When rhubarb finally appears in late spring, it arrives by the armful. A pie, or two or three, is the obvious culinary action. But what do you do with rhubarb when you’re all pied out? Here are three non-pie suggestions for your rhubarb bounty—two edible, one decidedly not.
Compote, a fancy name for stewed or baked fruit, is a simple but versatile option for rhubarb. This recipe, from Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann’s cookbook, Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm (Random House Canada, 2009) provides a delicious base for creative dessert making.
- 1 pound rhubarb, leaves removed, stalks cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp water
In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb, brown sugar and water, stirring to coat. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain fruit and discard juices. (Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days).
Not sure what to do with your compote?
- Get foolish: Swirl compote into lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream for a quick rhubarb fool.
- Sundae special: Forget the chocolate sauce and sprinkles, pour rhubarb compote over good quality French vanilla ice cream and dust with crushed cookies for a treat. Oatmeal or ginger cookies pair well.
Rhubarb ice cream
Want to make your own rhubarb ice cream? Like the fool and sundae, this has the fruit, brown sugar and cream, but all rolled into one tangy frozen treat. It’s so good you might not need the cookies.
- 3 cups rhubarb stalks, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp water
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
Place the rhubarb, vanilla, lemon juice, water, brown sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover and cook until the rhubarb is soft and falling apart, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the cooked rhubarb, along with the liquid, into a non-reactive bowl. Mash with a spoon until the pieces have broken apart but bits of rhubarb remain. Stir in the cream and milk.
Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge. You can put the bowl in the freezer towards the end to make it extra cold.
Churn mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.