Rhubarb and vanilla compote

Rhubarb and vanilla compote

By
From
How to Cook Desserts
Serves
4
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

Baking the rhubarb rather than simmering it in a pan is a good way to keep the pieces relatively intact, which looks beautiful (rather than collapsing to a purée), particularly if using the fine stalks of delicately coloured forced rhubarb, which becomes available early in the year.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g rhubarb, (about 2–3 thick or 4–5 thin stalks)
100ml apple juice or sweet dessert wine
100-150g caster sugar, to taste
1/4-1/2 vanilla pod

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Trim the ends off the rhubarb, then cut the stalks into 2cm pieces and place in a baking dish, in a single or double layer.
  3. Pour the apple juice or wine into a small saucepan, add the sugar and vanilla pod and place over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Occasional gentle stirring will help this process, but avoid splashing the syrup up the sides of the pan. Once dissolved, bring to a simmer for 1 minute, then pour it over the rhubarb.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, then gently stir the mixture without breaking up the rhubarb. Taste the rhubarb and syrup and sprinkle over a little more sugar if it tastes too sharp. Return to the oven until the rhubarb is tender, but still holding its shape.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave the rhubarb to cool in the dish, then discard the vanilla pod. Serve the compote cold or warm with vanilla pannacotta or vanilla ice cream.

Variations

  • To make rhubarb and ginger compote, omit the vanilla. Proceed as above, then stir in a finely chopped piece of preserved stem ginger, along with 2 tbsp of the syrup from the jar, when the rhubarb has finished cooking. Allow to cool.

    To make rhubarb and honey compote, omit the vanilla and mix 100ml apple juice with 2 tbsp honey (clear or set) and bake as above. Sweeten with more honey or sugar to taste once the rhubarb has finished cooking. Allow to cool.

A note on using vanilla pods...

  • A vanilla pod, or part of a vanilla pod, should be slit with a knife down its length to allow the flavour to be released. For a more pronounced flavour, scrape out the seeds and add these, along with the scraped-out pod. Used pods can be rinsed under cold running water, dried and put into a jar of sugar to infuse flavour and make vanilla sugar.
Tags:
leiths
desserts
baking
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