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Rhubarb Ice Cream with a Caramel Swirl

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When I was a little girl, living in New York City, my parents say my consistent question was … WHEN ARE WE MOVING? No, REALLY, when are we moving?
We’re not. We live in New York City. The greatest city in the world. EVERYONE wants to live here.
Well, not ME!
Where do you think you’d rather be living?
MAINE!
How or why I had that answer is completely beyond me.
So, some 45+ years later, here I am living in Maine, Downeast Maine … for a girl who grew up in Manhattan, land of Chinese food at 4:00 am, taxis, shopping, WALKING to the corner store at any hour for anything you can imagine, this is rural … REALLY rural.
I live in a lovely house, with wonderful gardens … and, of course, there’s the Dear One (who makes it all worthwhile). I just need to overlook the SNAKES, and the black flies (who seem to find me rather tasty), and the ticks, (who also find me rather tasty), and the ginormous rabbits that just seem to come out of nowhere!
Rhubarb
In our garden there’s a HUGE patch of rhubarb. Once it grew enough to use, my mind started swirling with thoughts of what wonderful things I could make with this rhubarb.
There’s a LOT of rhubarb, so be prepared for many rhubarb recipes to come. I did freeze a bunch so I have it handy for my new business venture The Maine Ingredients (on FB too, head over and like my page, please.)
Sitting around with Lisa one morning and talking about recipes for rhubarb, her face lit up and she said, ‘There’s a great looking recipe for Rhubarb Ice Cream in the New York Times. It has a caramel swirl!’
Done
Truth of the matter is, I had never made anything with rhubarb, hadn’t really eaten rhubarb before, so I wasn’t so sure about rhubarb in ice cream. BUT IT HAS A CARAMEL SWIRL! How bad could it possibly be!?
Oh, it’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s freakin’ fabulous! The rhubarb is sweet and little syrupy, the ice cream itself has a nice, surprising tang from the sour cream (which I wasn’t sure about as an ice cream ingredient), and the caramel … oh, my, my, the caramel. The caramel is just decadent. Next time, it just has to be a salted caramel!
Rhubarb is now my friend. The snake, the rabbit, the tics and black flies … not so much!
  • 1 and 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 and 3/4 C plus 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 and 1/2 C sour cream
  • 3/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 C heavy cream

In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, whisk together the milk, 3/4 cup sugar, the salt, the vanilla bean seeds and its pod. Simmer gently until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 30 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod and return mixture to a bare simmer.

Vanilla Bean

Place the yolks in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture. Scrape the custard back into the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in sour cream. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.

Rhubarb and sugar

In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb with 1 cup sugar. Simmer until rhubarb is just tender and has begun releasing its juices, but has not started to fall apart, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rhubarb to a bowl. Continue to simmer the juices until syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes more. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb. Cool completely.

In a clean, dry and preferably nonstick skillet, sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over medium heat. When it begins to melt and lightly color, sprinkle in 2 more tablespoons and start swirling pan to help evenly distribute sugar. Add the final 2 tablespoons and cook, swirling pan until all the sugar has melted. Let cook, swirling occasionally, until the sugar syrup caramelizes and turns dark brown. Pour in the heavy cream and 2 tablespoons water (stand back; it may splatter). Simmer, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula until smooth. Cool completely.

Pour the custard base into an ice cream machine and churn. Add rhubarb compote for the last minute of churning.

Scrape a quarter of the caramel into the bottom of a freezer-proof quart container. Top with a quarter of the ice cream. Repeat layering until all of the caramel and ice cream has been used, ending with the ice cream. Freeze until firm for at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.

NOTE: ONE WEEK!? HAHAHAHA!

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3 Responses

  1. LOVE rhubarb! HATE snakes! xoxo

  2. SNAKES???!!!???? Yikes. Is there a month when there aren’t snakes or snow or flies? :-). Just in case someone wanted to make travel plans.

    I have an ice-cream maker (I think) but no room in my apartment sized fridge freezer to prep the canister so I can make it.

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