I’ve never worked with rhubarb before; it may or may not have been due to the fact that their leaves are poisonous. During my first year of uni, I remember talking tactics to a friend about how to get rid of a stalker guy who was obsessed and madly in love with her; I had joked about feeding him rhubarb leaves (I know it’s just plain right mean but I’d never follow through with it). That was about 5 years ago.. It was only recently that I finally decide to cook with it, I simply couldn’t resist the vibrant red hues.
Still not knowing 100% what to make, I sent out a tweet to get some ideas following, jams and pastries seemed to be the most common ideas. I love the thought of making jams but I’m still a little paranoid about the entire sterilisation process of the jars; maybe it’s the scientist in me, but I’d hate for food to spoil due to mould and improper sterilisation.. Maybe I should use an autoclave to ease my doubts; or even use the pressure cooker – if anyone has done this please let me know.
So I decided to make pastries instead as it is something I know I’ll be more confident with. I came across a recipe for blueberry hand pies and thought to myself that I could make these with rhubarb instead. When filling the dough with the rhubarb mixture, don’t be tempted to overfill because when you fold the dough there will be an overflow of rhubarb mixture oozing out from the edges; which makes for an untidy work bench and possible exploding turnovers. Speaking of which, one way to prevent your turnovers from exploding is by making small splits in the dough once the edges are sealed and brushed ; this is to ensure that steam can escape from the pastry. I didn’t do this so some cracked and slightly exploded.. Whoops!
As I was thinking of sharing these turnovers with friends, I thought the only way they’d enjoy these would be to have them warm and straight out of the oven. Obviously by the time I would give theses out, they probably won’t be as warm anymore so I decided to wrap each turnover separately in a make-do paper parcel, freeze them and provide brief instructions on how to prepare them.
The slightly tangy and sweet rhubarb filling is mellowed out by the buttery and crispy pastry; these treats are best served warm.
Adapted from The Pastry Affair
Makes ~16 individual turnovers
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
225g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup ice water
3 rhubarb stalks (220g), roughly sliced
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup water
1 egg yolk
Raw or demerara sugar, for garnish
For the pate brisee (to be made at least an hourin advanced)
- Mix flour, salt, and sugar until combined.
- Add the chilled, cubed butter and rub or blend the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand.
- Add ice water and mix together until the dough holds together when squeezed. (Avoid overmixing! If needed, add more ice water by the tablespoon until the dough reaches this consistency.)
- Form dough into 2 logs, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using. (Dough may be stored up to 1 month when frozen.)
For the rhubarb filling
- Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, coat the rhubarb with lemon juice. Sprinkle on the sugar mixture and stir until the rhubarb is evenly coated.
- Add water to the saucepan and cook the mixture on medium heat for 10 minutes until rhubarb has soften slightly. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk with two tablespoons water (or milk).
- Roll out chilled pie dough to a thickness of 3mm (1/8 inch). Cut out circles approximately 15cm (6 inches) in diameter.
- Brush egg wash on edge of dough circles, fill center of dough circle with 1 tablespoon of cooled rhubarb filling, fold dough in half, and seal the edges with a fork.
- Chill turnovers for at least 1/2 hour before baking.
- Preheat oven to 190C (375F).
- Remove pies from refrigerator and brush with remaining egg wash. Sprinkle on sugar and cut a small slit in the top of each pie to let out steam (this is important, as I didn’t do this some of the turnovers exploded).
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until pies are golden brown and flaky. Either serve warm or cool.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.