Imagine yourself seated on a terrace under a Wisteria in full bloom enjoying an elegant but simply prepared dessert with your friends on one of the warmer evenings of spring. While I was walking yesterday I saw a Wisteria in full bloom over a beautiful terrace in a neighbor’s backyard and I began to think about hosting an annual Wisteria blooming party which of course features great food and wine. I came up with a simple, make ahead dessert idea for this fantasy garden party, just in case you wanted to play golf or take a hike the day of the party you could still serve a great dessert without slaving away in your kitchen. I adapted this recipe from Deborah Madison’s new book, ‘Seasonal Fruit Desserts’. I plan on serving baked rhubarb, something I’ve never tried, with one of my favorites, Laloo’s Vanilla Flake goat’s milk ice cream and cardamom cookies, another one of Deborah Madison’s recipes.
I found beautiful organic rhubarb from Washington at Whole Paycheck in Petaluma today which is my favorite Whole Foods Store so far, I’m hoping I like the new Novato Store, which is supposed to open in 2 days. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Petaluma Whole Foods, I used to shop there when it was a Wild Oats market.
The slices of baked rhubarb keep their shape which is nice and would also be good served for breakfast with yogurt.
1 & 1/2 pounds rhubarb, about 4 cups sliced
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
1/2 cup organic cane sugar, more for sprinkling on top
1 orange, juiced and zested
1 2 inch piece of vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 375°
Rinse the rhubarb, trim the ends and slice into small diagonal pieces. In a large bowl combine the sugars, orange juice, zest and the sliced rhubarb. Transfer the mixture to a gratin dish and bury the cloves and vanilla bean in the rhubarb mixture.
Bake until the rhubarb is tender when pierced with a knife, about 35-40 minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and cookies for dessert.
Serves 10-12 in small bowls