These tartelettes surprise and delight everyone because they offer just the right combination of sweet, crisp, creamy, and tart…you’ll see. If you don’t want to make tartelettes, you can make a big tart – this is enough for one that measures 10-1/2-inches (27cm) across. There is nothing to this, it’s like a cheesecake only easier and, honestly, more fun.
This simple salad surprises everyone! Make this while cherries are still in season!
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: wine or cocktail glasses,
PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: simple
Poaching rhubarb in vanilla syrup is one of life’s simple pleasures. But never tell anyone how easy it is, because they will thing you slaved all day over it. True, it takes some time to cut the rhubarb into tiny dice. Put some Paul Simon on and let his music take you somewhere while you – carefully because your knife is sharp – dice. Then, put the rhubarb into the syrup. The only trick is cooking time. If you see that some of your rhubarb pieces begin to fray, remove the pan from the heat. The rhubarb will cook in the residual heat of the syrup, which is why the cooking time is so approximate.
As for the fresh cheese: use fromage blanc if you can find it. If you cannot, drain Greek yogurt for an hour or two, then use it in place of fromage blanc. You’ll need to measure the yogurt AFTER it has drained, so get 2 cups (500ml).
ASTUCE: to peel or not to peel rhubarb, that is THE question. I peel tough stalks that are a second or third harvest from a plant. Small, first harvest rhubarb doesn’t need to be peeled. If the skin is very tough – and it can be so tough a knife will hardly go through it – peel the stalks. It’s easy to do – the peel doesn’t much like what is underneath it so it comes away easily and quickly!
Have a couple of lemons on hand, in case you need a bit more juice to get to the proper quantity. And the cooking time is approximate, simply because your stovetop will dictate how long this takes to cook. What you are looking for is tender skins and a caramelized color. You don’t want to cook the marmalade too long or it will turn to a lump when cool.
This simple cake goes together in minutes. I melt the butter and the chocolate over the pilot lights on my stove. Do that before you measure out anything else, then by the time you’re ready for them, they’ll be cool enough (even if they’re lukewarm) to use. I love to serve home-made orange marmalade, just a small mound, alongside this cake.
Normally, you melt chocolate in a double boiler, but if this feels like a complication, and you have a burner on your stove to go very, very low, just melt the chocolate here, stirring it often so it doesn’t stick. I normally don’t recommend microwaves (ask me later), but if you’ve got one of course you know, they do make good chocolate melters.
You’ll swoon with pleasure when you try this handsome dessert. Seriously, handsome it is, and handsome it tastes (if you think that handsome is delicious, which I do). Figs are ephemeral, and when they’re in season I try to serve them often. My usual is to braise them in red wine, or simple sauté and use them as a vegetable. Here, though, they get slightly caramelized on the grill, then set in a bed of rich chocolate sauce, with a squeeze of lime juice over the top. Oh my, what a dessert.
ASTUCES: You need a good, hot fire for this because over the heat the figs caramelize nicely and cook just perfectly, until they are tender and hot through but not too juicy. Their skin, which becomes slightly caramelized, will stick to the grill in spots but don’t worry. See the photo – they still look gorgeous. Finally, remember to trim the end of the stem from the fig –it’s too hard to eat.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: mesh grill, long tongs
PREPARATION TIME: about 10 minutes
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: simple