Rhubarb heralds the coming of spring and is a stable of the Danish spring and summer kitchen. We use it both for savory and sweet dishes, and it is probably my favourite fruit. I love the pretty pale pink colour and the sweetly sour taste. It tastes of my childhood summers where my childhood friend Freja and I – somewhat to her mother’s irritation – would pluck the fresh rhubarb stems right of ground in their kitchen garden and eat them raw dipping each bite in a cup of sugar.
This dessert is a variation of the Danish summer classic ”rødgrød med fløde” literally red compote or porridge with cream” – a kind of very thick fruit soup made from red berries and served with fresh cream. It is a very practical dessert as the rhubarb and the crunch can be made in advance and then assembled with the cream just before serving.
You can use frozen fruit if you cannot get it fresh, but the taste will not be quite the same. Skyr is a Icelandic kind of low fat, but incredibly tasty and very thick yogurt. If you cannot get it, it can be replaced with Greek yogurt.
Rhubarb dessert with skyr-cream and hazelnut crunch
Compote of rhubarb and strawberries
600 grams of rhubarb
300 grams of very ripe strawberries
½ deciliter of water
The seeds of a pod of vanilla
1-1½ deciliter of caster sugar – to taste
1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a bit of water
Hazelnut and oat crunch
1,5 deciliter of hazelnut flour (very finely ground hazelnuts)
1,5 deciliter of rolled oats (not too thinly cut)
1,5 deciliter of caster sugar
½ deciliter of wheat flour
60 grams of butter
2,5 deciliter whipping cream (38% in Denmark)
3 heaped tablespoons of skyr or other thick yoghurt
Clean the rhubarb and hull the strawberries. Cut the rhubarb into think slizes and quarter the strawberries. Place the fruit in a pot with the water, vanilla and the sugar – hold back ½ a deciliter to taste later.
Let the compote boil gently without a lid for 10-15 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if needed. It should not be too sweet if you ask me, but this is a matter of preference. Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of water and add to the fruit while constantly stirring. Let the compote boil for another few minutes – keep stirring. When it has thickened a bit take it off the heat, cover it in cling film, and let it cool completely. When cold the consistency should be like a very think soup.
For the hazelnut and oats topping mix, all the ingredients until the texture is like very coarse breadcrumbs.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius or until crisp and golden.
When you are reading to serve the dessert, whip the cream and then carefully fold in the yogurt. Assemble in glasses with the compote in the bottom, a generous dollop of skyr cream and plenty of crunch on top.