After I made rhubarb pie, along with what I considered to be a very disappointing attempt at a fruity ice cream (though it went very well with the pie), I got to thinking what other ice cream flavors would be nice with rhubarb pie.
Strawberry ice cream is the obvious answer, but when have I ever done anything obvious?
I decided to skip the whole baking a pie part and just do a strawberry-rhubarb ice cream.
But there is a secret ingredient.
Once again, I was flipping through The Flavor Bible, doing my research for this recipe and trying to come up with something that would make my ice cream extra special. I noticed that rhubarb, while clearly a match with strawberries, also allegedly goes quite well with angelica, which I had seen in the health food store but had never tried before.
So I took a special trip into town and picked some up (along with over $100 in other general groceries and specific little ingredients…oops).The angelica I bought was of the dried root variety, but apparently in the spring you can also gather the young stalks and candy them. I don’t know where or how to find angelica and it’s a bit late in the season to find it growing young enough, but if you do happen to have some candied angelica then why not toss a little on for garnish.
The angelica has a very “stalky” smell to it, much like celery or, well, rhubarb. I think it intensifies the rhubarb flavor in an opposite direction that the strawberry takes it, so combining all three is really maximizing the rhubarb’s potential. The result is a slightly tart, definitely rhubarb-ish ice cream (which reminds me of honey, I bet rhubarb and honey would be an interesting combination), studded with fresh little bites of strawberry.
The ice cream, pre-freezing, was disappointingly not very pink despite the relatively large amount of strawberry-rhubarb mixture I stirred in, so I did add a little red food coloring, but you have to be very careful to not add too much and also to whisk it until there are no more little blobs and swirls of red hiding in the ice cream.
I made little tartlet crusts with the pate sucree recipe from The Secrets of Baking, but any sweet pie crust will go wonderfully with this ice cream. You could bake cookie-like rounds of pie crust and make strawberry-rhubarb pie ice cream sandwiches. Or crumble the crust as a topping. Or just eat the ice cream on its own. Or with some strawberry-rhubarb compote. Or with shortcake. Or…whatever.
Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream
- About 1 cup strawberries, chopped into tiny pieces
- About 1 cup rhubarb, chopped into tiny pieces
- 1 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups milk
- 1-2 Tbsp dried angelica root
- 6 egg yolks
- Pinch fine salt
- 2 Tbsp vodka
- Few small drops liquid red food coloring
Place the strawberries in a small bowl and mix in 1/4 cup of the sugar, then refrigerate. Place the rhubarb and another 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small-medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring gently every once in a while, until the rhubarb is soft and in a pink syrup. Combine with the strawberries and mix well, then return to the refrigerator.
Combine the cream, milk, remaining sugar and angelica in a large saucepan and bring to a low boil to dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cover for 10-25 minutes to let the angelica steep. In the meantime, whisk together the yolks and salt in a large bowl. Once the cream mixture is done steeping, strain out the angelica. Pour 1/4 cup cream mixture into the yolks, whisking vigorously. Keep whisking and pour the rest of the cream in one continuous stream. Pour back into the saucepan and cook, whisking, until somewhat thickened (should coat the back of a spoon, across which you should be able to draw a line in with your finger). Pour back into the large bowl and stir in the vodka and strawberry-rhubarb mixture, then gently and gradually whisk in the food coloring a drop at a time – you don’t want it to be neon pink! Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring a few times. Once fully cooled, transfer to a large plastic container (or do all this stuff with an ice cream maker) and freeze 3 hours. Stir, scraping the sides gently, once every hour until the ice cream is fluffy and nearly scoopable. Allow to freeze up to another hour for scoopable deliciousness!
I’m not sure what my next ice cream recipe will be, but my next post will be even pinker than this one!