Yield: 6-8 servings
vanilla bean, split
pound rhubarb, washed, trimmed, tough strings removed
with a vegetable peeler, and cut into 1-inch pieces (discard
the leaves; they are toxic)
cup pitted prunes, halved, if large, quartered
blood or navel oranges, or a combination, peeled, white
pith and any seeds removed
cup (about 5 ounces) fresh raspberries
mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
2 cups of water and the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla bean
in a medium, non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add the rhubarb and prunes and simmer over low heat until
the rhubarb is just, 7-10 minutes. Don't allow it to get
too soft - it will "cook" further while macerating. Using
a slotted spoon, remove the rhubarb and prunes and transfer
to a large attractive serving bowl. Slice the oranges into
thin rounds (if they break apart into little sections after
you slice them, that's perfectly fine), and add them, along
with the raspberries, to the bowl.
the syrup remaining in the saucepan over moderately high
heat until reduced by about half. Remove the cinnamon and
vanilla bean (you can dry the bean and save it for another
use, like burying it in a bowl of sugar to prepare vanilla
sugar) and pour the hot syrup over the fruit. Stir well.
Let the fruit cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate
for several hours. Garnish the compote, if you'd like, with
fresh mint leaves, and serve with the macaroons.
Yield: 25-30 macaroons
1/3 cups (about 12 ounces) hazelnuts (also called filberts),
cup plus 2 Tablespoons white or light brown granulated
teaspoon kosher-for-Passover pure almond extract, or 1
teaspoon hazelnut-flavored liqueur, such as Frangelico,
or another nut-flavored liqueur, such as amaretto (optional)
large egg whites
the oven to 350°F. Toast the nuts. Spread them out in a
single layer on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven, shaking
occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until they are fragrant
and most of the skins have popped. Wrap the nuts in a dishtowel
and let them cool slightly. Rub them vigorously against
each other in the towel to remove most of the loose skins.
Don't bother about the remaining skins, they'll just add
to the flavor.
the nuts are completely cool, grind them with the sugar
in the food processor, using the pulse motion, until chopped
fine. They won't be perfectly ground and they shouldn't
be. With the machine on, add the extract or liqueur if you
are using it, and the egg whites, a little at a time. Process
just enough to combine the ingredients into a smooth paste.
Scrape the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate, covered,
for 15-20 minutes.
the oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
(You will probably need to use either 2 cookie sheets or
work in batches.) Drop rounded tablespoons of batter on
the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Smooth and flatten
the tops slightly with the back of a spoon or your fingertips
(the batter will be quite sticky, so you may have to dip
your finger occasionally in cold water). Bake for about
15 minutes, or until just dry to the touch, puffed, and
beginning to color. Remove from the oven and transfer the
sheet to a rack to cool or slide the parchment paper off.
The macaroons will be very soft but will harden as they
cool. Don't remove the macaroons until they have cooled
completely, then carefully separate them from the parchment.
They store well in airtight containers for at least 5 days.