Monday, May 4, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

My mom should be in the running for the title of "Best Pie Baker in the U.S. of A." I'm not kidding. I've eaten homemade slices all over this country and nary a one has held a candle to Mom's pastry perfection. I know, I know. Lots of people think their moms' pies are the best but this is for reals. I've seen complete strangers look up in utter disbelief after taking a bite. The secret is in her impossibly flaky crust, plus her fillings are never too sweet. And her famous apple pie is always served still slightly warm. Living on opposite coasts proves especially difficult this time of year - I'm talking about rhubarb season. Her garden fresh strawberry rhubarb pie is heavenly while her single crust rhubarb custard pie is down right celestial. Try as I may, I'll never attain such a level of baking greatness. Thank God for compote.

Strawberry rhubarb compote is one of the easiest, most delectable desserts imaginable. I've started adding both lemon zest and juice to mine, which imparts a refreshing depth of flavor. As opposed to gently spooning compote over ice cream, I prefer a bowl full of warm sauce with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream in the middle, just for contrast.

I may not be turning out nationally acclaimed pies, but this compote certainly holds its own.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
The combination of tart rhubarb, sweet strawberries and refreshing lemon create a compote with flavorful depth. Eat alone, with ice cream or over chicken.

4 stalks rhubarb, washed and trimmed
1 lb strawberries, washed and hulled
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

With a sharp paring knife, strip and discard the outer fibrous layer of the rhubarb stalks. Cut the stalks into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a medium sized saucepan.

Cut strawberries into quarters and add to rhubarb. Sprinkle with sugar and lemon zest. Being careful to av
oid seeds, squeeze lemon juice over fruit. Toss well.

Over medium-high heat, bring fruit to a simmer, stirring often to dissolve the sugar (the rhubarb will release a lot of liquid). Continue cooking until rhubarb is soft and the liquid has reduced a bit, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve warm with ice cream.

1 comment:

Devon said...

In the late spring, I sometimes buy too many berries. This compote is an easy and delicious solution. Thank you.