Rhubarb sneaks dessert while longing for elves.

Study: RHUBARB. 2.7 Rhubarb-skyr panna cotta with ginger-poached rhubarb.

Rhubarb, a symbol of spring in Scandinavia, calls out to be used in a Nordic fusion-y way. Variations of rhubarb have repeatedly appeared on the menu at Noma. (That’s at Noma, not with noma.)

This recipe incorporates a panna cotta made with skyr.   What is skyr?-  Icelanders pour raw milk into a stomach. Something rennetty happens and the result is skyr — a tart, creamy product somewhere between a soft cheese and firm yogurt. In the last few years, skyr has become widely available in the States. (It’s not really skyr, because it has no rennet. But it’s close enough.)

The Panna Cotta.

Infuse the cream. In a saucepan, warm cream. Scrape seeds from half of a vanilla bean into cream and allow to infuse for about 10 minutes. Add milk. Add sugar slowly, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Keep warm, but not scalding.

Make a gelatin base. Reserving the remainder of the juice, sprinkle one packet gelatin over 3 tbsp. chilled rhubarb juice in a small bowl. Allow gelatin to bloom for about 10 minute.

passionately red rhubarb juice.

passionately red rhubarb juice.

Mix the skyr base. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining rhubarb juice into the skyr.

(Why put the juice in at this point? Rhubarb juice is very acidic, and will quickly cause cream to curdle. Commercial skyr has stabilizers that will limit this.)

Incorporate everything. Add the gelatin base to warm milk-cream mixture and mix. Pour into bowl with skyr. Whisk. Pour into mold and allow to set overnight.

Here’s a version paired with rhubarb gelee

Skyr panna cotta with rhubarb gelee.

Skyr panna cotta with rhubarb gelee.

The Ginger-Poached Rhubarb.

Slice a thumb-sized piece of ginger finely. In a saucepan, dissolve 1 part sugar in 1 part water. Add the ginger and allow to simmer without boiling for 20 to 30 min.

While syrup infuses, clean and trim rhubarb. Slice rhubarb into 2 to 4-inch pieces.Narrower stalks of rhubarb work best for this.


trimmed rhubarb, uncooked.

Prepare a cold water bath: overcooked rhubarb is a stringy, gooey mess. Increase temperature of syrup to near-boiling (the sugar may begin to caramelize).

Add rhubarb to hot syrup. Remove rhubarb from syrup into cold water bath with slotted spoon just as peel begins to slough off, between 5 and 10 minutes. Allow rhubarb to sit in cold water for 1 – 2 minutes. Drain.

Reduce the remaining syrup. Pour syrup over panna cotta and add rhubarb.