and pieces of rhubarb you have left from cutting the slices with some sugar (to taste) until soft and jam-like and let it cool completely. If it becomes too thick the next day, thin it down with a bit of water to use it as a sauce.

To Serve:
Carefully unmold the charlottes from the rings by pushing down gently from one end, peel off the parchment paper. Quickly set the room temperature banana slices on top, use some of the rhubarb jam and leftover mousse for sauces. Make a bow if you have it you (which I know you do since you all wrap presents so well) I got to tell you that was a rather sticky experience!!
You might have leftover mousse when you fill the rings. I just layered it with some cooked rhubarb and pop these in the freezer for an easy weeknight dessert.

83 comments:

marion - il en faut peu pour ... said...

absolument génial !!!! le chien n'en a pas voulu ? ;) tant mieux !!!!
Tu as des idées vraiment merveilleuses, bravo !!!!

Mad Baker said...

These are so pretty, Helen! And they sound completely delicious too. :o)

Babeth said...

It's super cute! I love the flavor association banana and rhubarb.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I get all of this, I think I could do all of this except tie that bow!
You know when you do this stuff I know you are a genius! PVC pipe!
The color in that rhubarb is totally gorgeous! And it'll be coming into season now.

Alfie said...

These look amazing - so pretty! I'm sure your friend will love them

the pastry princess said...

the colors of this charlotte are so gorgeous! rhubarb and banana are such an unexpected combination but they sound so wonderful together.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love finding things at the hardware store to use in my kitchen! PVC pipe is an inspiration -- I'd never have thought of it. And, even if I did, I'd never be able to come up with something as beautiful as this! Girlie, yes, but lovely.

Andreea said...

simply wonderful. so when i have my briday shower, up for a brussels catering? :)

Aran said...

Genius! I love the idea of using the rhubarb instead of the ladyfingers. I have never combined rhubarb and bananas but I bet that the tartness of the rhubarb with the sweetness of bananas go perfectly. Lovely!

LILIBOX said...

féérique !

Bridget said...

These are just gorgeous! You really have a gift!

Ginny said...

Beautiful as always! I would never think to use rhubarb in a dessert. Gorgeous!

Veron said...

Simply gorgeous!!! I love pretty-in-pink stuff. I read about the pvc-pipes as molds somewhere , I think in Sherry Yard's book. Glad it works perfectly!

LyB said...

So pretty! I wouldn't have thought rhubarb and bananas would go well together, these are just so beautiful, you are gifted!

Candace said...

Absolutely stunning!

Tiuscha said...

Absolument sublime et l'accord inattendu me parle tout à fait !

Ben said...

Pretty and delicious! Just like everything you make :D

linda said...

Very cool dessert! Love the creative work on the rhubarb. And love the colour too.

Lindsa said...

Oh that's the bomb! Rhubarb and banana, yum! I loved the little bow :)

Cheryl said...

This is what you come up with when you are messing around? You put me to shame girl. These are so unbelievable gorgeous. What a lucky girl your friend is.

La cuisine des 3 soeurs said...

Ce n'est plus une pâtisserie, on dirait de la haute couture. Celui là je le teste absolument. Je dois commencer par le débt et traduire ta recette.

cookworm said...

I'm not a pink girl either, but these are gorgeous! I LOVE rhubarb, and what a brilliant idea to use it this way.

Alejandra said...

I actually *am* a pink girl and these are gorgeous. I love this idea...such artfully executed too. Thank you for sharing!!

C.L. said...

You are a pastry goddess! Those are gorgeous! May I use this recipe at the resteraunt when rhubarb comes out here?

RecipeGirl said...

So pretty... what talent you have in putting this together!

Mandy said...

I know strawberry and rhubarb is always paired together. But your pretty combination of rhubarb and banana makes me want to give this a try too!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

That is sheer genius! Also, one of the lovliest desserts I've ever seen! Absolutely gorgeous!

breadchick said...

Helen, every time I'm here my jaw hits the desk with the beauty and genius of your creations.

Suganya said...

Wow. Just wow.

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

These look like little presents for a princess...........those would be absolutely adorable for a baby shower or anything. Too sweet. You should be designing for Hollywood.

Fruit tart said...

Those are so lovely and feminine looking! You are so full of brilliant ideas.

Lori said...

VERY beautiful. And you are very talented indeed! I love your blog. Just found it today.

I use to live in Abbeville, SC. I miss the weather but not the bugs.

Zen Chef said...

This looks beautiful as always! :-)

I baked a tartelette just for you on my blog to say thank you for the award. ;-)

Yes, i'm nice like that! hehe

Danielle said...

These are so beautiful!

Irene said...

These look absolutely marvelous! Although I can't help imagining the banana cream on top of a cheesecake... mmm.... with rhubarb sauce....

Deborah said...

You never cease to amaze me! Now if only I lived closer so I could call you up for any party needs I have...

losslustlove said...

Oh these look heavenly! :D Thank you for sharing!

giz said...

Just simply creative genius - the colours and styling are beautiful -such a great idea.

giz said...

Just simply creative genius - the colours and styling are beautiful -such a great idea.

