Thursday, 19 April 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream

I'm going to try not to complain about the weather. Or the delayed journeys because lightning took out the train signals, the permanent hair frizz or the water stains on my beautiful new blue leather shoes (YES i know should have sprayed them with leather protector, it's no good telling me now). Really, I'm going to try. Let's think about sunnier times, shall we?

Ahh, ice cream. That's better. Yes I know there's been lots of ice cream around here lately but I can't help it, I'm obsessed and I can't promise that it's going to stop any time soon. This particular one was inspired by a pot of single cream rapidly shuffling off this mortal coil. Ice cream seemed the obvious choice but I ummed and ahhed for quite a while, trying to choose a flavour. Then we were given half a punnet of strawberries, I spotted a few stalks of rhubarb left in the fridge, and it all became clear. Strawberry and rhubarb ice cream. What could be more glorious for spring?

The basic recipe here came again from the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Recipe Book (like the Oreo Mint) but as rhubarb didn't seem to be one of their favourite ingredients, I freestyled a bit. Turns out I had less cream than I thought as well, so ended up using mostly milk. And, well, I guessed some of the recipe and made more of it up. Are you turning away in despair yet?

Well don't! Come back! This was gorgeous. The flavours merge dreamily together, but you can really taste each fruit individually too. if anything,  this just shows how forgiving ice creams are - you can make it up as much as you want and you'll still end up with something delicious. Win win!

So yes, this would - and will - be perfect dripping out of an ice cream cone, when you're sitting out in the garden on a warm, sunny day, bees buzzing around you, washing flapping on the line, soaking in the Vitamin D and noticing the long strands of grass which must have escaped the mower's attention. It will be perfect, and I am trying to have faith that that sunny day will come. But in the meantime, I can testify that it's pretty nice eaten out of a bowl, on the sofa, snuggled up under a blanket,  listening to the rain lashing against dark windows. Well, come on. Everyone needs a treat after such a horrible day.

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream
Adapted from Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Book

- about 300g of rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1cm chunks
- splash of apple or orange juice (or just water)
- a tablespoon of vanilla sugar (or just caster sugar)
- 200g strawberries (or a pint - see note above) 
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup of caster sugar (again, I used vanilla sugar)
- 1 cup of single cream
- 2 cups of milk

Start off by making the rhubarb puree - heat the rhubarb, orange/apple juice and tablespoon of sugar in a large pan, stirring frequently, for about five to ten minutes or until pulpy. Leave aside to cool, then put in the fridge to get cold.

Slice the strawberries and mix with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the lemon juice. Cover in cling film and put in the fridge for an hour or so. Then mash with a fork until it's mostly pulpy, with a few small chunks.

When all the fruit is cold and ready to go, whisk the eggs for a few minutes until light and frothy. Add the sugar little by little, whisking as you go, and give it another minute or so of whisking once all the sugar has been added. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk again for a minute or so, scraping down the sides.

Dollop in the strawberry mush and rhubarb pulp and whisk again briefly to combine. Then transfer to an ice cream maker and churn for 20 minutes or so, before transferring to the freezer or your spoon. 

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