Sunday, May 23, 2010

Berrylicious Rhubarb Parfaits

I felt like a little kid with a new toy when I spotted the fresh rhubarb at our farmers market last week. Just like waiting for the release of a latest toy I have been waiting for the peak rhubarb season!  I exaggerated a little bit and bought a  lot more than we needed, my husband was happy, hoping for a delicious strawberry rhubarb pie. He even got me a new pie dish -Paula Deen's line, the queen of country style pies. Even though she has great tasting recipes, Paula Deen uses a lot of butter just like Julia Child.

With all due respect to these great chefs, I don't believe natural fresh ingredients need ton of butter to enhance the flavor. So I have been looking for low fat rhubarb dessert recipes, a recipe that doesn't include too much butter to overwhelm the tanginess of the fresh rhubarb and the sweetness of the strawberries. It took longer than I thought, for couple of days my rhubarb and I were staring at each other, I started to panic fearing that I won't be able to use them when they are still fresh but finally my quest is over and it was worth the wait! This parfait is simple, delicious and gives a pleasantly fresh flavor. If you don't have time to make the vanilla pudding at home you can also use 1 qt. vanilla soy ice cream (or low-fat plain yogurt). I still promise the classic pie to my husband but he has to wait until I achieve my goal of perfect low fat pie crust!


3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 lb. rhubarb, about 6 medium stalks, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups) Field-grown rhubarb have a more predominant flavor than hothouse. Generally, the redder the stalk, the less sweetener is needed. If it is stringy, just remove the tough strings as you would with celery
1 medium orange, juiced and zest grated (1/3 cup juice; 2 Tbs. zest)
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen

For Low Fat Vanilla Pudding

2 cups 1% low-fat milk or soy milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean


1. Place 4 large parfait glasses or wine glasses in freezer to chill.

2. Combine all ingredients for the pudding except vanilla in a saucepan (if you are using vanilla bean, put the seeds and the bean in with the milk and strain it after the boil). Stir well to eliminate lumps. Heat to boiling over medium heat, about 7 minutes. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir in vanilla extract. 

3. Spread rhubarb in single layer in large skillet, and heat over medium heat. When rhubarb sizzles, cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes without stirring. Remove lid, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, or until liquid is evaporated and rhubarb is tender, but not mushy. Rhubarb can quickly cook down into a syrupy liquid, so keep an eye on it to retain some texture for this recipe. Add the berry mixture and transfer to bowl.

3. If you sweeten rhubarb after it is cooked, you will need less sweetener therefore combine maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, and ginger in small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 7 minutes, or until mixture is syrupy. Fold syrup into rhubarb. Cool.

4. Scoop 1/4 cup vanilla pudding or soy ice cream into bottom of each chilled wine glass. Top with 1/4 cup rhubarb mixture and another 1/4-cup scoop ice cream. Divide remaining rhubarb mixture among glasses. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. A delightful dessert! So fresh, fruity and delicious!