You can never have too many rhubarb recipes on hand this time of year. So here is one...
Vanilla Tapioca Pudding
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca
Water as needed
4 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
A pinch of salt
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp orange blossom water (optional, or more to taste)
Cover the tapioca with a good amount of water and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes. Drain and rinse the tapioca and tip into a saucepan. Add milk, half-and-half, sugar, salt and scraped vanilla bean. Over low heat, cook the tapioca, stirring often, until it is thickened and mostly transparent. Cool the pudding in ice bath until well thickened, portion and chill to set.
1 lb rhubarb, diced small
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp port (optional, to bump up the color)
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 vanilla bean
Combine all in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until rhubarb is tender, kind of fallen apart to thicken the compote.
Pistachio Star Anise Button Cookie
7 oz pistachios, toasted
1-1/2 tsp star anise, ground
1 lb butter
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
Large pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
Additional sugar or vanilla sugar as needed
In a food processor, grind pistachios and star anise until finely ground, add flour and pulse through. In a mixer, cream butter, sugar and salt. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks. Mix in the pistachio flour. Portion cookie dough with a purple scoop and bake (do not flatten) at 325º until just lightly brown around the edge and done. Allow to cool until able to handle the cookies without them falling apart and dredge in the additional sugar or vanilla sugar.
The button cookie recipe makes quite a few cookies, but you can easily freeze the extra scooped dough for later, or just bake them off. They keep very well, but they won't last long anyway.