Time for another rhubarb recipe (check out my earlier offering, a fresh, zingy Rhubarb, Fennel & Radish Salad with Lemon). The pink is calling me. The season is drawing to a close, so something that helps preserve the rhubarb for another day is in order.
As ever, a desire not to eat chunky, soft, stewed fruit comes into play (not my thing!). How best to enjoy the tartness of this beautiful, but narrowly utilised fruit/vegetable? Perhaps to balance a sweet dessert? Or a boozy cocktail?
Enter rhubarb and rose purée. A way to cook all that fruit down (yes I am stewing it!) and to fix the striking pink colour. It looks delightful drizzled over cake, meringue or mousse – any dessert really that would benefit from a little tartness and acidity.
But this isn’t the only way to use this lightly sweet sauce. My favourite way – not being a big fan of desserts – is to mix it into a well balanced cocktail. Full cocktail recipe to follow!
But back to the purée. Although I am aiming for this sauce to be sharp, some sweetness is needed to make it palatable. I chose this traditional rose lemonade – and not just because of the colour! Interestingly, rose has chemical aroma compounds (flavours) in common with rhubarb, despite being unrelated in nature (source: Food Pairing). So this lemonade brings not only sweetness, but a subtle flavour harmony as well.
The rhubarb is cooked in the lemonade with a touch more sugar until very soft, then blended in a liquidiser or high-powered blender. You can strain the purée through a fine mesh sieve if you like, but if you use a good machine, this is unnecessary. Once cooked, a little homemade vanilla extract is added – vanilla too shares a flavour profile with both rhubarb and rose. It is added at the end because when captured in an alcohol-based extract, the flavour of vanilla is pretty unstable and will dissipate when cooked.
Stunning, smooth, silky, tart, fruity, floral, with a touch of sweetness. What would you pair a sauce like this with?
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