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Ice cream weather hasn’t really arrived here in North Yorkshire just yet.  But, after three and a half years of waiting, my rhubarb plant is finally producing enough stalks for a harvest, so a celebration was called for – and what better way to celebrate than with ice cream?

I planted a small rhubarb plant near the bottom of the garden some years ago.  I like to think the spot was picked for all the right reasons – good soil, plenty of sun, etc, but most likely it’s there because there was a space at the time.  Each winter the plant gets a good mulch of compost, and for the last two springs the plant has produced about three leaves and then huge numbers of flowers.  I’d read the books and wasn’t expecting a harvest in the first year, but just a few stalks would have been nice last year.  This year though, things have improved and there are lots of stalks for pulling.

I use Rose Elliot’s raspberry ice cream recipe a lot (it’s in her book – Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking, if you have a copy).  It’s a really easy recipe, and I like that it keeps the ingredients simple – just cream, fruit and sugar.  For this version, I’ve replaced the raspberries with rhubarb and added some ginger, just because the two flavours go really well together.

The ice cream was really good – I’m going to freeze some pots of rhubarb puree for making more come the summer, because it’s going to taste even better served with some sunshine.

Rhubarb & Ginger Ice Cream

225g rhubarb, chopped and with any stringy bits removed

1-2 tbsp water

130g soft brown sugar

300ml double cream

50g stem ginger, fairly finely chopped

Put the rhubarb in a heavy based saucepan with enough water to stop it burning as it cooks – it really doesn’t need to be much.  Add the sugar and stir gently as you bring the mixture slowly to a simmer.  Once the sugar is completely dissolved, leave the rhubarb to cook until it’s really tender, mine took about 10 minutes but the time might vary depending on the size and freshness of the rhubarb stalks.  When it’s cooked, take the pan off the heat and let it cool down a little.  Then liquidise the rhubarb to a smooth puree.

In a large bowl whisk the cream until it forms stiff peaks.  Gently add the rhubarb puree and chopped stem ginger and fold them in until completely mixed.

Pour the ice cream mixture into a plastic tub with a lid and put in the freezer for a couple of hours.  After this time, take it out and tip the ice cream into a big bowl.  Give the mixture a good stir – the ice cream around the edges of the pot will have started to freeze quicker than the middle, stirring mixes everything up together again.  This really is worth doing because it ensures that the ice cream freezes evenly and will have a lovely smooth and creamy texture.  Return the ice cream to the freezer until it’s completely frozen.

Remove the pot of ice cream from the freezer half an hour or so before you want to use it, to give it time to soften enough to be scooped out.

 

I haven’t joined Ren Behan’s Simple and in Season link up before, but as this recipe is both simple and in season it seems to fit the brief.  This month’s link up is being hosted by The Botanical Baker.  Both blogs have loads of great recipe ideas, I heartily recommend them but with a warning that you may well get hooked and spend way too much time reading them.

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