Despite Rhubarb’s nonchalance, his reaction to the over-filled mesh strainer of blueberries is ripe with disdain. “Isn’t it a touch early in the season for blueberry pie?
“Not really,” I reply without looking up from Ottolenghi’s brilliant dessert collection, Sweet. “Ooooo, maybe this…” I hold up the glossy photo of a blueberry and rhubarb galette. Rhubarb yawns.
Rhubarb and I have arrived at that mid-season juncture where he knows I’m a little restless, focusing on the next best taste of summer. Far less threatened by a windfall of local strawberries, the tart vegetable has learned to respect his cohort in pie, considering the two of them simpatico. When blueberries, raspberries, and particularly peaches, inch their way toward the spotlight, Rhubarb tends to get his leaves in a snit.
Trying to explain to the candy striped vegetable that he shares something in common with the indigo berry falls on deaf ears. “The two of you belong together!” I exclaim. “You’re both jam-packed with antioxidants. And,” I continue, waving the strainer of blueberries under cold water, “this galette requires very little fuss.” Rhubarb sneers. “Fuss? You mean all those ridiculous pastry cut-outs stashed in the freezer? What are they supposed to represent, exactly? Don’t you have better things to do with your post-pandemic days than cut little flowers out of pate brisee?” He does have a point. I continue. “You should be excited to spend time with someone other than Strawberry. Listen, I’m a huge fan of the two of you together, but after a while, the pairing becomes a bit, you know, pedestrian. Haven’t you noticed that blueberries complement your ruddy complexion?”
Rhubarb replies quietly, “Strawberry is the Harriet to my Ozzie. Why must you ruin a good thing?”
I decide to start the galette party without the pie plant. Ottolenghi’s recipe calls for crushed Amaretti cookies, but I’m forced to substitute Savoiardi biscuits and almonds. Rhubarb is familiar with the recipe, belaboring the obvious. “You’re not even following the recipe! It specifically says Amaretti cookies! Savoiardi are for tiramisu. Are you making tiramisu? And shouldn’t you pre-heat the oven before you get all fixated with your non-Amaretti cookies and your little pastry cut-outs? Did you even whisk together your egg wash?”
Placing the biscuits and almonds in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the blade attachment, I bite my tongue. Adjusting the oven racks and cranking up the oven to 400 degrees, I watch Rhubarb inching closer toward the open cookbook. “Do you see the title of the recipe? It clearly says Rhubarb and Blueberry Galette. Chef Ottolenghi has definitely given me top billing.” Looking up from the butcher block table where I'm shaping a circle of pastry into a 12” round, I ask the sassy vegetable, “Does this mean you’re willing to participate?” Rhubarb shrugs. “There’s more of me in a zip-loc bag in the freezer. Just one thing…” the pie plant adds. “When you get to the part where you pleat the pastry and you attach those ridiculous pastry flowers, I’d prefer you place them closer to the blueberries. I’m allergic to flowers not found in nature.” Whisking together an egg with a little water and a pinch of salt, I nod. “Understood.”
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm