Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Recipe 15: Rhubarb, Apple and Ginger Compote

Rhubarb is without doubt my favourite fruit..even though its a vegetable. I love its colour and the fact that it goes well with so many things like pastry, spices, creamy things or other fruits. It has a short, natural, season which is just beginning here in Northern Europe. Forced rhubarb, when it is grown in a dark, protected area, is now apparently quite common and means its available all year round but even knowing this I havent been able find it yet.
This is a recipe from an old issue of the Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine which I used to do quite alot. Its works superbly as a 'prepare ahead' dinner party dessert with the biscuits and some ice cream or cream. For breakfast its lovely with porridge or muesli instead of the biscuits.

For 6-8
Rhubarb, Apple and Ginger Compote
2 golden delicious apples (about 325g) peeled cored and cut into 5mm thick slices.
50g crystallised ginger
150g caster sugar
Juice and rind of 1 orange. Remove the pith and cut the rind into julienne.
600g trimmed rhubarb stalks, cut into 4cm lengths

Combine apples, ginger, sugar, orange juice and rind in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then simmer gently 5 mins or until apples begin to soften. Add rhubarb, cover and cook gently over medium heat for 10-15 mins or until rhubarb pieces are soft but still have their shape. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.

Ginger Shortbread
100g soft unsalted butter
2 T very finely chopped crystallised ginger
40g caster sugar
100g plain flour
2 T rice flour
2 T corn flour
makes about 16 meduim sized shortbread
Use an electric mixer, beat butter, ginger, sugar and a pinch of salt until smooth. Stir in combined flours in two batches. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll dough between two peices of parchment until 4mm thick then using cutters or a sharp knife, if you are feeling artistic, cut out shapes. Place on greased trays in the oven at 180C for 8-10 mins or until firm to touch. They will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks so I normally make a double batch as they are delicious.

It is more popular in some countries to use rhubarb as a savoury rather than treat it as a fruit. Have any of you ever used it in a savoury dish?


Blogger Elaine said...

Sounds like my type of dessert. I've never cooked Rhubard. Any tips on "trimming" the stalks? Do I need to peel them? Or its just like prepping celery? And those ginger shortbreads look adorable paired up next to your pinky compote

22 March, 2007 10:29  
Blogger Kate said...

No trimming necessary. I know some recipes ask for it but i think its an old fashioned request. Just cut the ends to remove any green. The other important thing which you may already know is the leaves are poisonous so dont go chowing down on them.
Look for strong pink/red colour the deeper the better. A little further into the season the colour is richer biut when they are at thier best they seem to be finished the next week.
The forced rhubarb is supposed to be lovely and sometimes called champagne rhubarb for its superior flavour so as you can imagine I am hanging to try it.
Cooking it is easy and the texture is divine once it softens.

23 March, 2007 14:00  
Blogger Jer said...

Sounds great Kate. I too have never cooked with rhubarb but am excited to give it a try. I'm with Elaine this week in Chicago so hopefully we can try it together.

24 March, 2007 00:46  

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