To me, one of the true harbingers of spring is the sight of my rhubarb leaves tentatively reaching up towards the sun. Soon, I know they’ll be producing non-stop throughout the summer, and whatever I can’t use fresh will go straight into the freezer. This recipe is a great way to use the ruby-red stalks, whether fresh or frozen. And the Coriander Cream, made by infusing freshly ground Indian Coriander seed into heavy whipping cream, has an insanely addictive taste. Using the seeds un-toasted reveals their delicate citrusy flavor, which blossoms throughout the cream. There’s endless ways to serve this modern take on the classic Rhubarb and Custard dessert: it can be served on top of a tender biscuit, shortcake style, layered into a trifle with a vanilla sponge cake, or spooned straight up in a small bowl with an Orange Pistachio biscotti alongside for crunch. One further note: since rhubarb is very acidic, it should not be cooked in a metal pan, such as cast iron or aluminum, since the acid will react with the metal and cause the rhubarb to become discolored and off-tasting.
Rhubarb Compote with Indian Coriander Cream
- 1 pound fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1-2” pieces
- 2/3 cup sugar
- fresh lemon juice, to finish
- 1 tablespoon Indian Coriander seeds
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine rhubarb and sugar in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake, stirring occasionally, till rhubarb becomes soft, but is still pink and holds its shape. Finish with a drizzle of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Let cool and keep refrigerated.
- Roughly grind the coriander seeds in a spice grinder for 3 seconds (or by hand with a mortar and pestle). In a small saucepan combine the seeds with the cream and sugar. Gently heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 1 hour.
- Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Chill thoroughly, then whip to desired thickness. Cream will keep, refrigerated, for 1 week.
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