Strawberries made their first appearance at the farmer's market this week and I immediately snatched up a quart with visions of many delicious summer desserts instantly dancing through my head. With the oppressive heat that plagued us here in Wisconsin for a good part of this week, a big bowl of ice cream was practically a necessity. Although ice cream can be extremely refreshing in the depths of summer heat, it can also be very fatty and heavy and just weigh you down. This ice cream is the perfect bowl of refreshment in the summer heat because while the half-and-half and whole milk make the ice cream creamy and smooth, the large amount of fruit keeps the ice cream bright and refreshing.
One of the most importants things to consider with this recipe is that the amount of sugar given here is merely a guide. The sweetness of the strawberries and tartness of the rhubarb can vary greatly, so taste both components, start by adding less sugar than the recipe call for, and adjust accordingly. The strawberries I had were quite sweet and I didn't find it necessary to add very much sugar, although I tend to like my desserts less sweet than many people. I reported the amount of sugar from Martha Stewart's, although my ice cream needed significantly less than original recipe. Supermarket strawberries tend to be a lot less sweet and flavorful than fresh farmer's fruit, and they will likely need the full amount, if not even a bit more. This ice cream manages to be sweet, tart, and creamy all at once, and is the perfect end to a hot summer evening.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes about 1 quart
1 pound trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces ripe strawberries, hulled
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup whole milk
1. Place rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar, and the water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to mediumlow; let simmer, stirring frequently, until rhubarb is very tender and beginning to fall apart, about 12 minutes. Mash with a potato masher, if desired, to achieve a smoother texture. Remove from heat; transfer to a bowl; set aside.
2. Place strawberries in the bowl of a food processor; puree. Strain through a fine sieve or chinois into a bowl; set aside.
3. Scald cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not let boil. Remove from heat, add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
4. In a medium bowl, combine cooked rhubarb, strawberry puree, and half-and-half mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.