Rhubarb Adventure

Ever since I read about Marianne’s rhubarb obsession, I was determine to try it out.  I have heard about rhubarb and how it complements the flavor of strawberry, but I have never tasted it.  My dilemma was that most rhubarbs were sold by bunch at the farmers’ market, how about if I did not like them?  A very friendly vendor  offered me one stalk of rhubarb free of charge, so I went home and made a simple compote out of it.  While the rhubarb was being boiled, I was very puzzled as to how people liked it.  It smelled earthy and it looked like a stalk of celery with the exception of the red root.  This mystery was solved once I tasted it; the refreshing tartness with a hint of earthiness.  I topped the compote on vanilla ice cream and it was amazing on how the tartness of the rhubarb transformed the sweetness of the vanilla into something airy and light.

For sure the adventure did not stop right here.  I thought of incorporating rhubarb into a baked good, but could not determine which pastry I craved.  The solution came shortly after some mental debate:  sponge cake!  The twist to the recipe is that it will be a layered cake, which I have not attempted because the cake is usually devoured shortly after it came out of the oven.  In order for the rhubarb/strawberry layer to stay, generally gelatin is added to keep the mixture together, but in this attempt, I use the pectin from my jammaking to thicken it.  It turned out a lot better than I expected.  The moisture of the cake with the sweet aroma of strawberry.  Rhubarb changes the acidity from the strawberry into a delightful tartness with a hint of earthiness and it adds a bit of texture to the mixture.  

Strawberry rhubarb compote.  Yes, the mixture is scarlet red, the photo is not edited.

Strawberry rhubarb compote with my favorite sponge cake

Strawberry rhubarb filling

  • 3 cups of fruit (1:1 ratio of strawberry to rhubarb)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon pectin
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of calcium water (helps with gelling)
1.  Thoroughly wash strawberry, remove the hulls and cut into small pieces.  Do the same to the rhubarb.
2.  Over medium-low heat, add the fruit mixture and calcium water.  Stir constantly.
3.  Combine sugar and pectin and incorporate both thoroughly.
4.  Add the pectin/sugar combination to a slowly bubbled fruit mixture, and give it good stir.
5.  Once the compote is boiling, remove from heat.


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