Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday Dinner, May 9, 2010: Happy Mother's Day

Favas...I love favas. And luckily many people find them too time intensive to deal with, so they leave us extra bags of favas. Their flavor is earthy but light. Their texture ever slightly so crunchy with some creaminess. When they are young you can cook up the whole pods and puree it for a sauce, but when they are more mature, you must remove them from their pods, blanch them, then peel them. It is labor intensive, but luckily we have 2 little sets of hands that can peel favas with the proper motivation. Dessert always works...

What to have dessert on Mother's Day day? Well this day always says rhubarb to me. It is rhubarb season of course, and I still remember digging out the sweet stewy rhubarb from the pies my Mom used to make. Unadulterated my parents would insist. No strawberries in sight. Rhubarb to me is a comfort taste that brings me back to my childhood, but also is one that is unappreciated for it's versatility. Strawberries are not the only thing that pairs with rhubarb, bananas and mango are some of my favorites. It works splendidly in savory and sweet dishes. It is assertive enough to stand up to rich flavors, but can be prepared to be paired in a lighter manner.

For this dessert I wanted light, dare I say a bit healthy (except all the sugar that went in). It didn't all come together exactly as I would have liked. The ladyfingers were good, but the siphon didn't set the planned espuma. So, we revamped, reused and came up with a new play on tiramisu. The result was rich tasting yet light. Just what I wanted. Happy Mother's Day!


Course One
Sauteed Broccoli Raab, Braised Sweet Carrots and Leeks, Collard Puree and Hard Boiled Eggs

 Course Two
Beef Top Round Sous Vide, Favas with Shitake Mushrooms and Lemon, Fresh Ground Polenta, Verjus Sauce

Course Three
Rhubarb and Banana Tiramisu
Roasted Rhubarb, Roasted Banana, Quark and Greek Yogurt Cream, Cornmeal Lady Fingers


Cornmeal Ladyfingers (Gluten-free)

  • 5 egg whites
  • 4 1/2 oz. powdered sugar
  • 2 oz. good quality fine ground cornmeal
  • 1 oz cornstarch
  • 1 oz. tapioca starch
  • 1/2 oz. sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 t xanthan gum
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 t coconut extract (you can sub vanilla)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
  3. Mix together xanthan gum, cornmeal, starches and rice flour. Set aside.
  4. Beat egg yolks and coconut extract together in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Beat room temperature egg whites in bowl of stand mixer on low until frothy. Add powdered sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form (3-5 minutes)
  6. Fold yolks into egg whites, then gently fold in flour mixture. The mixture should be fully incorporated, but don't over fold or deflate the batter. 
  7. Pipe with a large round tip into strips about 3 inches long. 
  8. Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes, or until they are lightly brown around the edges.
By request here is a quick summary of what I did for the cream. NOT an exact recipe, but especially if you are comfortable riffing, here it is: 

I sprinkled brown sugar (about 1/4 cup) over 3 large very ripe bananas placed in a glass baking dish. Roasted at 350 until it was bubbly and soft - about 20 minutes. (I did this while doing the lady fingers). I bloomed 1 packet of gelatin in a few Tb cold water. Then I blended the bananas and 8 oz. plain quark cheese. I added vanilla sugar to taste, then melted the gelatin by zapping it for 10 seconds in the microwave and added it to the banana base. This was the failed espuma, so if you want to try it, cool this to room temperature. Then fold in 2 cups cold greek yogurt. Taste and add sweetener if you want (I added some honey lavender jam). If you want to make the tiramisu, dip the ladyfingers in rhubarb syrup (you can use warmed, thinned out jam or leftover poaching liquid reduced bit), layer them on the bottom of a glass baking pan. Then add a layer of the cream before chilling, and another layer of ladyfingers, a layer of roasted sugared rhubarb, layer of cream, etc. My tiramisu is topped with powdered freeze dried strawberries, but you can use powdered sugar too.


  1. would you care sharing your recipe for the quark and greek yogurt cream you used for this? i'd love to try it! thanks

  2. I guess a lady has got to have some secrets.

  3. I edited the post and put in what I did for cream... who needs secrets...