Rhubarb, Strawberry, Black Pepper Compote (and a failed cheesecake)
One of my mom’s friends decided she likes my cooking and wanted to give me random ingredients to cook with. The first item I received? Frozen rhubarb that she had lovingly grown in her garden.
I absolutely love rhubarb and knew I wanted to make something with strawberry (such a classic combination). I thought about a crisp or pie or something, but the fact that I had five bricks of cream cheese led me to make a New York Cheesecake with compote on the side.
I was planning on blogging about one of the best cheesecake recipes I’ve ever made. It’s a recipe that I have made probably a dozen times and always turns out perfectly. It balances being dense and rich but not too heavy. It has the perfect amount of lemon in it and my genius self decided to use a combination of Girl Scout cookies (shortbread and the lemon ones) as a crust (instead of graham cracker), which resulted in the best crust I’ve ever made. The one problem… my spring form pan was in my mom’s kitchen and I didn’t want to drive across Seattle during rush hour to fetch it. Instead, I split the recipe into two smaller cake pans with okay results.
The cheesecake wasn’t bad. In fact, it tasted quite nice, but was kind of disappointing compared to the normal gloriousness it is. The element that made it memorable and really salvaged the massive caloric intake was the compote I made.
Rhubarb, Strawberry, Black Pepper Compote
- 4 cups rhubarb sliced into approximately ½-inch slices (I used frozen and let them defrost)
- 1 lb strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces (not my intention to be vague… I had strawberries of all sizes and cut smaller ones into quarters and larger ones into sixths or eighths… but just use your best judgment)
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- Juice of half a lemon
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper (optional)
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Combine rhubarb, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes (I hulled and sliced my strawberries and then flipped through some recipes trying to figure out what was for dinner; I’m great at multitasking).
2. Stir in remaining ingredients. The pepper is totally optional (although I highly recommend adding it, especially since it’s in the title). I’m not a fan of excessively sweet things so I liked the bite the pepper gave it. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 more minutes (I spent the time searching for the nutmeg I couldn’t find in the cabinet [only to see it on the counter] and then added it in at the end).
3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly then refrigerate until ready to use.
This is great with any number of things. I made it with the intention of serving it with my sad, sad, little cheesecakes but I also spread some on a piece of crusty French bread that had been toasted and lightly buttered. It’s great on vanilla ice cream, yogurt… the sky is the limit (okay, maybe the ceiling is the limit. I’m not sure it would be good slathered over asparagus).