rhubarb ice cream

I’ve been making lots of old time favorites from my childhood such as rhubarb sauce, rhubarb crunch and rhubarb custard pie. But this past week I’ve been longing for something new: rhubarb ice cream. Even though I’d never tasted it and didn’t have a recipe, it sounded so perfect I simply had to make some for myself. Last Saturday I turned on the ice cream machine and began creating. The results? A creamy light vanilla ice cream with swirls of tart rhubarb running through it. Fabulous! Unfortunately, it has a drawback. It tastes so good you can’t stop indulging. It’s like having a freezer full of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, and no one’s keeping track……..it doesn’t last long! I always think homemade ice cream tastes best the day it is made. Or, maybe we just have a hard time keeping away from it once I’ve made it and it never lasts around here much longer than one day.

Rhubarb Sauce:
8 oz. rhubarb, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
8 oz. strawberries, sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
½ cup sugar

Ice Cream:
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups half and half cream
1 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt

Pile the rhubarb and strawberries together in a large saucepan and pour ½ cup of sugar over the fruit. Gently stir the mixture together and begin cooking over medium heat. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. (Don’t be tempted to add water, the fruit will eventually begin to soften and the sugar will melt creating enough liquid.)

Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook gently until the rhubarb is soft and the sugar has melted, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture is slightly thickened. Pour into a large bowl and refrigerate until chilled.

To make the ice cream, whisk together all of the ice cream ingredients in a large bowl until the sugar has melted. Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the directions that accompany the machine.

Remove the ice cream from the machine and place in a large bowl. Immediately add the chilled rhubarb sauce to the ice cream and fold in lightly, leaving the rhubarb in swirls throughout the vanilla ice cream. Scoop into a freezer container and freeze for about 2 hours before eating. If frozen longer, place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to slightly soften before serving.

Makes about 1½ quarts (6 cups)

Tip: You do need an ice cream machine to make this recipe. It may be worth it to buy one as they’re really quite inexpensive and all the big box retailers sell them. However, I don’t know why you couldn’t just fold the rhubarb sauce into 1 quart of softened super-good purchased vanilla ice cream for a similar result. It won’t be quite as good as totally homemade and I haven’t tried it, but it should work. If you try it, let me know how it comes out.