Only for a short while we have the pleasure of rhubarb enriching our palates. It used to be my grand dad’s spring highlight and after trying my first ever warm rhubarb compote with vanilla ice cream, it became mine too. Every year I look forward to the season.
Rhubarb actually is a vegetable, which came as a surprise to me because I mostly have it as a compote or in cakes and puddings. I love to combine rhubarb and strawberries – such a classic combination. The sweetness from the strawberries makes up for the sour edge of the rhubarb.
A word to oxalic acid, which is found in toxic amounts in the leaves but in tolerable amounts in the stalks. That’s why you never find rhubarb with leaves on in the supermarkets. Oxalic acid may worsen arthritis and favour the build-up of kidney stones, so best to avoid rhubarb if you are suffering from any of these conditions. The oxalic acid load is lowest in the young and tender rhubarb stalks at the beginning of the season. It is important to note that small children and pregnant women are advised to avoid rhubarb altogether.
Tip for buying rhubarb: the fresh stalks should be firm and shiny and have a bright red and pale green colour. When you get home, wrap the rhubarb in a damp kitchen towel and store in the fridge. Ideally use within a couple of days. If you want to extend the season, simply cut fresh rhubarb stalk into pieces, place in re-usable plastic bags and freeze.
Ingredients: Serves 2-3
- 250g fresh rhubarb – washed and sliced
- 100g fresh strawberries- washed and quartered
- 5 dates – roughly chopped
- 2 dried apricots – roughly chopped
- 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup or honey
- Juice of 1/2 an orange ( the rest of the juice make a delcious vitamin C shot 🙂 )
For the crumble:
- 1 cup of ground almonds
- 1 cup of oats
- 1/2 cup of spelt flour
- 35g brown sugar
- 2 tbsp of poppy seeds
- 75g of cold butter ( cut into cubes)
1. Preheat the oven at 175C/155 fan. Wash the rhubarb, cut off the dry ends and any marks it may show. Then cut it into 2cm pieces. During the process you will find that some the skin comes off, please set aside as it can be added to the compote. Wash the strawberries, remove the little green tops, cut into quarters.
2. Next, prepare the dried fruit and vanilla pod. Roughly chop the dried fruit and place medium size pot. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add both to the dried fruit. Add orange juice, 2tbsp of water, rhubarb and strawberries. Bring to a boil and simmer for 6-8 minutes until the rhbuarb is soft but still keeps its shape. Take off the hob and set aside.
3. To make the crumble, simply place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter cubes and rub into the dry ingredients until you get a breadcrumb like texture.
4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and scatter the crumble onto the sheet. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. For and even baken, give the crumble a good stir halfway through the baking process. Serve the compote with natural yoghurt topped with crubmle.
Making the crumble seperate is a fabuolous idea as it keeps in a jar for a good two weeks. I like to blend the cooled crumble with a spice grinder to get a finer texture. It looks super nice and you naturally use less of the crumble, which helps reduce sugar consumption 🙂