I had decided that I wasn’t going to add another ice cream post since we already have a hazelnut gelato post from our resident ice cream expert Colin. But then I made rhubarb vanilla ice cream.
I’m no expert when it comes to homemade ice cream. This was only my third try and my first with fruit. And I still haven’t managed to achieve a good consistency after a day in the freezer (I’m assuming—will have to wait till tomorrow to see for sure). But I think I’ve been doing pretty well picking flavors to try out: batch 1 was coconut and batch 2 was pumpkin (yes, I do realize that technically the pumpkin ice cream is the only true fruit ice cream I have made, what with rhubarb being stems and coconuts coming from cans and all).
Rhubarb vanilla yogurt is one of the foods I miss most from Berlin. It’s not too sweet, unlike yogurt in the US. And it comes in 500g returnable jars, which just seems like a better system than buying little plastic containers all the time. So when I got a craving yesterday for homemade ice cream, I figured it would be the perfect way to use the rhubarb in the garden, which is fast becoming pithy and stringy thanks to the ridiculous heat.
Apparently not too many people are into rhubarb ice cream because I had a hard time finding recipes online that sounded good and that weren’t “reduced calorie.” Blech. I ended up going with this one but using Mark Bittman’s method for French ice cream in How to Cook Everything because it’s less tedious. Bittman does have a recipe for fruit ice cream, but he says “Philadelphia-style ice cream ‘supports’ fruit better than does French-style ice cream.” I don’t know what that means. Colin? I like my ice cream custardy, so that’s why I went for the 5-egg-yolk recipe I found instead of the no-egg Philadelphia-style recipe. I didn’t use Bittman’s French-style recipe because my ice cream maker can only just handle 3 cups of dairy (as I learned from his coconut ice cream). Three cups of dairy plus 1 cup of compote would be too much.
Instead of following either recipe exactly, I chilled the custard and compote separately. I put the custard in the ice cream maker and let it set up about halfway before adding the fruit since some of the fruit ice cream recipes I read suggested doing it that way. Straining out the rhubarb like the recipe calls for just seemed unnecessary, although I suppose some people might prefer that texture. The chunks of rhubarb were a bit icy, just like the fruit in store-bought ice cream. Ask me in two days, when my ice cream will likely be solid brick of ice crystals, whether I’d use the same method again.
At any rate, fresh from the ice cream maker and hardened for a couple of hours, the ice cream was delicious. It tasted just like my favorite yogurt. It was well worth the effort.