Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cherry-Vanilla Rhubarb Butter - Toast Topper #82

Cherry-Vanilla Rhubarb Butter is sweet, luxuriously thick and a perfect marriage of tangy, fruity and floral flavours.

Cherry-Vanilla Rhubarb Butter

I love vanilla in preserves this year. In my mind, a touch of good quality extract makes the spreads not only sweeter, but lends a more rounded sweetness that sugar alone can't provide. With the goal of clearing out as much rhubarb from the freezer as possible this year, I decided to make something that relies on noting but simmering and evaporation to create a spreadable delicacy: butter.

This recipe originally started out as simply "rhubarb butter" in one of my church cookbooks, and called for 5 cups of sugar for the 4 pounds of rhubarb. Now, I know rhubarb is tart, but five cups? I couldn't do it. Instead, I decided to build flavours that invoked the feeling of sweet without drowning the works in sucrose.

Vanilla was an easy option - I'd used it with rhubarb in the Heavenly Jam and the Rhubarb Pie with great success. My second inspiration came from my Chocolate Rhubarb Preserve, where I had used some tart cherry juice for flavour and a hint of fruity sweetness. The combination is one of my all-time favourites - I love cherries and vanilla together, and rhubarb is fantastic on its own. With the extended cooking, the separate elements slowly coalesced into a dark, sticky whole with all of the flavour from each ingredient. To keep the vanilla true, I added it at the end, and for the greatest (and most even) carmelization I roasted the butter rather than simmered it on the stovetop. By the time four hours were up, I had a perfectly passable spread for breakfast or dessert!

Cherry-Vanilla Rhubarb Butter
Makes 3 pints, 96 (1 tbsp) servings
4 lbs. rhubarb, cut into small pieces
3 ½ c. sugar
¾ cup tart cherry juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ tbsp pure vanilla extract (single or double strength)

  1. Combine rhubarb and sugar in a large casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, heat the oven to 350F.
  3. Stir the cherry juice into the rhubarb and place the dish in the oven.
  4. Bake, stirring every hour or so, for 4 hours.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.
  6. Can 10 minutes in a waterbath.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 32.9
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.9 mg
Total Carbs: 8.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 0.2 g