Indigo said...

These are so pretty! And ultra-girly, but that's not a bad thing =P. Gorgeous!

Maryann said...

You have outdone yourself! Beautiful, delicious, outstanding presentation :)
I love the color. Great photo too..what talent!

Meeta said...

Nice girlie dessert yes - but every now and then I think we need to be girlie's adds to our sex appeal - now the dessert THAT is sexy and to think it's made in PVC pipes! Genius!

Jo. said...

So fresh and good looking. ADORABLE.

michelle @ TNS said...

wow! just...wow.

Kelly-Jane said...

So pretty in pink! I always buy the pink rhubarb if I see it, which isn't often... You have used it to such great effect here, the little bows make it just spot on.

KayKat said...

*wow*

I love the rhubarb ladyfingers - brilliant!

Thip said...

wow! very creative...

Evelin said...

Rhubarb instead of ladyfinger cookies - you're my idol from today on!:) I'd enjoy these desserts even if they didn't taste well, because they just look so gorgeous (of course I know they must taste as good as they look!)! That little bow tie is the perfect finish. And I think I have a friend just like your S who would LOVE this dessert:)

bron said...

WOW - how super gorgeous!!

Cynthia said...

Are there any vacant houses in your area? :D

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm DIVINE looks amazing too!!!

Bea said...

De la rhubarbe et une charlotte, c'est superbe ensemble. Adorable petit dessert.

glamah16 said...

OH MY! A work of art in taste and flavor.And so original!

Peabody said...

Seriously stunning Helen!!! Wow, is really all that seems to be coming out of my mouth...well, that and drool.

Chuck said...

Beautiful!! They look like a lot of work, but, for a special occasion they would be worth it. What a show stopper! BROVO!!

Gretchen Noelle said...

You are a genius. Simply a creative genius. Really, I just wish I could watch you in the kitchen, I bet it is a wonder. Okay, I would like to eat what you make too.

Brilynn said...

You're so creative! Those are beautiful!

Maddy said...

Wow, these are absolutely stunning! The color of the rhubarb is incredible. I haven't seen rhubarb at my market yet, but when I do, this recipe is at the top of my list.

Patricia Scarpin said...

A work of art, Helen. It's so beautiful I'd hesitate for a few seconds before eating it... ;)

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Wowsa!!!

joey said...

This is so pretty! The perfect sweet treat for a girly girl :) Your friend is very lucky :)

joey said...

This is so pretty! The perfect sweet treat for a girly girl :) Your friend is very lucky :)

Venus ~ Vi said...

What gorgeous and vivid colors! This is a very interesting combo! I must give it a try one day. I shall report back~

VeggieGirl said...

helen, you did it again!! only YOU would be able to come up with such a sophisticated, breath-taking, gorgeous dessert for a party that was changed to an earlier date - you're such an inspiration!!

by the way, your dog (in the post below) is precious - is he a collie or a shetland sheepdog, by any chance???

Laura said...

This takes pretty in pink to a whole new level Helen. My local shop has beautiful rhubarb right now all I need is the plumbing!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Thats so fancy looking!

cakebrain said...

That is an amazingly beautiful dessert. The little bow is so appropriate!

loukoum°°° said...

C'est magnifique!
Je garde précieusement, j'ai très envie de tester!
Bravo!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Wow! I love everything about these - the inventiveness, the taste combos, and the presentation. Wonderful.

Contessa Kris said...

Absolutely stunning! Gorgeous color presentation. I love it!

Bri said...

These are so adorable! My husband saw them on tastespotting the other day and pointed them out to me. Ever since, I've been meaning to come on over to your blog and give you big praises for a beautiful presentation. The story behind it makes the dessert even sweeter. Your friend is very lucky! I can't wait to see what you do for the baby shower.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

these are so sweet and beautiful, i almost cried when i saw them!

Mallow said...

Those are simply unbelievable. You never cease to amaze me!

robin (caviar and codfish) said...

Oh my, that is pretty!

Barbara said...

Tartlette these are truly spectacular.

Sylvia said...

Looks absolutely gorgeous and delicious

Christine said...

This is such a beautiful way to use rhubarb. What a special dessert it was!

Dharm said...

I've never tried Rhubard before. Have seen it around if supermarkets but its very, very expensive but more important than the cost, is that I dont know what to do with it. Hoping to try it out someday.. Your dessert looks just fantastic!

eatme_delicious said...

Wow that is absolutely amazing and so beautiful!

Annemarie said...

Oh my god Helene - these really are something extraordinary. They remind me of a sweet sushi roll (in a good way, in a beautiful good way).

Nina said...

WOW. That rhubarb looks amazing!

Lori said...

Wow whats with all the Chinese writing here.

I just wanted to say that I have looked at this dessert a million times. I tried to make it but failed with the rhubarb miserably. I just adore these. Someday I hope to try again. I have also told people about your blog, friends and family and I always show them this one because I think it is a foodie work of art!

Tartelette said...

Those are spam comments Lori. All 530 posts attacked 3-5 times and I have to go in and remove manually which you can guess takes forever!
Thanks for the praise!

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