The combination of strawberry and rhubarb is so classic and so delicious that I’m willing to eat it in just about any guise. Crumble? Yes, please! Pie? How about seconds? Cupcakes? Why not? But for all of the delicious strawberry-rhubarb desserts out there, there’s not much in the way of ice cream. Perhaps there’s a good reason for this glaring black hole of frozen fruity delights, but a Google search and a look through our mini-library of ice cream cookbooks revealed but a single recipe, this one, from an apparently now defunct online food magazine called Very Good Things. Strange, no?
In a rare flash of innovation (as opposed to my general enthusiasm for blindly following recipes word for word), I decided to blend the Very Good Things recipe with the classic strawberry recipe from Williams-Sonoma Collection: Ice Cream (Williams Sonoma Collection). Why? Well, I am an adamant believer in a chunky strawberry ice cream…if it doesn’t have pieces of strawberry, evidence of its genuine fruity heritage, then count me out. The Williams-Sonoma technique allowed for chunks, and beyond that, it was a Philadelphia-style ice cream, which is far simpler to make.
(For those not yet versed in the fine arts of ice cream making, some ice creams are French-style, which means their custard base uses egg yolks. Others are Philadelphia-style and rely on cream or milk or even cream cheese to provide the fats. French-style ice creams tend to be smoother and richer, but also require close attention during the boiling process, lest you neglect to whisk enough and find yourself with scrambled eggs in your custard base- yech!)
The ice cream turned out to be quite delicious, though I’m still in the process of perfecting it. Some little “tweaks” I’ll make next time…
1) Be sure to use candied ginger that is fairly fresh and soft. We used some older stuff that had been petrifying in the pantry for who knows how long and the gingery nuggets were a bit tough. In fact, I might even consider infusing the rhubarb “broth” with ginger, too, to let the flavor really shine through.
2) More rhubarb! Perhaps this is why there are no strawberry-rhubarb ice creams out there? The rhubarb got lost amid all of the luscious strawberry taste. Admittedly, I skimped, using only the one stalk I had, but in the future I’ll be sure to use two or three.
3) If you like a chunky strawberry, as I do, wait till the absolute last minute, when the ice cream is just about done in the machine to put the strawberries in. In my eagerness, I jumped the gun a bit and then watched with horror as many of my strawberries got macerated down to nothing by the rotating ice cream blade. There were still some chunks, but not as many as I’d like.
But you know what? Even with all of these little changes I’d make, it was damn good ice cream. If only rhubarb were around all year…
This is my entry for the Monthly Mingle “Scream for Ice Cream” hosted by What’s For Lunch Honey?
Strawberry rhubarb ginger ice cream (makes about 1 1/2 quarts)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole (or low-fat) milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 stalk rhubarb, cut into small pieces (1/2 inch or so)
2 tbsp crystallized ginger, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup water
1. Put rhubarb and water in small pot and simmer over medium-low heat until it reaches a thick applesauce-like consistency. Using the back of a wooden spoon, push through a sieve and set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine the milk and cream. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until the sugar begins to dissolve. Stir in the vanilla. Set aside, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Then cover and refrigerate the mixture for 3-8 hours. Once the rhubarb mixture has cooled, stir it into the milk mixture.
3. In a bowl, using a fork, mash half of the chopped strawberries. Add the remaining coarsely chopped strawberries to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
4. Put the milk-rhubarb mixture into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. When nearly frozen (and the consistency of thick whipped cream), add the ginger and the strawberries. Churn or stir until just blended. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. If desired, garnish with additional strawberries before serving.