Can there be a more joyful harbinger of spring than forced rhubarb?! The sight of these impossibly pink stalks makes my heart sing in anticipation of spring’s warmer days and lighter evenings.
This sweet, zingy compote is really versatile – perfect on porridge or yoghurt, it can also accompany cake; or try it with homemade shortbread and vanilla ice cream as a simple pudding, pretty and tasty enough to serve at a dinner party.
I used blood oranges here because they’re in season and look gorgeous, but of course regular oranges will do the trick. I’ve advised caution with the roasting container and foil, because the acidity of the rhubarb and oranges can react with the aluminium.
Roasted rhubarb and orange compote
- 3 sticks of forced rhubarb (approx. 400-450g)
- 1 orange
- Half a vanilla pod
- A sprinkle of ground cinnamon
- 50g golden caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6.
- Prepare the rhubarb: wash thoroughly, cut off the tops and tails, then cut into pieces of 5-6cm in length.
- Divide the orange into quarters, then pare the flesh from the skin using a sharp knife, removing any pith. Cut the pieces of flesh into slivers.
- Place the rhubarb and orange pieces into a large ovenproof dish (glass / Pyrex or ceramic rather than aluminium). Squeeze over any remaining juice from the orange skins.
- Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and sprinkle over the rhubarb, along with the cinnamon and the sugar. Shake everything together so the fruit is evenly coated with the sugar and spices.
- Make sure each piece of rhubarb is touching the base of the tin, then fit a foil cover over the tin, securing it tightly over the edges. Ensure the foil doesn’t touch the rhubarb.
- Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the foil cover and stir the rhubarb.
- Roast for a further 15 minutes (uncovered), then remove and allow to cool a little before serving.