Rhubarb arrived in Europe from Asia in the 14th century. Originally it was used for medicinal purposes, but it started to be used in cookery when sugar became more abundant and cheaper in the 18th century. Ginger was imported, from much earlier, also for medicinal purposes. A posset was originally a hot drink made of milk curdled with spiced wine, often used as a remedy for colds. In the 16th century the drink evolved into a cream, sugar and citrus-based confection, similar to syllabub
Put the cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil slowly. Boil for three minutes and remove from the heat. Whisk in the lemon and lime juice and zest and pour into glasses or ramekins. Allow to cool, and then place in the fridge.
For the compote: Place the sugar and water in a saucepan on a low heat to melt the sugar. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, increase the heat and bring to the boil, and boil for five minutes.
Place the rhubarb and stem ginger in an oven-proof dish, pour on the sugar syrup and cook in the oven for 15 minutes at 170˚C or until the rhubarb is tender.