Berry Vanilla Rhubarb Compote
One of my long-awaited yearly spring flings just happens to be with Rhubarb. I love
rhubarb so much we named our dog Rhubarb. Did you know that one rhubarb plant
in your garden will produce fruit every spring for 20 years or more? So go treat
yourself and buy one. You can probably find one for around 10 dollars, which is a
steal since buying fresh rhubarb at the grocers will cost you a pretty penny.
Photograph by Reena Newman
MAKES: 8–10 servings
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 8–10 minutes
1 vanilla bean, or 1 Tbsp vanilla (extract added in Step 4.)
3 cups (750 mL) chopped rhubarb
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) honey or maple syrup
2 Tbsp (30 mL) water
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 star anise
1⁄2 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh grated ginger
1 1⁄2 cups (375 mL) raspberries, blueberries or strawberries
1 1⁄2 cups (375 mL) pitted cherries
1–2 Tbsp (15–30 mL) orange flower water or 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) orange oil or zest of half an orange (optional)
Split the vanilla pod lengthwise with a paring knife and, using the back of your knife, scrape out the seeds from inside. Add scraped seeds and pod into a medium-sized saucepan.
Add chopped rhubarb, honey, water, lemon juice, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger slices. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 3–5 minutes, or until rhubarb starts to soften.
Stir in berries and cherries and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Rhubarb and berries will break down. Cherries should remain intact but tender.
Remove from heat and stir in the orange flower water, oil or zest (if using). Remove the vanilla pod, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze.
• Compote is simply whole or chopped fruit cooked with water and sugar to the desired consistency, so you can easily customize this recipe according to whatever fruit is in season.
COOL FACT: ORANGE FLOWER WATER MAY BE EVEN COOLER THAN ORANGE OIL
Orange flower water (or orange blossom water) captures the essence of orange blossoms. It is wonderfully fragrant, almost like perfume. It can be found in most gourmet food shops and is something I do like to splurge on. A bottle will last me up to a year and for any foodie, it makes a great gift.