Rhubarb Crisp Ice Cream
Because the truth of the matter is, I think I’ve saved the best rhubarb recipe for last. Picture a rhubarb crisp: sweet-tart soft pink fruit coated with a crunchy brown sugar oat streusel, and topped with a scoop of ice cream. That vision was exactly what I had in mind when I concocted this ice cream flavor, using a few ideas from The Perfect Scoop, of course.
gorgeous araucana eggs for the custard base
finished custard, just chillin’ out
The ice cream has three components: quickly stewed rhubarb, brown sugar cinnamon ice cream and crunchy oatmeal praline. Together, they’re like a bite of rhubarb crisp in ice cream form!
oatmeal praline – so good
And even though the ice cream custard itself is delicious — peachy instead of pink, but still tasting of rhubarb and brown sugar and cinnamon — I have to admit that the best part of this ice cream, to me, were the chunks of oatmeal praline nestled throughout the creamy ice cream. I’ve always been one of those people who loves chunky ice creams, to the point where I sometimes stand over an open pint of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough and painstakingly excavate most of the cookie dough gobs (yes, I have surgical precision when it comes to excavating tasty chunks from creamy ice cream). The praline is quite hard at room temperature, but after it sits in the ice cream for a bit, it softens ever so slightly to give you that pleasing crunch (without breaking a tooth.)
I think this ice cream would be terrific made with other types of seasonal fruit, too — peaches come to mind, or even better, sauteed apples!
Oh. I’m getting ahead of myself. One season at a time…
Rhubarb Crisp Ice Cream
created by piecing several recipes together from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm the milk, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, brown sugar and cinnamon; set a mesh strainer over this bowl and set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Once the milk mixture has warmed, slowly pour it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the yolks. Transfer the entire custard mixture back into the medium saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the custard mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the bowl containing the heavy cream, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir to combine, then stir in the vanilla. Set into an ice bath to cool thoroughly.
Freeze in your ice cream maker, adding the stewed rhubarb (see below) and oatmeal praline (see below) during the last few minutes of churning. Add the rhubarb first, making sure it’s swirled throughout the frozen ice cream, then add the oatmeal praline.
Makes a generous quart.
Note: this recipe makes a little more than you need for the ice cream. Stir in as much as you like while the ice cream is churning, and save any extra to top the ice cream or to stir into yogurt, etc. I also used slightly less sugar than originally called for, as I didn’t want the end product to be too sweet when combined with the sweet ice cream base.
You can make this ahead and refrigerate it.
12 ounces rhubarb
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Wash and trim the ends of the rhubarb. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a medium saucepan with the water and sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through. Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of coarse salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with foil. Spread the oats evenly on the sheet and bake in the oven, about 10 minutes, or until they’re fragrant and toasted. Remove from oven; transfer the oats to a bowl and return the foil to the baking sheet.
Spread the sugar evenly in a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet. Cook over medium heat, watching carefully, until the sugar begins to liquefy and darken around the edges. When it begins to do this, you can stir it gently with a heatproof spatula to moisten and melt the remaining sugar crystals.
Continue gently stirring and tilting the pan until all of the sugar is melted and the caramel begins to smoke. When it’s turned a deep golden color, turn off the heat and immediately add the oats to the skillet.
Stir the oats quickly but gently to coat them all with caramel, then scrape them onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Spread them out as best you can, sprinkle with the salt and let them cool completely. Once they’re cool, you can break them into smaller chunks by either pulsing them in a food processor or placing them in a large ziptop bag and smacking them with a meat mallet or rolling pin (I opted for this latter method.)
Makes about 1 cup.