Recipe: Poached Rhubarb Royale
As rhubarb makes its sweet, tart, hot pink, and sassy way into our farmers market baskets, here’s one easy recipe to transform the odd vegetable into a silky compote. I dare you not to put a blob of this delightful mess all over everything! My mouth is still puckered from eating so much of this glorious dish.
Rhubarb is one of my favorite seasonal ingredients. During its short window, I use it in as many desserts as possible, as well as ladling up a few jars of jam for my winter toast consumption. Its simultaneously tart and sweet flavor is addictive! As a kid, I ate sour candies like it was my job, so it’s no surprise that I crave this distinct taste. Thankfully, rhubarb provides that tickle to the palate naturally.
This easy rhubarb compote gets its surname from the addition of my favorite liqueur, Crème de Cassis. This lovely liqueur, flavored with black currant, is perhaps most famous in the iconic French cocktail, the Kir Royale, but it’s a wonderful item to have around when preparing cooked fruit (or in this case, vegetable) desserts.
Crème de Cassis has a bright, rich flavor that makes it a nuanced addition to any poaching liquid. Its deep red color gives fruits, like strawberries and blackberries, wonderful darkness and a terrific layer of flavor. No one can quite put their finger on the taste, but they know something fancy is going on in your dessert!
The rest of the ingredients — dates, cherry jam, and the rhubarb itself — are not hard to find and make for a naturally sweetened, sublime rhubarb dish. It’s great for breakfast, mixed into a bowl of plain yogurt or oatmeal, and for dessert atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It may even be a nice complement to a pork or chicken dish, although I haven’t tried that. I’ve eaten it straight from the roasting pan and can attest to it being utterly perfect in its purest form!
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes
Serves4 to 6
- 1/4 cup
- 1/4 cup
Crème de Cassis
- 1 tablespoon
dried dates, pitted and thinly sliced
- 1 pound
- 1 tablespoon
unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.
Whisk the jam, Crème de Cassis, sugar, and dates together in a large bowl. Cut the rhubarb lengthwise into 1/2-inch long sticks, then cut crosswise into 3-inches pieces. Add to the jam mixture and toss, evenly coating each piece as best you can.
Pour the rhubarb into a 9x13-inch baking dish, dot with the butter, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Tightly cover with aluminum foil.
Bake until the rhubarb is knife tender, 20 to 25 minutes.The rhubarb will create a lot of liquid, which is lovely served with the compote. Any extra liquid can be reduced in a saucepan over the stove to create a syrup that's delicious for cocktails or pancakes.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.