Fruit compote goes back to medieval Europe when a mix of puréed fruits was both healthy and cheap to make. Today, I feel that the humble compote is so underrated: it’s low in sugar, a fruity accompaniment to loads of desserts and it’s a healthy (and vegan) way to start the day, spooned on granola or yoghurt. A ginger version of this rhubarb hibiscus compote recipe was first published on 27 April 2016 but I’ve now updated it to include a printable recipe card and video.
Pink or Green Rhubarb
I’m always excited during French rhubarb season and love making rhubarb compote. It reminds me of all the lovely pink rhubarb we had in Scotland (ever since I was little until I left when I was 22), especially when it found its way into comforting fruit crumbles with a cheeky hint of stem ginger. We had the forced, lovely pink rhubarb in winter, followed by the still pinkish rhubarb in Spring to Summer.
However, in France we have to wait until rhubarb season between April and June. I’m always a bit disappointed; somehow the rhubarb we find in Parisian markets is always so GREEN!
How to make Green Rhubarb Pink with Hibiscus Tea!
My answer to make green rhubarb pink? Infuse hibiscus tea or Carcadet into your rhubarb – the best way is to make a rhubarb syrup by macerating in sugar first. Either use dried hibiscus flowers or hibiscus teabag infusions.
Teabags come in so many choices these days – many in the form of detox infusions, usually with the addition of rose or rosehip and berries. It’s a perfect flavour match with rhubarb!
Rhubarb Hibiscus Compote Demonstration on Video
See my short video demonstration (3 minutes)
Healthy Fruit Compote – it’s Vegan Too!
The beauty with compote is that it’s versatile and vegan, too.
Try the same recipe using summer berries. It’s a great, healthy alternative to jam using just a quarter ratio of sugar to fruit. It can keep well in the fridge, sealed in jam jars, for up to a week.
Compote freezes well too – perfect for that luxury winter moment when you need a dose of rhubarb or berries with that extra touch of hibiscus and rose.
What’s Best to Serve with Rhubarb Hibiscus Compote?
We love rhubarb and hibiscus compote served chilled – from breakfast, to teatime, to desserts.
Try it with the following:
- Dolloped on this homemade breakfast granola for a healthy, vegan start to the day;
- Served with these creamy, vegan almond rice puddings for either breakfast or dessert;
- Served as a side to this deliciously moist, lemon and almond cake (gluten free too);
- With chilled French Semolina Cake (gâteau de semoule);
- Served on its own with some crispy French tuiles on the side;
- Dribbled over creamy lemon verbena ice cream; and
- Served as a base for these mini rhubarb, hibiscus and oat crumbles with white chocolate and orange blossom mousse;
Rhubarb Hibsicus Compote
Rhubarb Compote with Hibiscus tea, naturally colouring green rhubarb pink and infusing a delicious rose and cranberry-like flavour to it. So healthy, compote only uses a quarter of sugar, so far healthier than jam. Can keep in the fridge up to a week and freezes very well.
- 400 g (14oz) Rhubarb about 4 medium sticks
- 100 g (3.5oz) Sugar (sugar ratio is 1/4 to rhubarb weight)
- 1 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers (Carcardet) or 2 hibiscus teabags
- strawberries (optional)
Wash and cut the rhubarb at both ends and discard the inedible leaves (these are toxic). Weigh your rhubarb in order to calculate how much sugar to use: the ratio is a quarter of sugar to fruit (unlike jam, compote is so much healthier!)
Cut into chunks about 3cm and place in a bowl with the sugar. Leave to stand for 2-3 hours (or overnight).
Sieve off the rhubarb juices into a saucepan. Add the tea and bring to the boil. Reduce the liquid slightly for about 10 minutes, remove the tea then add the rhubarb.
Bring to the boil, then simmer over a gentle heat for about 15 minutes until the fruit is soft and collapses into a purée. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Refrigerate until needed.
Delicious served on top of homemade breakfast granola for a healthy vegan breakfast or spooned over vanilla ice cream for dessert.
This recipe is also perfect made with soft summer berries. Again, the ratio is a quarter of sugar to fruit.
Refrigerate and keep in the fridge in sealed jam jars for up to a week. This compote also freezes so well - perfect for a dose of rhubarb in the winter months.