I woke up this morning craving rhubarb. Lucky for me, the farmers market opened today and I was able to get my hands on three pounds of rhubarb for about the same price as a banana – 10 dollars. Now, I used to hate rhubarb. I hated it for the same reason I dislike many foods: I had never tried it. When I finally did try it, in a pie of course, it was in big meaty pieces and I did not appreciate that bullshit. But the flavor….oh the flavor. Who knew something that looked like that could taste so bright and wonderful! I was determined to make it into something I liked to eat.
I discovered the key to a perfect rhubarb dessert was to dice it (yes it takes way longer but don’t be a lazy asshole, just dice your fucking rhubarb) and make it into a compote. Of course you can slice thinly and add to a pie but a rhubarb compote compliments nearly any delight you can think of – you can add it to a cake or a tart or just spread that shit on toast. Plus it’s way easier than going full pie – which I normally love to do! But damn it’s nice to have bright, citrusy rhubarb compote around.
This isn’t your normal rhubarb and lemon juice compote. I like to do things a little differently around here. Rhubarb is bright and citrusy on all its own, so let’s make it a little spicier. We still need the acidy of lemon juice but instead of lemon juice I add apple cider vinegar. As for the flavor profile, I encourage you to richen the flavor by adding Lyle’s Golden Syrup, ginger, and cinnamon. I promise you will not regret it.
Without further ado – Michelle’s Rhubarb Compote:
- 1/2 a vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks, diced
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup
- 2 tablespoons high quality apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Measure the sugar into a small bowl. Split open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the not sharp side of a pairing knife and add to the sugar. Using your fingers, rub the vanilla seeds into the sugar until it is well mixed and the sugar looks speckled with beans throughout. Then add cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
Dice the rhubarb – you don’t have to be precious about it as it doesn’t need to be perfect. I just want you to resist the urge to cut into giant pieces for the sake of ease. Not only is this ugly AF, the texture is terrible. Once all the rhubarb is diced, rinse it with cool water and then place it into a large pot. Add cornstarch and toss until all the rhubarb is well coated. Add Lyle’s Golden Syrup, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract and the sugar mixture you set aside earlier; mix well.
Cook over medium heat until it starts to thicken, about fifteen minutes, stirring often.
Once it’s bubbling and thick reduce the heat to low and cover, letting cook until it resembles a sauce – this should take about 20 minutes. Test the texture for yourself but it will look something like the below. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days – freeze any leftovers.
And there you have it – rhubarb compote you can use to whatever your heart desires! I will likely eat plain but also plan on adding dollops of it to a brown butter skillet cake. Now, go forth and rhubarb my sweet baby angels!