For me, nothing announces spring’s arrival like rhubarb. One day it’s brisk and cool outside and the next day every restaurant has rhubarb on the menu. I’ve used those neon pink and green stalks in a variety of ways, from pickling to baking, but my favorite combination remains cooked with strawberries and sugar until soft and jammy. I’m sure this is because of my fond memories of the strawberry rhubarb pie my grandmother used to make. I remember how exotic the combination seemed at the time, especially since I’d never had rhubarb in any other way nor could I have identified it in a lineup.
While this compote tastes great on hot buttered biscuits and over ice cream (and of course, inside a homemade pie crust), it’s perfect spooned over vanilla panna cotta. And truly quick and easy to prepare. I like to cut back on the sugar in the compote so it adds a bright, tart addition to the creamy and sweet panna cotta. If you prefer a sweeter combination, add another ¼ to ½ cup sugar to the compote.
adapted from Faith Durand's Bakeless Sweets
- Panna Cotta:
- 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1 packet powdered unflavored gelatin (3 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- pinch of salt
- Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
- 2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1-2 tbs water (if needed)
- For the panna cotta:
- Pour 2% milk in a saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Allow gelatin to soften for 5 minutes.
- Stir gelatin into milk until well dissolved and no gelatin granules are present on the bottom of the pan (tilt the pan to check and see).
- Heat milk over medium heat and add sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. Don’t let the milk boil.
- Add vanilla bean seeds (if using) and wisk until combined.
- Remove from heat and wisk in cream and salt (also add vanilla extract, if using).
- Divide evenly between six containers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
- For the strawberry rhubarb compote:
- Add rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.
- Stir to combine and add 1-2 tablespoons water if the mixture isn’t producing juice right away.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb has softened and juices are jammy, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Serve panna cotta with cooled compote spooned over the top.
If you prefer to serve panna cotta unmolded, lightly spray containers first with non stick baking spray, wiping away any excess. Prior to serving, place containers in warm water to help loosen the panna cotta from the containers. A sharp pairing knife helps as well.