Rhubarb compote

June 1, 2009 at 4:09 am (breakfast, Dessert, F, Fruit, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes)


We had a friend staying with us a while back who was raving about a very simple rhubarb dessert:  stew the rhubarb with a little sugar and water until it falls apart.  To serve, add to a small bowl and pour cold cream around it.  I liked the flavor combination of the sour rhubarb and sweet cream, but the texture was quite odd.  The rhubarb was kind of stringy and a little gelatinous.  Derek, ever couth, dubbed it “rhubarb snot.”  After that, I had trouble finishing the rest of my dish.

In Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast there is a recipe for rhubarb compote with maple syrup and crystallized ginger.  He says to simmer the rhubarb for 5 to 7 minutes until the rhubarb is tender, but not falling apart.  Since he says the rhubarb shouldn’t fall apart, I figured it was safe.  Derek tried to stop me, arguing that the texture was going to be just like the previous attempt, but I wanted to give it a try.  After five minutes, however, my rhubarb had again reached the “snot” stage.  What am I doing wrong?

Berley’s recipe calls for chunks of crystallized ginger.  The recipe doesn’t say so explicitly, but I thought the chunks were supposed to dissolve into the compote.  In 5 minutes, however, they had only softened.  The toothsome chunks seemed odd in the soft rhubarb stew.  Berley says to serve the compote with creme fraiche or sour cream.  I served mine with creme fraiche, and thought it was tasty, better even than the cream.  I’m not sure I could tast the maple syrup though, and unless I bit into a ginger cube I didn’t really taste the ginger.

Rating: D (Unless I figure out the snot thing)

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2 Comments

  1. austingardener said,

    I say turn the stove on high, bring to a boil, shut off and take pot off burner, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. And don’t add cream add a cup of strawberries before you put the lid on.

  2. Tallulah said,

    When cooking rhubarb do not use aluminum, iron or copper pans. Rhubarb has high acidity and will react with these types of metals. The reaction will cause the rhubarb to turn a brownish color and can cause the pan to discolor. It is best to use anodized aluminum, non-stick coated aluminum, or enameled cast iron pans. If the rhubarb is being baked, glass bakeware can be used also.

    An hour before you use your rhubarb, put rhubarb stalks in a container of cold water to hydrate them.

    Strings break down during cooking, but so does texture. If you want texture in your dish, be sure your rhubarb doesn’t cook too long.

    The rhubarb cooked in the oven in a baking dish looks less mushy then when it is cooked on the stove.

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