strawberry-macarons-rhubarb-dessert

Strawberry and Rhubarb Gratin

I’m just back from the market in St Germain-en-Laye. It’s a luxury to pop up there on a Friday morning, as today was treated as a pont. Yesterday was an official French holiday for Ascension, so Lucie’s school had the day off today to make le pont – or bridge – over the weekend. It was a lovely idea, but not all of us managed to dance on that bridge, as my eldest still had school and with hubby at work, I grabbed the opportunity to have extra helping hands and stock up on the latest culinary stars on the catwalk.

As the Cannes Film festival is underway in the South, strawberries are currently given the red carpet treatment at the market here up North. Entering the producers’ labyrinth, the gariguettes were paraded, as the mara des bois had already been cleaned out. This stand had it sussed: with their lids firmly in place, it sent a message to all French shoppers not to touch and sniff these gariguettes. Instead we stood in the queue and gaped at the prize-winning beauties behind them. What variety were they?  They didn’t have any. They were just strawberries, I was told. Quoi? Because they’re Portuguese.

Tasting one, it reminded me of picking strawberries as a child in Scotland (although the ones in Scotland were better!) It took 3 bites to finish it. Hm. ‘They’re not that sweet,’ I told the vendeur. Immediately, he knocked a couple of euros off the price, just as I was thinking how perfect they would be for a gratin.

With punnets of fraises Charlotte, gariguettes, ciflorettes (another conical sweet variety), and a tray of these oh-so-plainly-enormous strawberries, we could just about cope with balancing some rhubarb under the arm. As I have many more ideas for macarons in store for you, I need to use up some egg yolks. Don’t you love excuses like this? I love this simple dessert since it’s a quick, creamy fruity number that can be whisked together in half an hour.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Gratin Recipe

Serves 6

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 18 minutes

400g strawberries,
300g rhubarb (or 2-3 large sticks)
75g sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp crème fraîche, or thick cream

1. Peel the rhubarb using a sharp knife, taking off all the stringy fibres. Wash well then cut into chunks.

2. In a pan, cook the rhubarb chunks and 40g sugar with 150ml water. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

3. Leave to cool.

4. Wash and hull the strawberries. Cut the bottoms off so they can stand neatly in a dish. If the strawberries are particularly big, cut them in half. Place the strawberries around the outside of 6 gratin dishes, and pile the rhubarb in the centre.

Now for the French makeover – time to be get saucy then be grilled

5. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy. Whisk in the crème fraîche (or thick cream) and vanilla essence.

6. Pour over the fruit then place under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Gratin dessert - with poppy and rhubarb macarons

Enjoy with some poppy macarons (update: the recipe for Poppy and Rhubarb macarons is in my new book, Teatime in Paris!) on the side and you have a gluten-free, stress-free dessert. Voilà. Simplicity where oh-so-sweet strawberry meets acidic-but-comforting rhubarb. All it needs is some bubbly and we’re really talking red carpet treatment, n’est-ce pas?

Update

Is your rhubarb too green like this? Why not replace steps 1-3 with my rhubarb compote recipe using hibiscus fruit tea!

36 replies
  1. FreeSpiritEater
    FreeSpiritEater says:

    This strawberry rhubarb gratin looks incredible! When I was in St. Lucia and they had chocolate macarons on display as part of a chocolate buffet I smiled and immediately thought of you Jill. Have a lovely weekend!

    Reply
  2. Liz
    Liz says:

    Now why have I never baked with strawberries? And adding rhubarb makes this gratin even better! What a lovely combination. And I’m certain the Scottish strawberries are the best…I remember the raspberries….mmmmmmmm. xo

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Yep – the Scottish strawbs and rasps are still the best in my opinion…even better when sneaked behind the farmer’s back 😉

      Reply
  3. Parsley Sage
    Parsley Sage says:

    So, will you shake your head in a shame at me if I told you I thought Gratins were always savory? You’ve just blown my mind! Lovely dish, darling! And I’m impressed with your bargaining skills! I’d have been too shy to say anything!

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Too funny – and bargaining skills? Don’t be impressed with just 2 euros – although I do love it when you get tastings. Few and far between these days!

      Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Oh you lucky people who can’t get rhubarb – I suppose that means you have too much sunshine? Why don’t you replace it with mango? No need to even cook it to a compôte – why not just chop up a ripe and juicy mango finely and serve with the strawbs and gratin, Marsha?

      Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      You don’t have rhubarb? Gosh, have you too much sun or something? It will be just great with strawbs alone – assured, Ivy.

      Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Bargaining technique? Antoine was brought up in the Ivory Coast and when I went to the market, had NO idea about bargaining. I still don’t get it. See? Taken me 20 yrs and only get 2 euros knocked off. Backward Scottie, eh?

      Reply
  4. parisbreakfast
    parisbreakfast says:

    This is sooooo gorgeous!
    You are brill to come up with this. Who needs dinner when you have this gratin.
    I saw strawbs in April but thought it must be too early for them to be good.
    Evidently not
    Exquise comme toujours J
    xxCarolg

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I still need dinner. We had canard before it. Loving all the strawbs just now. I need to get back to the market and get the mara des bois.

      Reply
  5. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Hi Jill! Strawberries and rhubarb! Sounds like a great combination! I love your stress-free dessert (you know why I said that! 😉 ). If you make macarons using egg whites these will be a nice counterpart for egg yolks! Have a great weekend!!!

    Reply
  6. Tina@flourtrader
    Tina@flourtrader says:

    It looks like your strawberries there are better sized than here in the US. Ours are getting too big and not very tasty. I like the little ones. Also, your dessert looks amazing. The method of setting under a grill is unusual but it does give the dish a nice toasty look. So tempting, I wish I had just a scoop of it to try. Delicious post. Have a great weekend Jill.

    Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      Thanks, Tina. I should have mentioned that you could also finish it off by blasting it quickly with a blowtorch for some extra fun. It’s toasty, sweet delicious.

      Reply
  7. Thomasina
    Thomasina says:

    M&S have Scottish strawberries so I’m off now to buy them as well as rhubarb. What a really healthy dessert – thanks so much Jill for the idea. Not nearly exciting as the market at St Germain en Laye but it has rained here all day so an excuse to go out and make this.

    Reply

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  1. […] were definitely to be sniffed at.  Again; and again; and again.  Who feels a lightly toasted strawberry gratin coming […]

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