Last July I spent my days in Europe, to avoid the Cape winter and to enjoy the long and beautiful summer days near my family in the Netherlands. One evening my brothers and I were invited by our ‘babysitter’ from when we were young. Maria is her name, and she looked after us for years during our youth, when our parents worked. We always loved it when she came to our house and made us lunch. She spoiled us rotten with poffertjes (small Dutch pancakes), presents and Disney movies. She is sweet, funny, creative and understands everything. Even when we were annoying kids and young teenagers she tried to understand why we did or said things and she just let us be ourselves. I think this woman has a golden heart. Over the years – even though it’s 15 years ago now that she looked after my youngest brother, and we are big enough now to look after ourselves – we always remained friends with her, her husband and her two adult daughters. She loves to cook and is good at it. As I wrote before last summer we had dinner together in the garden and Maria made us this tasty dessert.
Did you know most people think rhubarb is a fruit because it’s often cooked with sugar and then used in sweet pies, crumbles and desserts like this? But did you know rhubarb officially is a plant? And that only the fleshy stalks are eatable and the leaves are definitely not eatable and poisonous
300 gram rhubarb
2 oranges (clean skin)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 star anises
125 ml whipping cream
250 gram mascarpone (soft cottage cheese)
Cut the rhubarb in pieces of 2 cm. Grate the peel from the oranges and squeeze them for the juice too.
Place the rhubarb, half of the orange peel, the juice, 3 tablespoons sugar and the star anise in a pan and bring to boil. Let simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Pour through a sieve, but keep the juice in a glass or bowl. Let the rhubarb and the juice cool down completely.
In the meanwhile whip the cream with the rest of the sugar until fluffy, stir in the mascarpone until mixed well. Halve the ladyfingers and divide over the bottom of the glasses, poor the rhubarb juice on top. Spread the mascarpone and the rhubarb mixture over it, without the star anise.
Garnish with the rest of the orange peel and serve direct.
*Note: this dessert was made by my friend Maria. She used the recipe published before in the Dutch ‘Allerhande’ magazine. The images are mine.