Friday, May 4, 2007

All Hail the Queen!

No, not me. That other Queen. The British Her Majesty who’s currently visiting the U.S. and doing all sorts of jolly things: touring Jamestown, lunching at Williamsburg, attending the Kentucky Derby, and hanging with George Bush. I mean, touring Jamestown, lunching at Williamsburg, and attending the Kentucky Derby.


In honor of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor (or Elizabeth II to you commoners), I’m giving you the recipe for a rhubarb tart. Rhubarb is a favorite of our friends across the pond and as it happens, of mine, too. This recipe was inspired by another Brit, Nigella Lawson, self-proclaimed Domestic Goddess. Except for the accent, I can find few other similarities between these two British figures – especially, perhaps, in their figures.

I’ve changed Nigella’s version a bit, since I always have the suspicion that her publishers had very little interest in truly adapting her recipes for an American market. Her measurements often seem a bit funky -- ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar; 1 2/3 c. plus 1 Tablespoon tonic water; 7 oz. cream cheese – and the pans and baking dishes aren’t American standards, either. (A deep 8 inch flan pan or shallow 10-inch pan?) Plus, the recipe as I first prepared it, did not deliver tantalizing chunks of tender rhubarb, but rather a shapeless, although soothing, mass. (Rather like Queen Elizabeth herself?)

Ah, well. We’ll call it compote and be satisfied with our lot. We may not be getting the royal treatment this weekend, but we commoners deserve a little indulgence too, don’t we?

May 4a

Rhubarb Tart
Adapted from How To Be A Domestic Goddess

Pastry for a 9-inch tart
2 pounds fresh rhubarb
1 c. sugar
7 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. whipping cream
2 T. sugar
1 t. lemon zest
1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Cut rhubarb into 3/4 in. pieces and toss with 1 c. sugar. Place in ovenproof dish and cover, cooking until rhubarb is tender (check after 30 minutes). Allow to cool, reserving juices. Meanwhile, line a 9-inch tart pan with tart pastry. Fill with foil and beans or pie weights. Bake approximately 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans and cook another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown. When ready to assemble tart, strain rhubarb and put juices in small saucepan. Boil juices rapidly until syrupy. Whip cream and then fold in softened cream cheese, 2 T. sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Spoon into tart shell. Top with the strained rhubarb pieces and drizzle thickened juices over all.

May 4b


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