Rhubarb with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest

By • April 26, 2010 • 30 Comments



Author Notes: The last time I purchased rhubarb there was a fellow shopper eagerly inquiring as to how I prepared my rhubarb. She explained how the crimson stalks had always left her feeling baffled. During my prior purchase I was met by another shopper who explained how rhubarb had always intimidated her. She wanted to know what I did with mine.

I just assumed everyone knew what to do with rhubarb. I thought I was the last to embrace the crimson stalks. Not so. So this post is for all of you rhubarb virgins.

I am on a mission to spread the simplicity of fine (and simple) rhubarb preparation far and wide.

I've been especially inspired by Tara's tribute to rhubarb on Tea & Cookies, Molly's recent rhubarb post on Orangette, and by Ruth, my next door neighbor in Point Reyes Station, who spoke of her rhubarb plant so lovingly.

Sweet cool cream on warm chunks of rhubarb and apple infused with Earl Grey tea, cardamom, and orange...mmm. This recipe came after experimenting with several variations on this theme. I've decreased and increased the sweetness. Dark brown sugar was substituted for white and then white for dark. Vanilla was added and then subtracted. I tried a version with star anise and one with juniper berries before settling on Earl Grey tea, cardamom, and orange zest. This is, without a doubt, my favorite so far.

It is good cold too. I just checked. It thickens as it cools and I prefer the cooled texture (and color), but I would not give up that first warm taste with the cool melting ice cream. No no no. This is a big batch, eat it both ways.

Rhubarb atop pancakes with powdered sugar and a bit of lemon zest is another delicious serving suggestion. I'm sure this recipe would also be wonderful beside some fresh ricotta, served over oatmeal with a bit of cream, topping a bowl of Greek yogurt, or with shortcake and lightly sweetened whipped cream. So many possibilities. Let me know how you decide to serve yours.

I'm will continue to experiment. I hope you will be experimenting too. Don't be shy, rhubarb is very forgiving (and oh-so-tasty). - chez danisse
chez danisse

Food52 Review: Rhubarb and Earl Grey are a natural pairing, and one best left relatively unadorned. Chez danisse tosses tart chunks of rhubarb with pieces of apple, a little sugar, a pinch of cardamom, some Meyer lemon juice and some orange zest before adding the tea and gently softening everything in a 350 degree oven. The fruit mellows and grows tender without falling apart, and it emerges from the oven swimming in a subtle, tea-infused broth, which thickens into a light syrup as it cools. If you want this less juicy, cut back to 1/2 cup tea -- we liked the subtlety of these proportions, especially with the vanilla ice cream, which is a must. - A&MA&M

Serves 6 fairly indulgent servings

  • 3 cups roughly chopped (1-inch pieces) rhubarb, from about 6 long thin ribs (just under 1 lb)
  • 3 cups roughly chopped (1-inch pieces) Braeburn apple, from 2 peeled apples
  • Juice of 1 small Meyer lemon
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
  • Seeds of one green cardamom pod crushed well with mortar and pestle
  • 2 bags of Earl Grey tea steeped in 3/4 cup just-boiled water for 3 minutes and then cooled
  • Zest of 2 Valencia oranges
  • Vanilla ice cream (!)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place chopped rhubarb and apple in a medium casserole dish or oven-safe pot.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (retaining the zest of one orange and vanilla ice cream for later) and gently toss. I advise tasting one chunk of apple and one chunk of rhubarb at this stage. They will both be nicely sugar-coated and crisp.
  4. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir (it will smell so good). Bake an additional 15 minutes. Fruit should be tender and kitchen should smell even better than it did the first time you opened the oven door.
  5. And...that is it. You are done. Can you believe it's that easy?
  6. I let this batch cool slightly (5-10 minutes), spooned some into a bowl, and topped it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I ate the rhubarb as the ice cream melted on top. Superb! My husband had fallen asleep at this point (my experimenting went a little late), but I woke him and gave him a bite. He liked it too. He even held his eyes open for a couple additional tastes. I went to sleep satisfied.
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Stringio

4 months ago Jesse Mojica

YUM. I adapted this recipe into a galette. So many words. But the first that come to mind are THANK YOU. I closed my eyes and did the "mmmm" noise when I took a bite.

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4 months ago chez danisse

A galette. Yum! Well done.

Ozoz_profile

about 1 year ago Kitchen Butterfly

Absolutely superb! I turned this into the base for a crumble, using Lady Grey (the citrus version of the Earl) and finely chopped clementine zest and juice. After poaching the fruit for 15 minutes, I drained off the excess liquid, which was reduced to a syrup and then topped the fruit with a spiced crumble (chinese five spice, cardamom) and finished off with oats.

Outstanding.

I ended up having it with vanilla ice-cream for dessert, and with greek yogurt for breakfast.

