Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable but it is cooked like a fruit! When you think of rhubarb and associate with a pie, you are not wrong because the red stalks (part used) are generally paired with sugar, butter and flour!
Rhubarb, with its attractive pinkish red hue is a heavy weight in terms of nutrition value. It is high in fibre, Vitamin K and also has more antioxidant punch than kale! Some people therefore consider rhubarb as super food. I personally wouldn’t say that because it only becomes palatable if you add sugar to it so I would go as far as saying that it is a healthyish dessert choice!
This is a lovely dessert and it is vegan! I guess you could also try sub rice for sago.
For the custard:
400ml tin of coconut milk
100g small tapioca pearls or sago soaked overnight and drained
50g ground almonds
1 tablespoon maple syrup
100g raw sugar
½ teaspoon saffron threads
For the spiced rhubarb:
300ml red wine
150g soft brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
10 rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 3 cm pieces
A pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted
For the custard
Soak the ground almonds in 100ml coconut milk for 30 minutes. Put the soaked almond powder along with the maple syrup in the jar of a small blender. Whiz to a smooth paste.
In a medium sized saucepan, bring the remaining coconut milk along with the sugar to a gentle simmer. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Mix in the soaked sago and cook for five to seven minutes until the sago are plumped and become transparent. Pour the ground almond paste, stir to incorporate and keep cooking on low heat until the sago mixture is thick and custard like. Cool and refrigerate for three to four hours.
For the spiced rhubarb
Combine the sugar and spices with the wine and bring to a boil until sugar dissolved. Add rhubarb pieces and salt and simmer for 9 minutes (you don’t want rhubarb getting mushy so keep a careful eye on the time). Remove rhubarb with a slotted spoons and transfer to shallow dish. Arrange in a single layer.
Let the wine in the saucepan come to a boil until it becomes thick and syrupy. Fish out the whole spices and then pour on top of the rhubarb pieces and when cool enough refrigerate.
Fill a tall glass with a couple of spoons of rhubarb. Top with sago custard and drizzle the toasted almonds. Serves 6.