Thursday, May 25, 2017

Strawberry-Rhubarb Puff Pastry Braid

If you love the combination of strawberries and rhubarb, I have a treat for you. The almond frangipane on the inside and sliced almonds on top make this a triple-delicious dessert any time of day. Easier than pie since you don't have to make a crust when you use store-bought puff pastry dough.

The puff pastry dough is braided over the top of the filling, although it's difficult to see with the almonds and confectioners sugar sprinkled on top. Here is a very good tutorial on how to braid puff pastry: 

Don't worry if you aren't a perfect 'braider', the almonds and powdered sugar can hide any flaws :)

I loved this so much that I could honestly say it's one of my top 3 favorite rhubarb desserts! I had never made frangipane before but it was super easy using a food processor.  If you don't have time to make homemade frangipane you could also substitute almond paste, which is found in the baking aisle near the canned pie fillings.  I added a splash of Aperol to the rhubarb and strawberry filling, but any concentrated fruit juice or fruit liqueur would taste good.  I usually have Aperol on hand to make Aperol Spritz with Prosecco in the summer and rhubarb is actually one of the ingredients in Aperol!

Along with a lot of rain, May has brought many wonderful moments in the garden and with family! Planting is 99% finished and the weeds are still winning a million to one! 

Happy Memorial Day to all who are celebrating this weekend and heartfelt condolences to Manchester.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Puff Pastry Braid

Printable Recipe

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight

Filling Ingredients:

3/4 cup diced rhubarb
3/4 cup diced strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Aperol, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec liqueur (any fruit-flavored alcohol will do)
1 egg used for egg wash
1 tablespoon sliced almonds for sprinkling on top
Confectioners sugar for garnish after pastry has cooled

Frangipane ingredients:

1 cup sliced almonds
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350F.

To make frangipane:

In the work bowl of a food processor, add the flour, almonds and sugar and pulse to a course powder. Add the butter and pulse until just incorporated.  Add the eggs and almond extract and process until smooth, about 1 minute.  Pour mixture into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make filling:

Combine the diced rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon and liqueur of choice. Set aside.

To assemble:

On a well-floured surface, roll out the pastry to an approximately 15x9" rectangle. Gently transfer rolled pastry to a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.

Spoon the frangipane down the middle of the pastry, lengthwise. Spoon the fruit filling over the top of the frangipane, being careful not to 'over fill'.  

Make inch-wide, diagonal incisions on either side of the filling, stopping an inch short of the filling. Fold the cuts across the fruit on a slight angle, pulling gently to cover the filling, first folding one side over and then the other, creating a braid, pressing down gently.  See this tutorial:

Using egg wash to seal ends, tucking them under then egg wash the entire pastry. Sprinkle top with almond slices.

Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes, depending on your oven.  Start checking after 25 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter. 

Cool completely and then dust with confectioner's sugar, if desired. 

Inspired by The Lemon Apron and David Tanis

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

I'm still here!  Sorry, for being absent for a few weeks but it is that special time of year when we can finally be outside again and it feels great to be unplugged for a while.  I call it my 3G season - Garden, Golf and Grandchildren!

The garden is bursting with early spring blooms (and many weeds which need pulling) but my biggest planting chores are yet to come.  The containers and bedding plants will hopefully be planted in the next week or so, weather permitting.

At a recent sleepover at our home, we taught our grandsons how to play Crazy Eights and they each had a turn 'driving' the garden tractor with their Papa. We love spending time with those boys ♥

I'm excited to bring you this delicious rhubarb muffin recipe for those of you who are rhubarb lovers out there, as I am!  A few years ago I planted my little rhubarb patch and have never regretted that decision. 

This Rhubarb Streusel Muffin recipe combines brown sugar in the batter and also a little mixed with butter and cinnamon for a tasty streusel topping.  I've made this recipe twice in the past two weeks as they have made a rhubarb convert out of my husband. 

Happy May and Happy Mother's Day!

Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

Printable Recipe

Makes about 24, depending on how full the muffin cups are filled. 

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Streusel Toppping:

1 tablespoon melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Spray 12 cup muffin pans with non stick baking spray (with flour added - such as Bakers Joy) or line with paper liners.

In a 3 cup bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat the brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended. Stir in the rhubarb and chopped pecans.

In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until blended together.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top, and then sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon or so of the streusel mixture. 

Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing.

Adapted from