in the kitchen with: my tartlette gluten free financiers

This week we are really happy to bring a gluten-free recipe for rhubarb financiers and coconut vanilla ice cream with lemon thyme strawberries to those of you who are used to adapting the usual ITKW recipes to be gluten-free.  Helen from Tartelette was nice enough to make it seasonal and vegetarian as well!  The beautiful colors of the strawberries and rhubarb are a feast for the eyes, as well as the palate.  Like the baklava from a few weeks ago, this is a grand finale, or you can choose one of the elements to make instead.  If you are like me and Helen, you will have to closely guard the financiers if you make them the day before you plan to serve them.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you!  –Kristina

About Helen.   Former pastry chef with a Masters in History, Helen Dujardin grew up in Provence, and moved to Charleston, SC in the late 90s where she works as a food photographer and food stylist. Her photography is an expression of her passion for seasonal fresh ingredients, as well as travel, and people. Helen dedicates herself to the art of food photography and food styling as is evidenced in her stunning work in such publications as: Garden & Gun, Charleston Magazine, Charleston Home, House Calls, and the upcoming cookbook “Deliciously Organic” by Carrie Vitt (September 2010 release), and her award-winning blog Tartelette.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe (and more about Helen) after the jump!

More about Helen: Whenever her work schedule allows, Helen takes time off to travel the country to teach or/and participate in baking and photography workshop. She will hold a panel on food photography at the upcoming Evo 10 conference in Park City Utah, June 24-26 and will  be teaching at the Food & Light Photography Conference in Boulder, CO, June 28th-29th.

Rhubarb Financiers:
(Makes 12)

For the financiers:

1 stick (115g) unsalted butter
1 cup (100gr) unsifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup (60gr) ground almonds
1/3cup (50gr) sweet rice flour
pinch of salt
4 large egg whites
1 cup poached rhubarb (recipe follows)

Preheat your oven to 375F and position a rack in the center. Lightly spray or butter the inside of 12 financiers molds or muffin cups with cooking spray and place them on a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, melt the butter until it turns to a rich hazelnut brown color, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes before straining it to remove the little dark butter particules at the bottom of the pan and reserve.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the powdered sugar, ground almonds and salt on low speed until just combined. Still on low speed, add the egg whites and mix until all the ingredients are coming together. Add the brown butter, increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth.

Divide the batter among your molds, divide the poached rhubarb pieces evenly among the top and bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until golden brown.

For the rhubarb:

1/4 cup water
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 1-inch pieces)
1 tablespoon sugar

Place the water, lemon juice and sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and add the pieces of rhubarb. Poach for 2-3 minutes then gently remove the rhubarb from the poaching liquid and set aside (they will continue to soften as they cool).

Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream With Lemon Thyme Strawberries:

For the ice cream:

1 cups (250ml) heavy cream
2 cups (250ml) whole coconut milk
1/2 cup (125gr) mild honey
1/2 vanilla bean, split open and scraped – seeds set aside

For the Strawberries: (makes enough for 4 people)

2 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons picked lemon thyme (lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint work also really well)

Roughly chop the strawberries into small pieces (easier to eat and scoop than slices most of the time) and place them in a large non reactive bowl. Add the honey and lemon thyme and mix until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before using on the ice cream so the strawberries have the time to release some of their juices.

Prepare the ice cream:

In a large saucepan set over medium low heat, bring the cream, coconut milk, honey and vanilla bean seeds to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, preferably overnight.

Process the mixture into your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once the ice cream has reached soft serve consistency, pour into a freeze proof dish and freeze until firm.

No ice cream maker? No problem! Pour the cream into a freeze proof container and freeze for a couple of hours. Take it out and whip it with an electric mixer or immersion blender, freeze it again, whip it again….do that four or five times. The mixture won’t be quite the same but pretty darn close.

Serve the ice cream with a big scoop of marinated strawberries on top.

Lemon Thyme lemonade:

1/2 cup to 1 cup sugar (we like it a little tart but not everyone does)
5 cups water, divided
1 cup lemon juice
a small handful of lemon thyme stems + a few extra for garnish

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, 1 cup water and the lemon juice to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and throw in the lemon thyme. Let infuse and cool to room temperature. When completely cold, remove the stems of lemon thyme and add the remaining 4 cups of water, stirring to mix. Refrigerate until ready to drink. Garnish with extra lemon thyme if desired.

Why Helen chose these recipes. In August 2008 I was diagnosed with Meniere disease and while doctors are still researching the best treatments, I decided to research possible ways to alleviate the attacks. Going gluten free was one of them and since I made the decision a year ago to be 100%, my attacks have greatly diminished. Enjoying life to the fullest now! I love (re)creating gluten free items like puff pastry, tartes and my personal favorite, financiers, a typical little tea cake from my home country. Rhubarb and strawberries are in full season here in the Lowcountry and they are as juicy and fragrant as they will ever be this season. Too good not to be used in dessert that showcase their best quality and attributes. The soft buttery sweetness of the financier is the perfect counterpart to juicy and tart rhubarb morsels. We grow a lot of lemon thyme at our house which works with savory and sweet but we love pairing it with freshly cut strawberries instead of mint for a little change and lightly infusing lemonade with it for a refreshing drink comes Summer.

