Rhubarb Parfait in Jars

French Fridays with Dorie

Rhubarb Parfait

I’ve been trying to no avail to think up some witty prose about this rhubarb parfait to share with you. Rhubarb just isn’t that funny. In fact, it usually looks a bit scary sitting in the produce section after its long flight or truck ride to the market. To my eyes it appears a bit jet-lagged while it taunts the little children who have no idea what it is. What is that? Red celery? Growing up here in California, where we don’t grow it in our backyards, rhubarb is usually relegated to a tiny selection of a dozen or so stalks in the ‘exotic vegetable’ section. The section children instinctively know to steer clear of.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I could say that I had ever tasted rhubarb on its own. It seems someone way back when got the bright idea to pair it with strawberry and that was all she wrote. Strawberry-rhubarb jam, strawberry-rhubarb pie, strawberry-rhubarb muffins, blah blah blah. Thats all I had ever tried. Yes, rhubarb does bring that certain tang to strawberry confections and takes them to another level but surely it is a taste that deserves to step out on its own as well. Children should not be scared of rhubarb.

In California there is only a small window of opportunity to enjoy the best rhubarb. When I see it in the market and it doesn’t look too wilted or rumply I try to buy it and try something new with it — something that doesn’t involve the intrusion of strawberries. Last year’s rhubarb pickles were quite a hit at home and proved to me that rhubarb doesn’t require strawberries at all. Our French Fridays with Dorie syllabus featured roasted rhubarb at just the correct moment as the rhubarb showed up at market this week looking quite fresh — not scary at all — so I gave it a try as the base for a simple and elegant to-go parfait using some canning jars.

Rhubarb Parfait

As Dorie suggested, roasting preserved the texture (somewhat) and intensified the flavor as you would expect from roasting. The technique is super easy so it is worth a go and would make a fun impromptu ‘show off’ type move as a warm topping to simple vanilla ice cream for dinner guests. This particular parfait topping has a few more extra steps than a plain whipped cream but its light, elegant result is well worth it. You might be tempted to ‘soup up’ the parfait with raisins, granola, etc. but let me tell you it is entirely unnecessary. This rhubarb should be the star of this show. (Strawberry will surely get its chance another time. )

Rhubarb Parfait

Roasted Rhubarb Parfait

Roasted Rhubarb Parfait

This is what you will need:

  • 2 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg white
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

This is how you make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and center a rack.
  2. Prepare the rhubarb by cutting it into pieces and tossing them in a baking pan with the sugar and orange zest.
  3. Let pan rest for 5 minutes until the moisture extrudes a bit.
  4. Cover pan with foil and roast for 15 minutes.
  5. Stir if the sugar has not fully melted and roast a few minutes more.
  6. After sugar is melted remove foil and let rhubarb roast 5 more minutes or until syrup is bubbling.
  7. Remove pan and let rhubarb cool.
  8. Add a small drizzle of honey if you think more sweetening is required.
  9. While rhubarb is cooling make the topping.
  10. Beat the egg white to stiff peaks with the pinch of salt.
  11. Heat the sugar with 3 tablespoons of water to thread stage.
  12. (Just before it starts to color.) With the beaters going, pour the sugar-water mixture into the beaten egg whites and continue beating until the stiff meringue is cooled.
  13. Meanwhile, beat the cream to peaks with the vanilla extract.
  14. Fold the two mixtures together.
  15. Spoon the rhubarb in the bottoms of 4 jars or coupes.
  16. Top with parfait.
  17. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Rhubarb Parfait


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don’t know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]” means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small ‘boom’ in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a “food blog” or even myself a “food blogger”.

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  1. Thanks for that clarification, Trevor! I figured rhubarb was a regional thing since I’m not very familiar with it. I passed on this recipe, but I love what you did with it – the mason jar presentation is great!

  2. I love the look of these parfaits in the Mason jars. Great post!

  3. This was certainly worth the wait – excellent use of the roasted rhubarb and beautiful presentation! I’m feeling very lucky to have a rhubarb plant in my backyard right now. Though once winter hits, I’ll start having citrus-envy again.

  4. I also have rhubarb growing in my backyard and this is the season here too! Love the taste of rhubarb with strawberries or without! Your parfaits are so pretty…served in the mason jars! Great post!

  5. Aw. It’s not scary 🙁
    Actually, I didn’t even know you could get it in a store up until the past year or two. (Kind of like dandelion greens or any of the other gadzillion wacky things my grandmother used to cook up at the farm).
    Love the parfait idea.

  6. If rhubarb doesn’t grow in California then I shouldn’t feel so bad about that here in Puerto Rico. I have never seen it – not even in its scary, jet-lagged worst. The parfait mixture sounds wonderful.

  7. Your parfait is adorable, though I must admit to a childhood fear of rhubarb. A nasty uncle once taunted me with it.

  8. Oh good! I have some more rhubarb & just wasn’t in the mood for another strawberry rhubarb pie or crisp.

  9. What gorgeous parfaits…beautiful presentation, and delicious pairing of rhubarb and cream. Glad to see you catching up 🙂

  10. We are still looking for more (rhubarb redemption and all that) but it appears the window has shut tight in PA for the rhubarb season. And that I attempting this recipe when it was closing quickly. My recipe fell short but Nana’s turned out amazing and I can not wait to play around with rhubarb (sans strawberries) next season. I will be laying wait:) Love your parfaits.

  11. What a great idea. I love your pictures.

  12. I love this idea for the rhubarb which is a favorite with me. In the bay area you can find good looking hot house grown rhubarb all Spring and Summer, it’s nice looking and I think has a similar flavor to the field grown rhubarb that is more seasonal and not in the market very long.

  13. Um…. I have several (several) pounds of rhubarb in m freezer – cut from a good friend’s garden. Problem is – not many people like it. But a parfait – that sounds just too SuzyCute. I must try this – is this Dorie certified and tested in the Greenspan kitchens? Brilliant adaptation!

  14. Trevor, I’m having fun today going over all these post! You are an exceptional food artist! I love rhubarb! I miss my strawberry-rhubarb pies I use to make.

  15. Beautiful presentation, and delicious pairing of rhubarb and cream.