Rhubarb Compote

Time15 minutes
YieldsMakes about 3 1/2 cups
Rhubarb Compote
(Ren Fuller / For the Times / Prop styling by Nidia Cueva)
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The highest praise for fruit isn’t simply calling it sweet. The best fruit tastes complex, sometimes sour or bitter or both, maybe with hints of flowers or grass or almonds. And it evolves as the season does.

This time of year, rhubarb is at its ripest and reddest. It’s still tart enough to make you pucker, but it is juicier and mellower than early spring harvests. That means you can keep big chunks of it intact when cooking it quickly into a compote, which is like a super chunky yet saucy jam. When you bite into a still-crisp piece, it will be refreshing and bright, not unpleasantly acidic. And you may get green notes of something like artichokes.

To complement this compote is another sweet-tart treat. Blueberries are just starting to show up in gardens and markets, and they’re tiny and a little tart with a touch of crunch. They may not be ideal for snacking, but they’re great for baking. Instead of couching them in a sugary muffin or pancake batter, I fold them into a one-bowl drop biscuit dough. If you want to veer sweeter into scone-land, you can shower the tops with sugar before baking.

I prefer tangy bursts of berries in the savory, tender biscuits since they get slathered with rhubarb compote. To highlight the delicious nuanced tartness of both, I add lime zest to the biscuits and its juice to the compote. Combining the end of winter citrus with height-of-spring rhubarb and almost-summer blueberries results in the perfect weekend brunch or teatime treat.


Combine the rhubarb, sugar and lime juice in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until saucy and with some whole pieces of rhubarb remaining, about 10 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

Make Ahead:
The compote can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.