Wobbly Rhubarb Delight


Jelly is not the only dessert that can be described as “wobbly” and the above is the best example. Even though I am not a fan of standard, well set, thick jelly, I have literally fallen in love with this light, barely set dessert I decided to call Wobbly Rhubarb Delight. Its unusual, “falling-off-the spoon” consistency was achieved thanks to a reduced amount of agar (see below), just like in my previous experiments with this gelling agent.

For those who haven’t read about my recent adventures with this product, agar (agar-agar, “kanten” in Japanese) is a gelling agent very popular in Asia, but it is not a gelatin substitute. It is prepared in a slightly different way and, most of all, gives different textures and consistencies. In Europe it is widely used in food industry and is quite popular among vegetarians, since agar is produced from seaweed (not bones, like gelatin). Apart from its gelling properties, agar has considerable health benefits. It helps digestion and is often consumed as a slimming diet booster. A Japanese friend has confirmed what I had already read about: in her country some women dissolve it in tea to help digestion and to suppress appetite (I haven’t checked if it works on my appetite though).

In short, not only this dessert is delicious, light and refreshing, but it is healthy too. To prepare it I used the Soft Rhubarb Drink I wrote about recently (see the recipe here) and then simply proceeded like with my other agar desserts, i.e. adding less agar than advised on all the packages and in all recipes in order to obtain a looser consistency. After two hours in the fridge I obtained an amazingly refreshing, elegant, tangy and sweet treat, with a subtle rhubarb aroma. Apart from ending a meal, it could be served as a palate cleanser or even a cooling drink substitute (it is an excellent thirst quencher).

The below recipe includes the Soft Rhubarb Drink preparation, so if you already have it, skip the first, rhubarb cooking, stage and simply measure 500 ml (2 cups and 2 tablespoons) to use in this recipe.

In case you are interested in other desserts using agar, until now I have written about:

-Light Coconut Cream with Canned Peaches

-Light Chocolate and Coconut Cream

TIPS: Look closely at your agar package instructions. On mine 1/2 teaspoon is said to set 500 ml/2 cups liquid to a jelly. I use only 1/3 teaspoon and obtain a wobbly, “falling off the spoon” consistency. If you prefer a well-set jelly, use the amount advised on the package.

Since water evaporates during the first (rhubarb cooking) stage and rhubarb absorbs some water too, it is difficult to say how much liquid you will obtain. You need only 500 ml (about 2 cups) for the recipe (at least for the below amount of agar), so simply measure it and drink the rest!

I like very tangy desserts, so I have added only 1 heaped teaspoon sugar per portion, but feel free to double or triple it before the setting process, gradually tasting the result (a certain tanginess should remain, otherwise it will turn into a bland, tasteless dessert).

TIPS: Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, so before you start cooking it, cut off and throw away every single trace of leaves, sometimes left on the stalks.

Do not wait until the liquid becomes cold before pouring it into serving glasses because agar sets at room temperature and once disturbed, it will not reset properly!

Preparation: 1 hour+2 hours in the fridge

Ingredients (yields 4-5 portions):

250 g (8.8 oz) rhubarb stalks

700 ml (almost 3 cups) water

4  or more heaped teaspoons sugar (a sweetener can be used too)

1/3 teaspoon agar in powder

Cut up the rhubarb and put it into a big pan with water.

Bring to boil at medium heat and cook until the rhubarb completely softens (starts falling into pieces).

Put aside and wait until the rhubarb drink cools down.

Strain it.

Measure 500 ml (about 2 cups) of the liquid (the rest can be put into the fridge and used as a soft drink).

Add the sugar gradually, increasing its amount to suit your taste and the rhubarb’s acidity (some rhubarb varieties are less acid).

Pour it into a pan, add the agar and stir to dissolve both agar and sugar.

Bring to boil, stirring, lower the temperature and let it simmer for about 1 minute constantly stirring.
Transfer into serving glasses or bowls and when the dessert has cooled down, refrigerate for two hours.

It can be served with whipped cream if you like it.





50 Replies to “Wobbly Rhubarb Delight”

  1. I like the title: Wobbly Rhubarb Delight – perfect! ;-).

    Your recipes make me wish that we still had rhubarb growing in our garden… (our doggie ate them all – stalk, leaves and roots – and is apparently, still wagging to tell the tale ;-)).

    I am in town this weekend so it’s a perfect opportunity to walk over to the farmers’ market and see about getting some fresh stalks…love the soft, gentle jelly consistency of your treat Sissi and I can just imagine how refreshing and delicious it must taste!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. Your dog is a big rhubarb fan then! I should probably correct my post and say that rhubarb leaves are poisonous for human beings 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Arudhi. You can try replacing it with any other tangy fruit made into a drink (unripe ume?).

  2. What a light and refreshing dessert for the summer, Sissi! I’m sure you could substitute any fresh fruit drink like raspberry or even strawberry. I don’t mind rhubarb, but I certainly don’t love it enough to buy.
    I’ve seen you blog about agar-agar and will keep my eye out for it when I’m in my grocery store (fortunately, our stores now have extensive ethnic aisles as we are such a diverse multicultural city).
    Hope you have a great weekend, the often lying weathermen are predicting a very warm weekend with lots of sunshine!

