Wow. It’s been a while. I’m sorry about that. I don’t even have an excuse for you, just that we’ve been really busy trying to enjoy the spring. We’ve been wandering through Central Park, looking at the flowers. We’ve been standing in line in Madison Square Park to get a ‘shroom burger. We’ve been running along the river. We’ve been growing herbs in pots by the window. We’ve been going to the farmer’s market to buy lots of rhubarb.
Julio liked the flowers but he loved the rhubarb even more, so today I will tell you about that. Specifically, I will be discussing strawberry-rhubarb sorbet. I find fruit sorbets even more refreshing than ice cream on hot days, so this was a perfectly light dessert last Sunday when the weather was particularly sweltering. Plus, the dish managed to keep both its strawberry and rhubarb flavors beautifully, with just the right amount of sweetness. My rhubarb was not very pink, but the strawberries were more than able to balance the color.
We served the sorbet with delicate little cookies called punitions, or punishments. (Legend has it that grandmothers used to call their grandchildren in by letting them know their punishment was ready. I can’t imagine it took much convincing to receive this type of punishment.) These French cookies are thin and buttery, with a sandy texture. Alone, the cookies are a bit plain, but that didn’t stop me from eating plenty of them. With the sorbet, I thought the cookies provided a needed textural contrast, particularly when built into a sorbet sandwich. As a garnish to the sorbet alone, I will choose a crisper cookie next time so that one can have just a bite or two of crunch with the refreshing sorbet.
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
14 oz rhubarb, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2/3 cup (160ml) water
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
10 oz fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Place water, rhubarb, and sugar into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer the mixture for 5-8 minutes. The rhubarb should be tender. Remove mixture from heat and cool to room temperature.
Once the rhubarb has cooled, puree the rhubarb mixture with the strawberries and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Chill the mixture thoroughly (this will take a couple of hours) and then freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the instructions for the ice cream maker.
Adapted from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan
10 Tbsp (140g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Slightly rounded 1/2 cup (125 g) sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
Place the butter in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the butter is smooth. Add the sugar and process until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the egg and continue to process, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the flour all at once, then pulse 10 to 15 times, until the dough forms clumps and curds and looks like streusel. If you don’t have a food processor, feel free to do these steps by mixing by hand.
Gather the dough into a ball and separate it in half. Shape each half into a disk and wrap the disks in plastic. Chill the disks until they are firm, about 4 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can roll the dough out immediately; it will be a little stickier, but fine. The dough can be wrapped airtight and refrigerated for up to 7 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can and place them on lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. You can gather the scraps into a disk and chill them, then roll, cut, and bake them later.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven, or until they are set but pale. If some of the cookies are thinner than the others, the thin ones may brown around the edges, which is fine. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature. This recipe makes ~4 dozen cookies.