1 kg fresh, peeled rhubarb stalks
330 ml sugar
(1½ - 2 tsp vanilla sugar)
Cut the rinsed, thinly peeled rhubarb stalks into 2 - 3 cm slices. Place the slices in a large, wide saucepan, alternating them with the sugar. Bring the mixture slowly to the boil, cover and simmer on low heat until the rhubarb has collapsed and the sugar has dissolved.
This will take only a few minutes. Shake the pan every now and then.
Remove the lid, raise the heat and simmer the compote for a few minutes longer, until it has thickened sufficiently. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla sugar, if you like.
Serve the compote slightly warm or chilled, topped with a dollop of whipped cream, crème fraîche, vanilla custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Note: Rhubarb like most berries, some nuts, spinach, sorrel, beans, chocolate, cocoa, coffee and tea, among other items contains toxic oxalic acid. While the rhubarb stalks are safe to eat in moderate amount, the leaves must never be used in cooking. Oxalic acid binds vital nutrients such as calcium, inhibiting its absorption by the human body.
To weaken this effect, rhubarb is usually served together with some dairy product rich in calcium, like milk, cream or ice cream. This is a custom practised already among our ancestors, even though they never knew of the oxalic acid and its effects.
The acid in rhubarb may cause some dairy products to curdle when served together.
Recipe source: family recipe.