2000s Recipes + Menus

Rhubarb Sorbet with Vanilla Rhubarb Compote

  • Active time:35 min
  • Start to finish:3 hr (includes chilling)
June 2005
Though we’ve divided this recipe into two sections, it really contains just four ingredients: rhubarb, sugar, vanilla, and corn syrup. (Adding a little corn syrup to a sorbet helps give it a velvety texture.) Browse nearly a dozen more rhubarb recipes in our slideshow.

For sorbet

  • 2 lb rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-long pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

For compote

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lb rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 cup)
  • 2 drops vanilla
  • Special equipment:

    an ice cream maker

Make sorbet:

  • Toss together rhubarb, sugar, and corn syrup in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart heavy saucepan and let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes (to macerate).
  • Cook mixture over low heat, stirring frequently, until rhubarb has released about 2 cups liquid, 10 to 15 minutes. Increase heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until rhubarb is very tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Purée mixture in 2 batches in a blender until very smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Transfer purée to a bowl, then set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir occasionally until cold, 10 to 15 minutes. Freeze purée in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 1 hour.

Make compote while purée is chilling:

  • Simmer sugar and 1 1/2 cups water in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add rhubarb slices and return just to a simmer, then remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla gently (to avoid breaking up rhubarb). Cool mixture to room temperature, gently stirring once or twice, about 30 minutes. Chill, covered, until ready to use.
  • Let sorbet soften at room temperature 5 minutes, then serve with compote.
Cooks’ note: Sorbet and compote can be made 3 days ahead.
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