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Rhubarb Compote
Apple-Rhubarb Streusel

Prior to hothouses and refrigerated 18 wheelers, the appearance of rhubarb at the market was a harbinger of spring.  It's still a seasonal veggie (aye, veggie) but shows up as early as January.    In appearance, rhubarb looks tropical with its washed red color, but most of the stuff is grown in the northwest.  According to Schneider, only about one quarter of the crop is sold fresh, the rest is frozen for commercial use.  It does have a tropical connection in that rhubarb without sugar is too sour to eat.

What to do with it?  First of all, don't eat the leaves—they’re poisonous. 

The simplest thing to do is to make a Rhubarb Compote:  Slice about 3 stalks of rhubarb, on the bias, add them to a boiling pot of ¾ cup water and about 1 cup of sugar and cook for about 18 minutes until the rhubarb falls apart.  I've underlined the “about” in 1 cup of sugar since the degree of sweetness influences its use.  Most recipes seem to follow a 4:1 ratio of rhubarb to sugar, which is on the sweet side.  As such, this compote works well as a dessert topping over cereal, waffles, yogurt or strawberry shortcakes. 

Made less sweet and with the addition of a little freshly ground pepper, we have a compote with more than a hint of rhubarb's unique sour taste.   Try this as a seasonal accompaniment to grilled pork or lamb.

I saw some terrific looking stalks two weeks ago and had to buy them. I brought the stuff home and showed it off to The Little Woman, who said, “You haven't made your Apple Streusel since last fall. Why not toss the rhubarb in with the Granny Smiths?”  “What a splendid idea,” said I.  

Apple-Rhubarb Streusel
Yield:  about 6-8 servings (8 with ice cream)
See abbreviations, if needed

·   5          apples (large Granny Smith) 
·   4          stalks rhubarb, sliced 1/4" bias  (about the same volume as the missing apples)
·   ¾ C     sugar for the rhubarb only
·   ½ C     sugar for the apples
·   ½ t       cinnamon
·   1T        lemon juice
·   ½ C      flour
·   ¾ C      brown sugar for the streusel
·   pinch    salt
·   7T        butter, chilled/cubed
·   1 ¼ C   rolled oats

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Slice the rhubarb on the bias and place in a colander inside an SSB
2.  Sprinkle on ¾ cup of sugar, mix and shake thoroughly and set aside to drain
3.  Core and peel the apples and move quickly to Step 4 before they discolor
4.  Mandoline  the apples and toss and hold in a bowl with sugar, 
     cinnamon and lemon juice
5.  For the streusel crisp: 
  ·   Cream butter and brown sugar in a food processor
  ·   Add salt and pulse in the flour
  ·   Pulse in rolled oats
  ·   Spread half of the mix on the bottom of a buttered 10” pie pan
6.  Add the drained rhubarb to the apple mixture and turn all into the pie pan
7.  By hand, move some of the rhubarb pieces to the top for best visual effect
8.  Top with remaining streusel mix
9.  Bake 60 minutes, 20 minutes covered 
10.  Pierce-check apples for doneness
11.  Serve warm with ice cream



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