Rhubarb Soup with Wild Strawberry Beignets and White Pepper Creme Fraiche


1 vanilla beanpod
1 pound rhubarb, cleaned and roughly chopped
6 cups sugar, divided
3 cups water
1 cup red wine
1 cinnamon stick
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pound wild strawberries, hulled, cut into r-inch pieces
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons cinnamon
White Pepper Creme Fraiche (see recipe below), divided
Powdered sugar, divided
Garnish: 20 fresh mint leaves


1. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a medium saucepan; add the pod. Add rhubarb, 2 cups sugar, water, wine, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and adjust sugar to taste. Strain and discard solids. Cover and chill liquid.

3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine strawberries, 4 cups sugar, lemon juice, and water. Simmer about 20 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from direct heat, but keep warm.

4. Heat 3 inches oil in a large cast-iron frypan or deep-fat fryer to 350°.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and 5 tablespoons sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together ricotta, honey, vanilla, and eggs. Fold ricotta mixture into flour mixture just until well incorporated; don’t overmix.

6. Place warm strawberry mixture into a pastry bag.

7. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar.

8. Gently slide heaping tablespoons of batter into hot oil; don’t crowd the pan. Fry until golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon, to paper towels.

9. When beignets are cool enough to handle but still warm, roll them in cinnamon sugar. Then poke the pastry bag into them and fill with strawberry mixture. Repeat with remaining batter.

10. Ladle chilled rhubarb soup into 8 chilled soup bowls. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of White Pepper Creme Fraiche into center of each soup serving. Place warm beignet on top. Dust with powdered sugar and tear fresh mint leaves on top.

White Pepper Creme Fraiche


8 servings

Preparation Time

60 Minutes

Total Time

90 Minutes

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