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Frozen Rhubarb And Banana Charlottes

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.

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Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 6:56 am

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

Unknown March 10, 2008 um 7:41 am

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

Babeth March 10, 2008 um 8:39 am

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

MyKitchenInHalfCups March 10, 2008 um 9:33 am

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 March 10, 2008 um 9:34 am

These look amazing – so pretty! I’m sure your friend will love them

monica March 10, 2008 um 9:39 am

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) March 10, 2008 um 10:16 am

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 March 10, 2008 um 11:04 am

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

Cannelle Et Vanille March 10, 2008 um 11:26 am

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 March 10, 2008 um 11:33 am

féérique !

Bridget March 10, 2008 um 11:50 am

These are just gorgeous! You really have a gift!

Ginny March 10, 2008 um 12:08 pm

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

Veron March 10, 2008 um 12:22 pm

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 March 10, 2008 um 12:37 pm

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

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 12:47 pm

Absolutely stunning!

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 1:19 pm

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

Ben March 10, 2008 um 1:27 pm

Pretty and delicious! Just like everything you make 😀

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 1:27 pm

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

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 1:44 pm

Oh that’s the bomb! Rhubarb and banana, yum! I loved the little bow 🙂

Cheryl March 10, 2008 um 1:54 pm

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 March 10, 2008 um 2:23 pm

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 March 10, 2008 um 2:27 pm

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 Ramos March 10, 2008 um 2:40 pm

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

Carrie March 10, 2008 um 4:05 pm

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

RecipeGirl March 10, 2008 um 4:06 pm

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

Mandy March 10, 2008 um 4:17 pm

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!

Susan @ SGCC March 10, 2008 um 4:26 pm

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

breadchick March 10, 2008 um 4:39 pm

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

Suganya March 10, 2008 um 4:56 pm

Wow. Just wow.

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict….You Decide March 10, 2008 um 5:19 pm

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 March 10, 2008 um 5:21 pm

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

Lori March 10, 2008 um 5:28 pm

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.

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 5:33 pm

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

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 5:38 pm

These are so beautiful!

Irene March 10, 2008 um 5:53 pm

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

Deborah March 10, 2008 um 6:10 pm

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

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 6:14 pm

Oh these look heavenly! 😀 Thank you for sharing!

giz March 10, 2008 um 6:24 pm

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

giz March 10, 2008 um 6:24 pm

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

Anna March 10, 2008 um 6:37 pm

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

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 6:49 pm

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

Meeta K. Wolff March 10, 2008 um 7:10 pm

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!

skoraq cooks March 10, 2008 um 7:11 pm

So fresh and good looking. ADORABLE.

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 7:32 pm

wow! just…wow.

Kelly-Jane March 10, 2008 um 7:45 pm

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 March 10, 2008 um 8:04 pm


I love the rhubarb ladyfingers – brilliant!

Thip March 10, 2008 um 8:07 pm

wow! very creative…

Evelin March 10, 2008 um 8:07 pm

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:)

Anonymous March 10, 2008 um 9:11 pm

WOW – how super gorgeous!!

Cynthia March 10, 2008 um 9:29 pm

Are there any vacant houses in your area? 😀

Rachel@fairycakeheaven March 10, 2008 um 9:48 pm

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm DIVINE looks amazing too!!!

La Tartine Gourmande March 10, 2008 um 11:44 pm

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

glamah16 March 10, 2008 um 11:46 pm

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

Peabody March 11, 2008 um 1:24 am

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

Anonymous March 11, 2008 um 2:26 am

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 March 11, 2008 um 2:39 am

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 March 11, 2008 um 2:50 am

You’re so creative! Those are beautiful!

Anonymous March 11, 2008 um 1:16 pm

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 March 11, 2008 um 1:39 pm

A work of art, Helen. It’s so beautiful I’d hesitate for a few seconds before eating it… 😉

Mari March 11, 2008 um 2:12 pm


Anonymous March 11, 2008 um 2:55 pm

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

Anonymous March 11, 2008 um 2:55 pm

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

Venus ~ Vi March 11, 2008 um 6:38 pm

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

LizNoVeggieGirl March 11, 2008 um 6:46 pm

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???

Unknown March 11, 2008 um 7:14 pm

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 March 11, 2008 um 8:01 pm

Thats so fancy looking!

Cakebrain March 12, 2008 um 3:52 am

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

Anonymous March 12, 2008 um 9:22 am

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

aforkfulofspaghetti March 12, 2008 um 12:10 pm

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

Contessa Kris March 12, 2008 um 5:29 pm

Absolutely stunning! Gorgeous color presentation. I love it!

Bri March 13, 2008 um 2:32 am

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 March 13, 2008 um 10:14 am

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

Mallow March 14, 2008 um 1:11 am

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

Anonymous March 14, 2008 um 7:42 pm

Oh my, that is pretty!

Barbara March 15, 2008 um 3:01 am

Tartlette these are truly spectacular.

Sylvia March 15, 2008 um 10:32 am

Looks absolutely gorgeous and delicious

Anonymous March 15, 2008 um 11:21 pm

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

Dharm March 16, 2008 um 1:15 pm

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 March 16, 2008 um 4:26 pm

Wow that is absolutely amazing and so beautiful!

Annemarie March 16, 2008 um 10:01 pm

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).

Anonymous March 25, 2008 um 5:04 am

WOW. That rhubarb looks amazing!

Lori June 18, 2009 um 6:41 pm

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!

Helene June 18, 2009 um 7:12 pm

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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