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. You are right of course! Any fruit can be used instead. It’s just that I’m a big rhubarb fan 🙂 Here agar is easier to get in organic shops so maybe it’s also the case in Canada? Have a lovely weekend!

  3. This looks amazing! I absolute love the title… Wobbly is my very favorite word in the English language. Especially when said with a British accent. I must definitely try this!

    1. Haha! Thank you so much, Muskratbyte. “Wobbly” is a funny word, isn’t it? I also have some favourite English words (also with British accent because I can never copy it!).

  4. I still very much want to make your coconut cream/peaches dessert. Soon, soon …
    Agar is very popular here, more so than gelatine altho lately all the fancy restaurants have turned up their noses at it and have all konnyaku. I still like the less chewy texture of agar.

    1. Thank you, Ping. I remember you told me that agar is more popular than gelatin. I like gelatin in some products (for example in certain mousses where I suspect agar to produce something either not firm enough or too firm). I like konnyaku noodles 🙂 (Mainly for their zero calories 😉 )

  5. I love jelly and probably because it is wobbly! I also love rhubarb, your wobbly rhubarb dessert has such a beautiful colour. Agar agar is quite popular with the South Asians too, my sister always makes a milky wobbly dessert for her husband. I use it every now and then because it’s a fairly decent sub for gelatin. My mouth is watering from the thought of a puckering rhubarb jelly!

    1. Thank you, Nazneen. The only part I like about the jelly is its wobbliness 🙂 I don’t like however its hard consistency (when it’s so set it can be cut with a knife). This one is close to a custard or a thick yogurt…

  6. Oh! I totally forgot about my kanten in the pantry!! See, this happens… I put it in there and forget! Your rhubarb dessert looks really pretty! Have a great weekend! It’s Enzo’s last day of school. Summer starts soon when he gets out of school. =) Email you back soon… (didn’t I say in last comment? Hehee sorry….)

  7. Hi Sissi! I’ve never tasted rhubarb, I think people from Texas might not be very familiar with this plant, though my friends with the Northwest rave about it all the time. In fact one of my friend who lives in the neighborhood has several vegetable gardens in her yard, and she has many rhubarb plants that are doing very well. Our other friend is going to make a pie when they are ready, and I can not wait to taste it!

    1. Hi, Jeno. If you like tangy desserts, you would love everything with rhubarb. The only thing with rhubarb I sometimes dislike is the threads (for example in rhubarb jams), but sometimes I don’t mind them in cakes or tarts. I hope you first rhubarb tasting will be positive! (Like Ping once suggested, rhubarb drink for example is a bit similar in taste to cranberry, but with more aroma).

    1. Thank you, A_Boleyn. Rhubarb (when chosen dark red) gives beautifully coloured drinks and desserts.

  8. I love jelly and I think I have to credit the wobbly part!!!
    This looks fantastic Sissi… Now all I need are some Rhubarb…
    Have a relaxing weekend and a beautiful week!!

    1. Thank you, Barb. The drink is very original, so it’s worth at least as a tasting experience.

  9. I love jelly and custards and wobby quivering things! this looks great! and you’ve got your agar thing going again (:

  10. Sissi, I’m definitely going to be making this! I was given a huge bag of rhubarb and have just enough left to make this. It looks much healthier than the other sweets I’ve been making which will be refreshing. Because it screams “rhubarb”, I’ll be able to keep it for myself! 🙂 For my husband to eat rhubarb I usually have to add strawberries. Too bad. 🙂

    1. You are right, MJ. For me it has also been the healthiest and lightest rhubarb dessert ever. I’m very curious to see if you like it (if you want a real jelly, with a thicken, properly set texture, double the agar amounts because this one is not a jelly). I always make it only for myself (I’m the only one rhubarb fan at home, even strawberries wouldn’t change anything 😉 ).

  11. I always found it so interesting how a leaf can be poisonous, but the stalk it grows from is perfectly edible… I love the smell of rhubarb leaves though. Near my parents home are some water-meadows which has loads of wild rhubarb growing along the banks of a nearby river. In the cool evening air it smells so great, walking along there.

    I love the sound of your wobbly dessert – such a fun name and light and delicious I’m sure!

    1. Thank you, Charles. The name was not easy to find… I have never seen wild rhubarb and had no idea it smelled anything (I don’t even remember how it smelled in my grandmother’s garden…).

      1. Maybe it used to smell so much because I used to jump around in it smashing it to pieces with a stick when I was a small boy… I was rather naughty 😀

        1. At your age I used to eat rhubarb straight from the “bush”, not destroy it 😉 I think I knew every single edible plant in the garden as well as in the nearby meadows.

            1. I even had no idea it existed in the wild form… but I remember bringing plants and asking my family which one was edible.

    1. Dzieki serdeczne! Staram sie unikac ciast rabarbarowych i kombinuje z lzejszymi deserami, bo po prostu nie potrafie sie kontrolowac i jako jedyny amator rabarbaru w domu zjadam cale ciasto w jeden dzien (nawet robienie polowy porcji nie jest dobrym rozwiazaniem).

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