I recently stumbled upon a flourishing row of rhubarb plants while walking through the neighbourhood, and the home owner generously invited me to take my pick. The rhubarb stems that grow there are perfect – thin and red. Simmered very briefly, then left to soak in their juices, the stems becomes evenly soft without cooking into disintegration.
The rhubarb inspired me to partake in this month’s Sourdough Surprises challenge. Previous challenges, from when I was living in the Northwest Territories included Sourdough English Muffins, and Sourdough Pesto Irish Soda Bread.
A great excuse to take a break from an extensive period of (very intensive) study for a Professional Knowledge Exam, this month’s Sourdough Surprises challenge involved making a galette or crostata (free form tarts) made completely untraditional by the addition of natural yeasted starter. I chose to make a basic sweet shortcrust, with sourdough starter replacing a portion of the butter.
Sourdough Rhubarb & Cardamom Galette
Pastry recipe from The Bojon Gourmet
I happened to have a 1/2 cup of cream cheese frosting left over from previous baking which made an excellent layer between the pastry and the rhubarb. It was lightly sweetened and I mixed freshly ground cardamom through it. You too MAY happen to have cream cheese frosting on hand, alternatively use ricotta or cream cheese and, if you prefer it sweetened add a little honey to the mix.
1 cup flour (I used half wholewheat, half unbleached white)
1 teaspoon sugar
113g butter, cold, cut into cubes
about 1/2 cup (113g) sourdough starter (fed within last 8 hours)
a bunch of rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla pod
juice of half an orange
ricotta or cream cheese
freshly ground cardamom
In a food processor, blend flour and sugar. Add butter and sourdough and pulse until dough resembles course breadcrumbs (the size of peas). If mix seems too wet add a little more flour, taking care not to overmix. Transfer to a counter and press into a flat plate. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the rhubarb into 8 – 10cm batons. Put the vanilla pod, sugar, orange juice and 1 cup of water in a wide frying pan set over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the rhubarb (the water should cover rhubarb, if it doesn’t, add more) and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the syrup for 20 minutes until cooked through. This way your rhubarb should be cooked through (al dente), but still hold its shape. Remove rhubarb stems from the cooking liquid, and continue to heat the remaining syrup until reduced.
Preheat oven to 400˚F with a cookie tray inside to heat through. Take pastry dough from refrigerator and roll out into a rectangle about 2-3mm thick and trim the edges. It will be delicate so take care and be patient! Spread with filling of choice, either cream cheese or ricotta. Sprinkle the freshly ground cardamom over the cheese. Top with the slices of rhubarb and brush with the reduced rhubarb syrup. Transfer tart to hot baking tray (this ensures the bottom of the pastry cooks) and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until pastry is golden and cooked through.
Let cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve with natural yogurt.