If you are like me, you might have seen those gorgeous ruby rhubarb stalks at the market, then immediately heard the sound of a stopwatch ticking before complete panic set in. Why? ‘Tis the season for all those spring darlings that disappear seemingly as soon as they show up. (Pretty sure I missed ramp season while I played Wordle last Thursday.) But worry not, at least when it comes to rhubarb. The smartest thing you can do to ensure you making the most of its brief season, is dice up those beauties, then simmer them with strawberries and a little sugar to make a compote. The sweet-tart sauce upgrades anything it touches: French toast, ice cream, pancakes, yogurt, and, as I recently discovered, this very basic no-bake cheesecake inspired by Justin Chapple. (Thanks for the tip, Robin!)
The ratio of strawberry to rhubarb here is an even 1 to 1, so it’s easy to improvise on the portion sizes. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Keeps in the fridge for 7-10 days.
10 ounces rhubarb (about 4 medium stalks) finely diced
10 ounces strawberries (about 2 cups) finely diced
1 tablespoon sugar
Add the rhubarb, strawberry, and sugar to small saucepan and set heat to medium-low. Once it gets liquidy, turn down the heat to low. Cook for 25-30 minutes total, stirring every few minutes, until the sauce is smooth and syrupy, and completely broken down. (It feels like it will be chunky forever, but be patient, it’ll get there.) Set aside to cool, then pour into a jar or bowl, and chill. Use on pancakes, yogurt, French toast, ice cream, or….
No-Bake Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
This is a very easy recipe, but does call for chilling time in between steps, so read through the recipe and plan accordingly.
24 plain graham crackers (1 1/2 of those wrapped packets)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound fresh ricotta, room temperature
1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
up to 1/2 cup strawberry-rhubarb compote (recipe above)
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground, about 10 times. Add melted butter and salt; pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened. Using your fingers and a rubber spatula, press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and sides of a tart pan. Cover with and refrigerate for one an hour.
Wipe down the food processor, then add the ricotta, cream cheese, honey, lemon juice, zest, and salt, and process just until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture into the chilled crust, spreading into an even layer. Chill for 2-3 hours. (Note: If you don’t think the filling has set enough after 3 hours — a knife should be able to slice through it — and you don’t want to wait much longer, place in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes.)
When ready to serve, remove cheesecake from the refrigerator, slice into wedges, and drizzle compote on top.
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