Monday, May 31, 2010

Rhubarb And Marmalade Compote With Almond Vanilla Ice Cream

I lived in Michigan for a few years as a little boy. I lived with my grandmother and her husband at 1819 Teel Avenue in Lansing. It was a humble home in a working class neighborhood. There was a garden in the backyard and in the summer rhubarb grew there in abundant quantities.

I would often go out back and tear off a stalk. My grandmother would trim the edges, wash it for me, then sprinkle some sugar on top. It was such a great snack, with the tartness of the rhubarb balanced by the sweetness of the sugar. A balance of opposites, I guess.

Below is a recipe I made for my friends this weekend. There are some great flavors and textures to be found inside each ramekin. I wasn't able to find fresh rhubarb, but some frozen rhubarb worked great.

Rhubarb And Marmalade Compote With Almond Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/2 pounds fresh rhubarb
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant tapioca
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim the rhubarb to 1/2" pieces. (Frozen rhubarb is already trimmed to this size.)

2. In a large bowl mix rhubarb with sugar, tapioca and marmalade. Divide rhubarb among 6-8 ramekins and place on a baking sheet. Reserve the juice in the bowl.

3. Bake rhubarb until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

4. Meanwhile scoop out one ice cream ball for each ramekin. To get a good ball, use an ice cream scooper and well as your hands to mold and shape. Place ice cream balls on baking sheet and place in freezer for at least 15 minutes.

5. Toast almonds in a small saute pan. Place hardened ice cream balls in a bowl with almonds and toss until ice cream is coated with almonds. Place ice cream balls back into freezer.

6. Using a small sauce pan, reduce reserved juice by half. Reserve.

7. For service, place vanilla ice cream balls into each ramekin. The rhubarb should be room temperature or slightly warm. Drizzle each ice cream ball with the rhubarb sauce.

Frozen rhubarb often comes in 1 lb. packages. I used just a single pound, and adjusted the other ingredients accordingly. This worked out just fine because the almonds I bought were sold in 1/2 cup bags.


  1. my grandmother grew rhubarb in her back yard. she made the BEST rhubarb favourite. miss it...

  2. Va va vooooom! A balance of opposites for sure! Sensational!

  3. Twin: I love how relatives can pass on great food memories and traditions. Very nice!

    Anon: Thanks!

  4. Your accompanying stories are extremely touching. You share much of yourself in all that you cook and all that you write. Your large gaggle of fans are blessed to share the journey with you.

  5. I have got this thing for rhubarb. Its such a wonderful flavor. Great post. Are you a chef?

  6. Hi Esperanza,

    Isn't it neat how some people just really, really like cooking with certain things? I'm like that with pears. They are so versatile.

    I'm not a chef, although my wife is. It's really handy when I need help with a new technique. From time to time I volunteer to work as a prep cook for her when she caters events. Good God that's hard work!


  7. Aw Christian, I was all set to be a totally obsessed fan- then I discovered you like Devo. (One of my husband's top 3 favorite bands) Oh well, everyone has flaws...

    I think the reduction is where I get stuck. Do you know of any good video sites with examples?

  8. No love for DEVO?!

    I'll see if I can find something online about how to reduce a liquid to a sauce. I could describe the whole process, but a visual would probably be more helpful.