If the flavor combination of strawberries and rhubarb together isn’t the taste of spring, I don’t know what is. Our friend Letta was passing through Buffalo last week on a road trip she was taking from Minneapolis, so when we found out she would be staying with us for a night before we left for NYC, I really had wanted to make a whole meal for her, but I just didn’t have the time to pull it all together with everything we had going on and us leaving the next day for New York. Regardless though, I knew I had to make some ice cream for her. We met Letta about 6 years ago through the gigposters and screen printing world and we’ve managed to stay in contact all these years. She was one of the people I spoke at length with when I decided to start this blog, she helped me narrow down my blog name and concept and she’s just an all around awesome friend, who’s always awesome to chat with. Letta reads my blog and tries my recipes, but I am pretty sure my ice cream recipes make her the happiest, so I let her pick the flavor and she went with strawberry rhubarb. I decided I wanted to get as many of the ingredients locally and I was lucky enough to finally squeeze some time in to hit the farmers market a few days before she arrived. It’s still pretty early in the season, so the pickens were slim, but I was just happy to be there and see fresh, local food.
It was a bit too early for strawberries here, so I got some organic strawberries from Wegman’s along with some organic half and half and heavy cream, otherwise I grabbed the rhubarb and eggs from the farmers market. I searched around for a good custard based ice cream recipe that I could modify a bit and make my own. I ended up going with a bit more half and half then heavy cream since I was able to buy them packaged in the perfect amounts. You could also use milk in place of the half and half or any other proportional variation that you prefer. I also find that adding in a bit of vodka, or other liquor, tends to brighten the flavors a bit and keep the ice cream from getting insanely hard once frozen. Vodka really doesn’t produce any specific taste, but you could certainly play around with something that does. You could also add a teaspoon or two of vanilla.
This ice cream is so beautifully smooth and creamy, a subtle fruitiness from the strawberry with a bit of tartness from the rhubarb. And as Letta put it, “I found that it had this amazing almost marshmallow flavor to it, under the standard expected tartness from the rhubarb and sweetness from the strawberry. ” Mark was not only excited about the ice cream, but maybe even more so about the leftovers we had for when we got home from NYC.
Nothing makes me happier than making something for friends and family that I can see makes them happy, there really is nothing better than spending time with someone, catching up and enjoying some delicious food made with love.
4-6 stalks fresh rhubarb
1 cup organic raw sugar, divided in half
1 pint organic strawberries
2 cups of organic half-and-half
1 cup organic heavy cream
4 large brown egg yolks, from local pasture raised chickens
1-2 tablespoons vodka
Cut off the leaves, ends, etc of the rhubarb and cut into 1/2″ pieces, put in a medium saucepan, add in 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of raw sugar, simmer for about 5-8 minutes until tender, then drain.
Place the hulled and washed strawberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of sugar, mash slightly w/ fork and leave at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Puree the rhubarb and strawberry together in blender until smooth and combined.
Warm the half-and-half in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm half-and-half into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the fruit puree, stirring until cool over an ice bath.
Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator and churn according to your ice-cream maker’s directions.