It’s Spring Fling time again and this week we’re talking about rhubarb. You may remember that I came to know rhubarb for the first time only a couple of years ago, but it’s been a love affair ever since. I love its tart, astringent nature and while most people won’t eat it until it’s been cooked and sweetened, I love to pop a few pieces in my mouth while chopping it up for compote, or pie, or delicious Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers.
To celebrate rhubarb this week, I decided to combine it with some of our extra-sweet local strawberries and a bit of local honey to make a compote. I then layered the delicious compote with extra sliced berries and lightly sweetened whipped cream to make a wonderful new-to-me dessert called a fool. I don’t know why it’s called a fool (although I’m sure Wikipedia does), but move over Strawberry Shortcake, this Strawberry Rhubarb Fool is now my favorite spring dessert!
So what is rhubarb, exactly? Botanically, it’s a vegetable, but it was classified as a fruit by a U.S. Customs Court in 1947. In the United States, it’s widely used in desserts, so I guess the fruit classification kind of makes sense here. According to The Food Encyclopedia, rhubarb is often used in savory dishes in parts of Europe and the Middle East. I’d love to see some savory rhubarb recipes if any of you care to share!
The leaves of the rhubarb plant can be toxic, so if you grow it at home, be sure to use only the stalks in cooking. As you can see from the photo above, some grocery-store rhubarb comes with parts of the leaves attached, so trim the stalks before chopping the rhubarb for this recipe.
Making the Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote is simple and only takes three ingredients: rhubarb, strawberries, and just enough honey to sweeten.
Combine it all in a saucepan with a bit of water and simmer until the fruit breaks down and the mixture thickens a bit.
Once it’s thickened, let it cool, then refrigerate until it’s completely chilled. You can then use this compote for anything! I love it spooned over Greek yogurt and I bet it would be a great addition to Strawberry Shortcake.
My favorite way to use the compote is in this simple, delicious, and beautiful Strawberry Rhubarb Fool. If you prefer, the compote can be gently stirred into the whipped cream rather than layered. It’s delicious and beautiful either way – the choice is yours.
1 pound rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced, divided
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
stevia or powdered sugar, to taste
For the Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote:
Combine rhubarb, half the strawberries (reserve the other half for layering in the dessert), honey, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes until most of the rhubarb has broken down and the mixture has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and let cool then place in a covered container and refrigerate for a couple hours or until completely chilled.
To assemble the Strawberry-Rhubarb Fools:
Whip cream, vanilla, and a bit of stevia or powdered sugar (to taste) until soft peaks form. Layer compote, sliced strawberries, and whipped cream in clear glass dishes, dessert glasses, or wine glasses. Enjoy!
How to Participate in Spring Fling
Have a tip or recipe to share about rhubarb, or one of the other spring farm- or garden-to-table crops on our Spring Fling lineup? Leave your tip or recipe in a comment on this post, and copy it onto the comments on all the participating blogs (listed below) so that the maximum number of people enjoy your idea. Links back to your own blog, or sites you love, are encouraged (older posts are fine). The more the better!
The schedule of weekly themes:
Rhubarb Tips, Tricks, and Recipes from my Spring Fling Friends:
- Jessica at Food2: The Savory Side of Rhubarb
- Sarah at FN Dish: Spring Fling: Rhubarb
- Liz at Healthy Eats: Rhubarb Chutney
- Diane and Todd at White On Rice Couple: Rhubarb Crumb Bars
- Gaby at What’s Gaby Cooking: Rhubarb Margarita
- Margaret at A Way to Garden: Making Sweet Order of Rhubarb
- Sara at Cooking Channel: In Season Rhubarb