Its amazing how well it went with both. Unbelievable. My sister's husband, a self-confessed rhubarb hater......for its tartness fell deep in love! Thank you for your selfless experimenting and a wonderful recipe!

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4 months ago chez danisse

I like your crumble idea, and a convert--bravo!

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over 1 year ago piacere

Wonderful aroma filled the entire house as this baked. Fabulous flavors. It was great topped with a big dollop or two of plain Greek yogurt. Thanks for sharing the recipe. This will be a "keeper" to make again and again. Next time I'll add in a little extra rhubarb and maybe brew the tea a little stronger so the wonderful Earl Grey flavor is retained with a little less liquid used.

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4 months ago chez danisse

I adore rhubarb season and Greek yogurt is one of my favorite rhubarb toppings.

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over 1 year ago Foodiewithalife

Oh my Genius! What a beautiful combination of flavors.

Christina
www.foodiewithalife.com

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4 months ago chez danisse

: )

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over 2 years ago Arianna_H

I made this last night as a second, vegan dessert for my Passover seder - and watched as all the omnivores went mad for it. :) It pairs beautifully with vanilla ice cream, which cuts the tartness of the fruit; the flavor combination is stunning. The rhubarb was relatively intact when I pulled it out of the oven, but had virtually disintegrated by the time it had cooled a bit and we were ready to eat - that's not a bad thing, just a surprise.

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over 2 years ago chez danisse

So happy to see you were pleased, Arianna!

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about 3 years ago Caroforest

I've been eating rhubarb compote since I was a kid but this tasted soooooo grown-up!! Loved the combination of flavor and the tea and cardamamom added just the right amount of tasty sophistication. I cut the tea a bit, like Amanda and Merryl suggested and ended up blending everything into a smooth puree. Served over thick greek yogurt. Heaven, really... Or very close to :))

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about 3 years ago chez danisse

Wonderful! I love it w/ Greek yogurt too.

John_phoenix

about 3 years ago SavorLife

Made this today and followed the recipe exactly. I served it with vanilla ice cream, delicious! I uploaded a photo and it managed to turn sideways in transmission. Oh well, you get the picture. Thank you for this wonderfully aromatic recipe.

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about 3 years ago chez danisse

I'm happy to know you enjoyed it. I see your photo. You sprinkled the orange zest on top and everything. Superb!

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over 3 years ago mabcassidy

First time cooking rhubarb. Next time I will make rhubarb cubes bigger than apple since they cooked faster than the apples and were mushy. Also, will try with less tea because the broth was too soupy. Great flavor with ice cream so I will try again to perfect.

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over 3 years ago chez danisse

I do like the rhubarb to turn to a compote-like texture. Larger chunks or less cooking time might help you get a more firm texture. Less tea will certainly help minimize liquid. If a cool version appeals to you, as A&M note above, it thickens a bit as it cools. I hope you are more pleased with your second try. I switch things up with this recipe just about every time I make it. It's pretty forgiving. Have fun.

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about 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Chez Danisse--I made this this morning, and while I was tempted to eat ice cream for breakfast, what I did was put a couple of tablespoons over my cereal--very wonderful--loved it--will definitely make it again. (The rhubarb acidity is so tempered by the tea, cardamom and apple that I think even my husband will like it!)

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

Over cereal would be great. Hot cereal or cold cereal? I hope your husband liked it too. I have been known to eat ice cream for breakfast (just a little...). It's something to consider. For example: http://chezdanisse.blogspot...

Stringio

about 4 years ago tweeter10

I just finished making and eating this great combination of flavors! I changed the recipe a bit; two cardamon pod seeds and Earl Gray with Bergamot. Very delicate and juicy. We will definitely make this again!

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

I wouldn't mind a little extra cardamom--nice idea. I'm so happy you enjoyed it!

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about 4 years ago knowledgeman

I have actually eaten this dish and can attest that it is spunky and delicious. Just like chez danisse. (I'm her husband. I can say that.)

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

Oh my...

Missginsu_bike

about 4 years ago MissGinsu

Oh, wow. What a fantastic flavor blend. And so easy! This is going in my "keepers" file.

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

Excellent--enjoy!

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about 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Mmmmmm. I loved this recipe when I first saw it, and am so pleased that it is a finalist! The lemon + Earl Gray (another classic pairing, of course) is brilliant here. Brava!! ;o)

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

Thanks! I've been having so much fun with rhubarb lately. I just can't get enough.

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about 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Count me as a rhubarb virgin who loves orange, cardamom and Earl Grey tea. I'm looking forward to trying this when we get rhubarb in our CSA box! Congratulations!

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

Excellent! I hope you like this recipe and are inspired to create a few of your own. Have fun!

Mrs._larkin_370

about 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

This sounds lovely. Orange and cardamom are one of my favorite flavor combinations.Thanks for the recipe.

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about 4 years ago chez danisse

It all comes together quite nicely. I hope you give it a go and enjoy a nice ice cream-topped bowl. Enjoy!