Rhubarb Napoleon with preserved ginger, vanilla mascarpone and rhubarb sauce – by Charlie Trotter

11 September 2006
Rhubarb Napoleon with preserved ginger, vanilla mascarpone and rhubarb sauce – by Charlie Trotter


(serves four)

350g granulated sugar
500ml water
6 stalks rhubarb
6 sheets wholewheat filo
3tbs butter, melted
2tbs confectioner's sugar
250ml fresh rhubarb juice
125ml fresh strawberry juice
60ml double cream
2tbs julienned ginger root
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise with pulp scraped out and reserved
4tbs mascarpone
2tbs preserved ginger
Mint syrup


Place 225g of the granulated sugar and the water in a medium saucepan. Simmer for three to four minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Cut two stalks of the rhubarb in half. Using a vegetable peeler, peel long, thick strips of rhubarb, the length of the stalk. Add the rhubarb strips to the saucepan and simmer for two minutes, or until they just begin to soften. Immediately remove from the saucepan and reserve the cooking liquid. Lay the strips flat on a non-stick sheet pan, making sure they do not overlap. Bake at 120ºC for 20-30 minutes or until they are lightly golden and appear dry to the touch. Watch them carefully, because they can burn very quickly.

Shortly after removing them from the oven, loosen them from the pan - they should become crisp. Lay flat one sheet of wholewheat filo on a work surface. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Lay another piece of filo on top and repeat with the melted butter and the sugar. Top with one more piece of filo and set aside. Repeat this process to complete another set of three layers. Cut eight two-inch squares from both sets of the filo sheets, for a total of 16 squares.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Lay the filo square on the parchment paper and cover with another piece of parchment and a sheet pan. Bake at 175ºC for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle the top of the filo squares with confectioner's sugar and, using a blowtorch, gently caramelise the sugar (watch closely so that they do not burn).

Place the rhubarb and strawberry juices in a small saucepan with 60g of the granulated sugar. Bring to a simmer and reduce for 20-30 minutes, or until you have about 120ml of juice. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve covered with three layers of cheesecloth. Place the heavy cream and ginger into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and let sit for 15 minutes, then strain and cool. Place the cool cream in a small mixing bowl with the pulp from the vanilla bean. Using a whisk, whip until soft peaks begin to form, add 2tbs of the granulated sugar and whip until firm. Add the mascarpone and whip until incorporated. Refrigerate until used.

Cut the remaining rhubarb into half-inch pieces on the bias. Place the cooking liquid from the rhubarb strips into a medium sauté pan. Add the rhubarb and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for about three to five minutes, or until the rhubarb is tender.

To assemble, place a teaspoon of the mascarpone cream, two pieces of the rhubarb and a piece of the julienned ginger in the centre of each plate. Place a filo square on top and layer with the mascarpone cream, rhubarb and preserved ginger. Continue until you have four layers of the Napoleon. Top the final layer with some of the mascarpone cream and a piece of rhubarb. Lay a piece of ginger at the base of each side of the Napoleon and lay a strip of the dried rhubarb against each side, pointing up. Spoon some of the rhubarb sauce, mint syrup and a dash of the preserved ginger around the Napoleon.

Charlie Trotter

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