AS spring approaches, I suddenly have the desire to eat desserts. One of my favourtes is a dessert is inspired by a Pakistani/Hyderabadi one called khubani ka meetha, which is traditionally made with dried Hunza apricots, topped with fresh buffalo cream and apricot kernels. The simplicity of this dessert has always been what makes it so moreish. I am always trying to find way to replicate its simplicity using other fruits, especially ones I never grew up with such as rhubarb. This version of mine uses lightly spiced, stewed rhubarb, with a lemon and cardamom scented coconut cream and toasted almonds. To me, this is the best celebration of an imminent to look forward to.

Spiced rhubarb topped with lemon, cardamom cream and toasted almonds

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

150g chopped rhrubarb

3 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp water

3 cardamom pods

1 inch cinnamon stick

1 star anise

140 ml whipping cream

2 tsp icing sugar

½ tsp freshly ground cardamom

2-3 drops lemon extract, or juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp desiccated coconut

Zest of half a lemon

1 tbsp blanched almonds, roasted and chopped

Begin by dissolving the sugar and water over medium heat and add the whole spices. Simmer until dissolved, then add the chopped rhubarb. Stew until rhubarb is soft and there is some thick sugar syrup around it. Allow to cool completely. Discard the whole spices.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until it reaches soft peaks. Gently stir in the cardamom, lemon extract, coconut and half the lemon zest.

To assemble, pour the cooled rhubarb and syrup into a small serving bowl, top with the whipped lemon cream and garnish with the remaining lemon zest and toasted almonds.

Serve cool – best assembled right before serving.