  1. Sarah says:

    Um…’financiers’?? Are these people on Wall Street who are interested in majority shares of rhubarb commodities? Because that would be fantastic. But I’m guessing you just meant those nice people who are fanciers rhubarb.

  2. Daniel Shand says:

    Elegant Recipes! Hope to get more updates everyday :)

  3. Jennifer says:

    Haha. Sarah, I thought the same thing! thanks for the clarification.

  4. YUM! thanks for the gluten free lovin.

  5. Mandy says:

    I have just made a mochi cake with sweet rice flour yesterday and wondering what to do with the rest. Now I am definitely going to try the gluten free financiers!

  6. M. says:

    beautiful recipes and gorgeous photos

  7. Tanya says:

    Oh My. These recipes sounds and look soooo good.

  8. I am pretty much obsessed with how beautiful your site is! OMG! Thank you for all of your pretty work. Have a great weekend!

  9. Cindy says:

    I adore everything Helen does but this is particularly gorgeous. Question: where, oh where, did she get those spoons?!?!

  10. Helen says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind words.

    Cindy: the spoons are from Greengate and my mom gets those in Europe and ships them off to me. I have no clue if they ship to the US.

  11. toontz says:

    What a wonderful surprise to check out one of my favorite sites to see another one of my favorite people! As usual, Helen, your financiers look wonderful!

  12. El says:

    Stunning post from an amazing chef. Wish I could get out to Colorado for that photo conference!

  13. Malia says:

    What fun to find gluten free, elegant treats on DesignSponge! Thanks so much

  14. jennu says:

    lovely, but what’s vegetarian about it?

    1. grace says:


      the fact that there’s no meat. we didn’t say vegan, just vegetarian and gluten free.


  15. justcookny says:

    such gorgeous photos. i’ve always been a little shy of rhubarb, but this is changing my mind

  16. Tickled Red says:

    It all looks amazing :) Strawberry field here I come!!

  17. hena tayeb says:

    both the icecream and pastries look so good. I must admit I have never eaten ruhbarb but this looks really delish.

  18. chenoa says:

    this looks quite perfect!!! loveliest thoughts

  19. Lissa says:

    And the cute little cups with the argyle pattern? Where did you get those? Adorable!

  20. Lorraine says:

    I absolutely love the composition of the strawberry photo with the knife. Beautiful.

  21. Sallie says:

    Helen is my cooking hero and someday, I will meet her as we live in the same town. These recipes look fantastic. I, too, am gluten free.

  22. Helen is a very talent pastry chef and fantastic food photographer.

  23. kate says:

    Thank you for including a gluten free recipe… I was so excited to see something i can make without adapting it.

  24. Ginny says:

    beautifully photographed and such delicious recipes! and of course- so g;ad to see gourmet embracing gluten-free…

  25. Lone Muchow says:

    I don’t see in recipe when to add the sweet rice flour, or maybe I’m just blind, please let me know since I’m going to make these tomorrow, being celiac all gluten free recipes are are welcome sight

  26. Amy says:

    Beautiful photographs and the recipes sound delicious! I want dessert now, darnit :)

    I need to know where those mini-loaf wrappers came from! Love them!!

  27. Helen takes the most wonderful photographs! These are beautiful and the recipes are fantastic. I’ve never baked with rice flour but there’s a first time for everything, right?

  28. Megan DeLong says:

    These look beautiful and easy to adapt for vegans too! I’ll sub in vegan vanilla ice cream (but still add the extra vanilla bean b/c I mean, why wouldn’t you? It’s beautiful!), brown rice syrup or maple syrup for the honey, add a drizzle of coconut milk and voila: Vegan tea treats! Thanks Helen!

  29. Helen says:

    Lone Muchow: it goes in with the ground almonds. Sorry.

    Amy: they come from

  30. Helen is an inspirational to all. Her photos and recipes are wonderful. I am happy to know her personally. I can’t wait for the Food and Light workshop next month! Great post here, the recipes sound fresh and fabulous!

  31. Laura says:

    one question…1/2 cup (60gr) ground almonds ….do you mean almonds flour or whole almonds?

    1. grace says:


      I’m pretty sure this means ground almonds- you can use a small grinder for that.


  32. Lone Muchow says:

    oh the rhubarb financiers were soooo good thank you for a wonderful glutenfree and very easy recipe

  33. Estie says:

    I love the little wooden ice cream spoons-any idea where we can locate those? Beautifully done Helen…as always!

  34. Helen says:

    Hi Estie: they are actually recycled jumbo fudge bar sticks from a bo my mother in law had given us. We did not like the bars but I washed and kept the sticks.

    Laura: Kristina said it right, the almonds are already ground from whole, blanched, slivered (whichever you prefer). If you have a package reading almond flour on the label, check that there is nothing added to the ingredients
    Any food processor will do the job. I like coffee grinders for small quantities. Makes it easier to have everything at same texture.

  35. João says:

    Good photos, Good Taste, Good Recipes. Congratulations


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