You know how some people get excited about a good film or their favourite TV show? Well, I get excited about food. Food and the fact that Eddie Vedder is playing in Cork this year. But mostly food. So when I saw one lonely bunch of rhubarb in the market last weekend I pounced on it. I’ve been waiting to pair rhubarb and blood oranges now with a while. So I finally got to make this Rhubarb and Blood Orange Syllabub.
I follow a lot of food lovers on Instagram and I’m always jealous of the lucky people who get to eat that beautiful pink delicate forced rhubarb in January. If anyone knows if it’s possible to get it in Ireland I’d be delighted if you could point me in it the right direction. The rhubarb I buy generally loses a lot of it’s red colour when cooked but it’s ok here as the blood orange juice adds a gorgeous vibrant colour.
I made extra syllabub here for the strange people in my life who don’t like rhubarb and just served it on it’s own. To be honest, it’s pretty good served like that too. Syllabub is an old English dessert traditionally made with whipped cream, sugar and white wine. Now however, it is often flavoured with lemon. It is one of the easiest desserts to make so even people who claim that they can’t cook can make this.
Useful tips & links:
- I have used blood oranges in this but if you can’t get them or they are out of season use regular oranges but use less sugar to balance the sweetness.
- I opted for sherry in the syllabub as it goes well with these flavours. You could use an orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier, or alternatively use the traditional sweet white wine.
- Nigel Slater recommends allowing the citrus juice, alcohol and sugar to sit overnight in the fridge to allow the flavours to mellow. It’s not strictly necessary but it definitely does soften the kick. Allow the mixture to stand for at least an hour before adding to the cream.
- I’ve used mascarpone to give the syllabub a little extra richness but if you prefer a lighter texture use all cream.
- This is a good dessert to make ahead as the rhubarb can be stored for several days in an airtight container. The alcohol in the cream keeps it fresh for a couple of days, however it does become heavier after a day so ideally make the syllabub on the day you want to use it. So if you want to get ahead I would make the rhubarb the day before, put the orange, sugar and sherry together the night before and then the morning you want to use them, whip up the syllabub.
- For more rhubarb ideas have a look at my Rhubarb and Strawberry Cake or Karen’s Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble.
Rhubarb and Blood Orange Syllabub
- The zest one and juice of two blood oranges
- 70g of caster sugar
- 60ml of sherry
- 100g of mascarpone cheese
- 500ml of double cream
- Approx. 750g of rhubarb
- The juice of one blood orange, approx. 75ml
- 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
- Toasted flaked almonds or pistachios to top
- First get the flavouring for the syllabub ready to allow the flavours to infuse and mellow a little. Put the orange zest and juice into a bowl and add in the caster sugar and sherry or alcohol of your choice. Give it a good stir and allow the sugar to dissolve completely. Set to one side.
- Next trim and cut the rhubarb into 2-3cm lengths. Put a small saucepan on to a medium heat and add the orange juice and sugar in and allow them to come to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Add the rhubarb to the pan and top up with enough water so that the rhubarb is just covered.
- Bring it back up to a simmer and then cover the pan and take it off the heat. The rhubarb should gently cook in 10-15 minutes in the residual heat. You don’t want the rhubarb to turn to mush, just barely cooked through.
- Remove the cooked rhubarb and allow it to cool. Taste the juice left in the pan and add more sugar if you think it needs extra sweetening. You can leave this as it is or put the liquid back on to the heat to reduce it to a thicker syrup. Take care not to burn it or you will have orange caramel. Make sure it is cool before you use it.
- Finish the syllabub by whipping the mascarpone to make it softer and lighter. Pour in the orange and sherry mix and the double cream. Very gently whip this mixture. You need to be careful as the citrus and alcohol will thicken the cream faster than you would normally expect. Whip until the mixture is fully combined and light and airy.
- Spoon the rhubarb into bowls or glasses and pour some of the juice from the saucepan on top. How much you use is really down to your own personal taste. Carefully spoon the syllabub on top and put it in the fridge or serve immediately. Top with the toasted nuts if you are using them.