Granola with Compote

Granola with Compote

Granola.jpg

Since I spotted the season's first rhubarb at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, we've eaten more pretty pink stalks than I care to admit. Rhubarb compote, rhubarb cake, rhubarb pie, rhubarb Bakewell tart; the list goes on and on.

With that being said, I don't need to tell you how much I love rhubarb. The scent alone after slicing the crisp celery-like stems is enough to get me all a flutter, but couple that with the fact it's only available for a few short weeks in Spring and that it's bloody delicious and I'm like a kid in candy store when it finally makes an appearance.

Although we enjoy copious amounts of rhubarb every Spring time, this astringent vegetable {yes, it's a vegetable} will always remind me of childhood days at my grandparent's home, where my grandfather grew massive amounts of rhubarb plants in his allotment.

I recall tales of my mom and her two sisters being handed a stalk of raw rhubarb to enjoy with a bag of sugar when they were children. They would dip the uncooked stems into the sweet granulated crystals and simply take a bite, unfazed by the tart flavor of the crudite vegetable.

Thankfully my grandparents didn't offer us the same "treat" throughout May and June, instead we feasted on warm rhubarb crumble {always with a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream} and rhubarb plate pies, made with the best homemade pastry I've ever had.

I may not be quite as good in the kitchen as my grandma Kerr, however, much like her I simply can't resist the urge to bake with this elusive Spring vegetable every year.  And so began my annual search for rhubarb at the end of April.

After clearing the shelves of some West Coast rhubarb at our nearby Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago,  I was delighted to discover some locally grown stems at the Arlington farmers market one Saturday morning, along side the first of the season's regional strawberries.

After no more than an hour browsing just a handful of vendor stalls, I headed home from the market with my bounty; a dozen eggs, an armful of Spring blooms, two boxes of strawberries and of course as much rhubarb as I could carry.

 After enjoying one or two of the pretty little strawberries on their own, I decided that my farmers market finds were begging to be married in a classic Spring time combination; a strawberry rhubarb compote.

Incredibly simple to make, a fruit compote can be used for all kinds of delicious desserts including pie and crumble {or crisp as it's known this side of the Atlantic ocean}. My favorite way to enjoy a compote, however, is atop cold Greek yoghurt and homemade granola first thing in the morning.

I began making my own granola several months ago when after what felt like forever searching for a high quality grocery store version with zero added sugar. Food labels are notoriously misleading and despite several claims from reputed retailers, not one brand was sweetened with honey alone and in every single circumstance some form of sugar appeared at the top of the long list of ingredients.

As per usual when it comes to food, I read countless recipes and advice regarding making granola from scratch and after trying several different versions, I soon figured out my preferences. I don't particularly care for complicating granola with dried fruit and endless amounts of nuts and seeds, although if you choose to add a handful of golden raisins or diced prunes you can certainly do so after the granola has cooked and cooled.

When it comes to texture, I like my granola to be a teeny bit clumpy and the ratio of dry ingredients to oil and honey in this recipe yields a batch that is crisp yet simultaneously perfectly sticky.

The fruit compote is the perfect accompaniment to the baked flakes of rolled oats and coconut and both the rhubarb and strawberry really shine in this recipe. Rhubarb is often cooked with so much sugar and as a result it becomes impossible to taste the tartness for which it is known. When paired with the natural sweetness of strawberries, however, it only needs a touch of additional sugar to create something perfectly balanced, delicious and nutritious!

This simple mid-week breakfast filled with well balanced flavors and textures is one that has fast become a go to for my husband and I, and who wouldn't relish the satisfaction of knowing exactly what went into their breakfast cereal because they made it from scratch! All you need is some Greek yoghurt and you're good to go! So what are you waiting for? Rhubarb won't be around forever folks!


Granola with Rhubarb Strawberry Compote

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 90 mins
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

For the granola:

  • 3 1/2 cups {315g/11oz} rolled oats

  • 1 1/2 cups {90g/3oz} coconut flakes

  • 1/2 cup {80g/2 3/4 oz} whole almonds

  • 1/2 cup {50g/1 3/4 oz} sliced almonds

  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup {120ml} honey

  • 3/4 cup {180ml} vegetable oil

For the rhubarb strawberry compote:

  • Approximately 5 1/2 cups {650g/23oz} rhubarb, roughly chopped into 2" pieces

  • Approximately 2 1/2 cups {250g/9oz} strawberries, hulled and halved

  • 1/4 cup {50g/1 3/4 oz} granulated sugar

  • Juice of one large orange

  • Zest of one lemon, approximately 1 tablespoon

Instructions:

For the granola:

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F/135°C.

  2. Combine oats, coconut, whole almonds, sliced almonds, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

  3. Measure honey and vegetable oil into a large jug and lightly whisk until combined.

  4. Pour liquid into dry ingredients and stir thoroughly until coated.

  5. Empty contents of the bowl onto a large baking sheet and spread evenly to ensure the granola bakes uniformly.

  6. Bake for 90 minutes until golden, pausing to mix the granola every 30 minutes or so.

  7. Once golden, remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a large bowl or storage container to cool {it will stick to the tray if you don't transfer it immediately!}

For the rhubarb strawberry compote:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan.

  2. Stir to combine and then cook on medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes or until rhubarb begins to break down. Stir the compote occasionally to cook evenly.

  3. Spoon into a bowl, allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until required.

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