Inspired by Asian and Middle Eastern flavours, this compote has subtle floral notes of rosewater and fragrant cardamom, which perfectly complement sweet and tart British rhubarb. It’s definitely a seasonal recipe, so grab some gorgeous pink stems of rhubarb when you see them appear at your favourite fruit and veg store. Forced rhubarb is available out of season but I prefer to use field or allotment grown, which is available from spring until early autumn and has a better colour and flavour. I didn’t eat rhubarb much until my dad started growing it several years ago, and now I look forward to it every year. I am absolutely biased when it comes to cardamom: I love it and tend to favour it in sweet dishes so I was glad to discover that rhubarb is made for this spice.
Put the rhubarb, lemon juice and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and stir together. Let it sit for 15 minutes as this gives the sugar time to draw out water from the rhubarb. Add the cardamom and bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved – three to four minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the rosewater and simmer for about eight minutes, until the rhubarb starts to break up and the mixture has thickened.
Cool completely before serving over pancakes, yoghurt or ice cream. It’s also delicious as a filling for cakes with buttercream or fresh cream. The compote keeps well in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just pour into a clean container or jar with a tight-fitting lid.
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