From the First of the Year’s Rhubarb: A Compote

rhubarb-strawberrry compoteMaybe you remember the Rhubarb-Rose Preserves I made the year before last? The recipe was inspired by a simple dessert in Margaret Rudkin’s Pepperidge Farm Cookbook. The beauty of Margaret’s dessert, and of my preserves, is that the rhubarb pieces stay intact instead of falling apart, because they’re cooked in the oven rather than on the stovetop.

With my first harvest of rhubarb this spring, I wanted to make a dessert like Margaret’s, but I wanted it red, not greenish. I have one rhubarb plant whose stalks are red both inside and out, but they weren’t ready to harvest yet. All my other rhubarb plants have green stalks with red-speckled skins. I couldn’t add roses to the mix, because none are blooming here yet, and strawberries don’t ripen until June. But I had plenty of strawberries from last year still in the freezer. So I made this lovely dessert:

Baked Rhubarb-Strawberry Compote

1¼ pounds rhubarb stalks, cut into 1-inch lengths
1¼ pounds hulled strawberries
2/3 cup sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the rhubarb, strawberries and sugar together in a baking dish. Bake the compote for an hour or longer, until the rhubarb is quite tender but still intact. There will be a lot of liquid in the dish, but the compote will thicken as it cools.

Serve the compote hot, cooled, or chilled, on its own or with pound cake, shortcake, or ice cream. 

Makes about 4 cups compote 

If the amount of sugar in this recipe seems high, keep in mind that rhubarb is very tart and not noticeably sweet at all.

If you like, add a cinnamon stick or ground ginger along with the other ingredients.

7 thoughts on “From the First of the Year’s Rhubarb: A Compote”

  1. Sounds good. So far I’ve been adding rhubarb and frozen berries to our morning oatmeal. Since we make it overnight in our rice cooker, I just dump in the rhubarb and frozen berries with 1/2 steel-cut oats, 1/2 muesli with the appropriate amount of water, set the timer and enjoy in the morning.

  2. Linda, I look forward to making this compote! Baking rhubarb is a great idea – Here’s how a pastry chef friend of mine (Valerie Hill) does it: Spread 1 pound of rhubarb, cut in one-inch pieces, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup sugar. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Test for doneness with a fork. Cool. At that point, you can simply serve the rhubarb with cream, crumbled cookies or put it in a tart shell. Lots of possibilities.
    Thanks for the great post!

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