When rhubarb season comes around, it’s often difficult to know what to do with it that isn’t crumble. Those who grow their own can often find themselves with a glut that needs using up, but can only stomach so much crumble-topped stewed rhubarb before they are sick of the sight of it. Happily, with just a little bit of imagination, there are a wide range of things you can do with those thick red and green stems. This vegan rhubarb and rose posset is a chilled dessert that makes great use of both rhubarb and rose flavouring. It is ideal to let it set for at least 5 hours in the fridge, but overnight is even better, which also gives the flavours plenty of time to infuse. If you want to serve a posh dessert a the dinner table, then this is a good place to start.
What is a Posset?
Posset has been around since the middle ages, where it changed from a hot drink to a sweet dessert. Traditionally it is an amalgamation of cooked double cream, sugar and flavourings (very often lemon), that is chilled and set to a soft mousse consistency. This vegan version uses plant-based cream blended with tofu to achieve a set, creamy texture reminiscent of the original. Though rhubarb features heavily, I’ve augmented it with rose flavouring, which adds a new dimension. For this I’ve used Holy Lama Spice Drops, which have a good intense flavour, meaning you only need to put in a couple of drops. I’ve also used a little vegan food colouring (pink) to intensify the colour of the posset. You can leave this step out if you wish, but the colour will be less vibrant.
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What you need to make this Rhubarb and Rose Posset.
Rhubarb season typically runs from April for early crop, through to July. They start appearing in abundance late May and through June, which is the best time to get them. They are technically a vegetable, but are used most commonly in the same way as fruits: typically sweetened and used in desserts. For a savoury use for rhubarb, try my Baked Rhubarb with Sweet Potato, Swede and Crushed Hazelnuts.
There are a few brands of vegan cream available now at most supermarkets. The one I used for this recipe is Elmlea plant-based cream, which I find cooks quite nicely.
Silken tofu is typically preferred in dessert making, though I often use the firm tofu as well. It is employed in this recipe to add thickness and to help the pudding set. All supermarkets these days sell a variety of tofu.
Rose Flavour Drops:
You can make this dish without the rose flavour drops, if it isn’t your thing. I do think, however, that it adds something a little special to the dessert, particularly if you want to impress your dinner guests. I have used Holy Lama Spice Drops to get the rose flavour in this recipe. As I’ve previously stated, you only need a few drops to get the right flavour, so be sparing. In the brand I’ve used, 1 drop is equivalent to ½ a teaspoon of rosewater.
Pink Food Colouring:
The pink food colouring in this is entirely optional, but does make the dessert more vibrant. Wilton’s has a very good food colouring range that is vegan. There is also Colour Splash. Both are available on Amazon.
Edible Rose Petals.
These are used mostly for garnish and are entirely optional, though it will wow your guests to see delicate flower petals atop their dessert. You can find edible rose petals here.
Rhubarb and Rose Posset
For the Posset:
- 3 sticks rhubarb washed and cut into 1cm pieces
- 250 g golden caster sugar
- A splash of water
- 250 ml vegan cream
- 3-4 drops rose flavour drops or 2 tsp rose water
- 50 g vegan butter
- A drop of pink food colouring make sure it’s vegan
- 400 g silken or firm tofu
- 200 ml vegan crème fraiche
For the Topping:
- 3 large sticks of rhubarb cut into 1 ½ cm pieces
- 220 g golden caster sugar
- A splash of water
- Edible rose petals to serve
- To make the posset, put the rhubarb, sugar and the splash of water into a saucepan and bring up to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook the rhubarb for about 10 minutes, until it has softened and become a little jam-like.
- Pour in the vegan cream, the rose drops and the vegan butter and gently simmer for another 4 minutes or so. Allow to fully cool.
- Once the rhubarb mixture has cooled, pour it into a blender with the food colouring, tofu and crème fraiche. Puree a couple of times until the mix is completely smooth.
- Divide the mix between 4-6 serving glasses and put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours before making the topping.
- After the 2 hour mark, you can make the topping. Do this by putting the rhubarb, sugar and splash of water into a saucepan and bringing up to the boil. Cook the rhubarb again for about 10 minutes until it is soft and jam-like. Try not to stir it too much to avoid breaking up the rhubarb as chunky pieces are better for the topping. Allow the rhubarb to fully cool and then spoon it on top of the possets. Return them to the fridge and set for at least another 2 hours.
- Sprinkle on some edible rose petals to serve.
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