Today we made a rhubarb compote of sorts, using rhubarb, strawberries (which are also in abundance right now), sugar and fresh lemon juice. We served it on phyllo dough squares brushed with butter. However, it can be served in myriad manners depending on how much time and effort you want to put into your dessert, such as: in pies and tarts, on yogurt, with an omelet or even as a topping for pork chops.

I kept our recipe uncomplicated and short so that it would be finished in an hour (my requirements for class with the little ones). If it can be made by a three year old, it can be made by anyone. They really enjoyed it and so will you.

(This recipe is adaptable to making small amounts and gives a "per stalk" breakdown of the ingredients so you can make it for 2 people or 8).

8-10 rhubarb stalks
1 pint strawberries
2 cups sugar (we used raw organic)
1 lemon

phyllo dough, purchased fresh or frozen and thawed in refrigerator
½ stick of butter, melted (preferably unsalted, organic)
muffin tin

optional: chopped walnuts tossed with sugar and cinnamon, sliced strawberries, whipped cream

Before you start: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse rhubarb and strawberries.

Rhubarb stalks are like rosy celery stalks in appearance (but not taste), so remove any stringy parts, as well as the dried out tops and bottoms. Cut each stalk into two inch pieces.

Per stalk, use 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of water and 8 small (or 4 large) ripe strawberries, cut into 1/2s or 1/4s depending on their size. Put the rhubarb, sugar, strawberries and lemon juice into a saucepan and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes. Stir the pan several times during cooking and watch for the rhubarb and strawberries to break down. The compote will be finished once they are broken down, but not completely. You want it to have some texture (almost like a chunky applesauce). At this point, take it off of the heat and allow it to cool.

Remove 1 sheet of phyllo per dessert from the package of dough. Lay the stacked sheets of dough on a flat surface and cover completely with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Using a sharp knife (or even a pizza cutter) divide the dough into 6 squares (2 horizontal and 3 vertical cuts), cutting through all of the sheets of dough you will be using at the same time. Take out two squares at a time from under the towel and gently tuck them into a muffin cup. These will be the phyllo cups that hold the compote. They do not have to lay perfectly flat. Brush butter over the entire surface. Repeat two more times for 6 pieces per cup and be sure that the cup is completely covered with the dough. Bake at 375 degrees in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the cups are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

Remove the phyllo cups from the tin and fill them 2/3s full with the cooled compote. You can decorate the top with sliced strawberries, chopped nuts tossed with sugar and cinnamon, mint sprigs and whipped cream, if you like.

This easy and beautiful dessert will be gobbled up by any kid that gets a chance... that is, before the adults eat it all.



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