I have to confess I’ve never been interested in, let alone understood, Valentine’s Day. The way I see it, if I need to have a special day set aside to remember to tell someone I loved them, I might have bigger issues to deal with than gift giving 😉 But that’s just me.
I’ve never been romantic in a shower me with all the chocolates and flowers kind of way. Then again, the thought of buying chocolate for me probably strikes fear in the hearts of most men … 😉
Yup, I’m just not that type of romantic.
But for all those who look forward to the big V Day and love to plan special dinners and desserts, I salute you. Especially if you are shamelessly looking for another excuse to have a great dessert 🙂
In the south-east corner of Australia, we’ve been having more than our fair share of heatwaves lately. A rich and gooey dessert just seems wrong in this weather and chocolate dipped strawberries are so last century and just boring. I would much rather serve a light and luscious Sicilian style gelato as a perfect finale to that romantic dinner. Pretend you’re on the Isle of Capri on a warm summer evening … that’s pretty special, isn’t it? Scoop your gelato into some beautiful cups or chocolate dipped waffle cones and go for a passeggiata under the stars.
It all starts with choosing a perfect bunch of fresh rhubarb. Look for brightly coloured and tender, but firm, stems. If you grow your own, so much the better. Rhubarb has a rich ruby colour and beautiful tart flavour that makes for a stunning compote. Many rhubarb compote recipes call for the addition of apples or orange to add sweetness to counter the tartness of the rhubarb. Others add red berries, in order to ensure a rich red colour and tone down the tartness. These are all brilliant variations on a theme and utterly delicious. I love the tartness of rhubarb in a compote so I prefer to let it shine in all its summer glory, sweetened with a little coconut sugar and tempered with a little vanilla. It is so versatile and makes a refreshing addition to a summer gelato.
This compote is wonderful on its own or used in all manner of desserts.
Layer it with creme patissier, whipped sweetened cream, mascarpone spiked with Grand Marnier or anything you like for a stunning parfait. Add it to the filling of a tart, serve it on waffles or pancakes for a decadent breakfast or brunch, or serve it with Greek yoghurt or ice cream and sprinkle with pistachios or roasted almonds.
So many possibilities.
Oh, it is also amazing in a gelato :)
If you cannot find coconut sugar, substitute with your favourite brown sugar. The coconut sugar imparts a lovely toffee accent to the compote.
- 440 grams fresh rhubarb, cut into even 2cm lengths (one average bunch, trimmed)
- 150 grams coconut sugar
- 2 grams organic vanilla powder OR 1 vanilla bean
You could stop right there. But, why would you?
You can make this as a simple Vanilla Almond gelato and it will be sensational. But add the rhubarb compote and it becomes a refreshing, sublime experience.
You can add as much or as little of the rhubarb compote as you like to achieve the intensity you desire. If you love rhubarb, as I do, add the whole amount to the gelato. If you want to create a textural dessert experience, add about half or two thirds of the compote to the gelato and reserve the rest to serve alongside it as a plated dessert.
This recipe is gluten, egg, and dairy free. It is also free of refined sugar and is suitable on a low FODMAP diet.
- 750 millilitres almond milk (I used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla)
- 100 grams coconut sugar
- 2 grams vanilla powder or 1 vanilla bean
- 32 grams pure corn starch
- 1 recipe Rhubarb Vanilla Compote