Katie Stew

A rich, simmering blend of my favorite things

Rhubarb Compote


Spring is in the air.

I know that for most people, it is probably summertime, but here in Seattle, it still feels very much like Spring. For that matter, the last few weeks still felt pretty wintry. However, this weekend it was lovely out. I went to the farmer’s market on Sunday, resolved that it would be another week of buying greens and potatoes, since that is all there has been for months, and was surprised to see the things of spring and summer flooding the stands.

Rhubarb. It was so bright and happy looking. Fresh red stalks begging me to bring them home. There were even the first strawberries of the year at the market and the first Rainier cherries. I was so excited. I bought them all and planned on making some kind of strawberry rhubarb treat.

However, it didn’t take me long to realize that I just wanted to eat all the strawberries, plain and fresh. So yummy. So what do to with the beautiful rhubarb?

Rhubarb on my kitchen table in the afternoon light through my lace curtains.

I found the answer in my copy of “Rustic Fruit Desserts” by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. They had a recipe for Rhubarb Compote that looked so simple, I had to go for it. I adapted their recipe, since I didn’t have all the ingredients they recommended, but I was thrilled with the result.

What is a compote you might ask?

Well, I didn’t know either. Apparently, it simply means a dessert of fruit that is cooked in syrup. Sounds good right? This recipe was absurdly easy and you end up with a substance that is like pie filling. The rhubarb is soft, sweet, but still very tart and tangy. It went very well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and tomorrow I plan on having it for breakfast over yogurt. It needs something sweet and creamy to go with it to cut the tanginess of the rhubarb.

So when you have some rhubarb on your hands that you’re not sure what to do with, give this a try. It tastes like spring and will brighten your dessert and your day. And the best part? It only takes about 20 minutes.

The original recipe in “Rustic Fruit Desserts” was for a much larger amount of rhubarb. I cut the recipe down and simplified.

Rhubarb Compote

1 lb rhubarb (about 2 cups prepped)

1/3 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons sugar

Prep rhubarb by trimming the ends and then cutting in half lengthwise. Then cut into 3/4 inch pieces.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat orange juice over medium high heat until reduced by about half.

Add sugar and stir to dissolve.

Add rhubarb, mix, and then cover and simmer for the next 10 minutes.

Store and serve either warm or cold over ice cream or with whipped cream.


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