There are times when all you need is simple but good, fancy but easy, fresh but cheap. That would be poached rhubarb. Yes, I'm a little obsessed with this vegetable turned fruit; but, seriously, is there anything more wonderful than seeing these green & red stalks at the Farmer's Market or gardens whispering, "yes--summer is coming!" You haven't even begun to see the many uses I've made with this humble stalk.
I needed to make desserts for a banquet of 80+ people this past Saturday. I knew rhubarb would be the star. However, when given full range of what I could make for a dessert is like telling a child they can have any toy in a toy store, but just one. Seriously! Only one of the many calling my name. Options are limitless (well, not quite--there was a budget & time constraints, but you understand--right?!)! I ended up making a deconstructed white chocolate cheesecake with gingersnap crust topped with poached rhubarb.
There are a couple things I love about this poached rhubarb:
- It holds its lovely shape, not being cooked down to mush.
- It's lightly sweetened maintaining that perfect tang we know as rhubarb.
- You can dress it up or down (reminds me of the sales lady at the Gap telling me why the boot cut jean was perfect for the same reasons).
- You can eat it for breakfast & dessert and no one will ever bat an eye.
- It doesn't take that long to make.
Poached Rhubarb (printable recipe)
This recipe was inspired by Tartelette. I am in awe of her photography, many variations of macarons & desserts I salivate over. It's an art form. I have found serving directly on top of plain yogurt to be completely satisfying.
3 cups sliced rhubarb, 1/2 inch slices
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1-2 tablespoons demerara sugar
Directions: Place water, lemon juice & honey over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve honey. Once it boils, add rhubarb. Stir around and allow rhubarb to poach for about 4 minutes. You'll want to be near the stove to keep an eye on it. Don't allow it to cook too long. Once the red parts turn pale and a fork can pierce through (but not mushy through), remove rhubarb from liquid and place in bowl. It will cook a bit longer.
Add demerara sugar to liquid and cook liquid down to a syrup if you'd like, or simply until the sugar dissolves. I think I prefer it to be less syrupy. Top on ice cream, yogurt, cheesecake, or by itself.