Here in London it finally feels like spring – warm weather and (dare I say it) – sunshine! The shops are also overflowing with rhubarb. As I may have mentioned last year, I’m a little obsessed with rhubarb. But for some reason, I didn’t blog about many of my rhubarb treats last year, so get ready for a whole bunch of rhubarb recipes this spring!
I’m starting with a rhubarb compote. Compotes are something I came to love while living in Paris. Compote de pommes, while sounding tres sophisticated, is really just applesauce. The basic idea with a compote is to put fruit, water and sugar in a saucepan, and cook it down into a puree. You can leave it slightly chunky, or puree it through a sieve to make it completely smooth.
The beauty of a compote is that you can make it from almost any fruit. It’s a kitchen secret that compotes are a brilliant way to use up seasonal fruit just past its prime. How to eat a compote? Some compotes are eaten on their own as dessert – like compote de pommes. But with a tart compote like rhubarb, I prefer to serve it with sweeter foods. You can serve compotes beside cakes (especially pound cake), or madeline-type cakey cookies, poured over ice cream, or even on your breakfast oatmeal!
My favorite way to use a compote is with plain yogurt. A sweet, tangy compote poured over thick greek yogurt is better than any fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt you can buy.
This recipe was inspired by a basic compote de rhubarbe recipe, but I’ve incorporated a bit of rose syrup from La Grande Epicerie in Paris. I realize you probably don’t have rose syrup, so you might try substituting several tablespoons of rose water for the plain water in the recipe. Rhubarb and rose … like a burst of English summer garden in my early-spring kitchen! Enjoy.
Compote de rhubarbe et rose (Rhubarb Rose Compote)
Adapted from Francoise Bernard, Recettes faciles
2 c. (300 g) rhubarb, sliced
1/2 c. water
2-3 TB powdered/icing sugar
Rose syrup (optional. Could substitute 2 TB. rose water for some of the regular water)
Put the rhubarb and water in a pan, and bring to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. The rhubarb should fall apart and be the consistency of a slightly chunky puree.
I prefer thinner rhubarb compote to use as a sauce over yogurt or with cake. However, if you prefer to eat your compote with a spoon, you may want to remove the lid of the pan and boil for 10 min or so, to reduce the compote until it’s thicker.
Remove from heat. If you’re using rose syrup, add 2 TB of syrup now and stir well.
Finally add 2-3 TB of powdered sugar, stirring well to incorporate. Taste the compote to adjust the sweetness.
Makes approximately 1 1/2 c. of rhubarb rose compote.