I didn’t grow up eating rhubarb, but now I’m a little bit fascinated with it. I’ve only used it a few times-once in a “crisp” under a serious layer of sugary crumbs and another time in a curried chicken dish. If you haven’t used rhubarb before you have to know up front that it’s pretty tart and needs a fair amount of sugar to make it palatable. It’s in season right now and pairs well with another spring time favorite-strawberries-and so you frequently will see recipes combining the two.
Who doesn’t love panna cotta? Think about it-panna cotta means “cooked cream” and that’s exactly what it is. You can flavor your cream any number of ways, but I love this classic one with vanilla bean. This recipe hails from the blog of one of my favorite cookbook authors-Domenica Marchetti. Head on over to her blog to read about her latest recipes and get the scoop on her books. This recipe will serve 12.
Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Compote
For the panna cotta:
6 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
For the rhubarb compote:
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and sliced crosswise
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
To make the panna cotta, in a large saucepan, combine the cream and sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean half into the cream mixture and toss in the pod. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is almost at a simmer, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.
Pour 3 tablespoons water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand 5 minutes.
Uncover the cream and bring it just to a simmer over medium heat. Gently whisk in the gelatin mixture until dissolved, then remove from the heat. Discard the vanilla bean pod. Pour the panna cotta into a 2-quart baking dish, bowl or soufflé dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely set, at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
Meanwhile, make the rhubarb compote: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine the rhubarb and sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean half into the dish and toss in the pod. Fold everything together gently. Transfer the rhubarb mixture to a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the rhubarb is very tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly. Discard the vanilla bean.
Stay tuned for my next rhubarb dessert. It’s a winner!