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Friday, July 22, 2016

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Rhubarb Custard Pie is a delicious blend of tart rhubarb and sweet, creamy custard enclosed in a flaky pie crust.  It is my favourite rhubarb pie, using only rhubarb.  A scoop of vanilla ice cream tops the pie perfectly for a dessert fit for a queen. 

Rhubarb season has extended itself by several more weeks with a second crop just about ready to pick.  I've frozen several bags of rhubarb from the June crop and am looking forward to using it during the cold, dreary winter.  A taste of summer is always welcome come February! You can make this pie with frozen rhubarb but nothing beats fresh rhubarb when it comes to making pies.

Blind Bake
The recipe calls for an unbaked pie crust but, if you wish, you may lightly pre-bake the crust to help ensure the bottom does not become soggy.  You can find directions on how to blind bake an unbaked pie crust here.

Rhubarb Custard Pie
4 cups sliced rhubarb
1 ½ cups sugar
4 tablespoons flour
Pinch salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
¼ cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 deep 9-inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Stir together sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg.  Mix in the eggs and cream and whisk until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.  Stir in the sliced rhubarb and pour in the unbaked pie crust.  (You may also lightly pre-bake your pie crust, which helps keep the bottom crust from becoming soggy.)

Bake 15 minutes in the 425 degree oven.  Turn heat down to 350 and bake an additional 45 minutes or until centre of pie is set but not dry. 

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before serving.  Also very good refrigerated and served cold.

Serve pie with a scoop of ice cream or a good dollop of whipped cream.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Stir together sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg.  Mix in the eggs and cream.

Whisk until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.  

Stir in the sliced rhubarb and pour in the unbaked pie crust or pre-baked crust. 

I pre-baked my crust but you may use the unbaked crust if you wish.  I should have used a deeper pan as you will see in the next few pictures.

Because this pie takes a long time to bake, it may be advisable to wrap the edges of the crust in foil to prevent burning.

The pie is baked to perfection but, yes, I should have used a deeper pie pan.  The filling flowed over and burned to the edges, even with the foil coverings.  Will I never learn?

Delicious, creamy Rhubarb Custard Pie.  

Serve your pie with a generous scoop of your favourite vanilla ice cream.  

Rhubarb Custard Pie. . . tart, sweet and creamy, all in one bite.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream

Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream is THE BEST and THE CREAMIEST strawberry ice cream you will ever taste.  I know everyone makes that claim about what they make but this is not an idol statement. Don and I had all we could do to constrain ourselves from eating the whole batch of ice cream.   Creamy Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream is layered and swirled with a delicious, thick fruit puree that stays soft throughout the frozen ice cream.  "Just one more spoonful," will be your byword when eating this magnificent ice cream. 

The things you find out when you're a food blogger!  Did you know the thrid Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day?  That's today and by some happy coincidence I planned on making Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream before I knew this day existed.  

As you may know, I have a lovely patch of rhubarb in my back yard.  Even though it is past mid-July it is still producing and I think I'll get a second crop in a few weeks.  I froze most of the first crop that wasn't used in pies or other baked goods so I have a nice supply for future baking during the cold winter months when a reminder of the warm summer is needed.  But with a second crop on the way I wanted to use some of the frozen to make room for the next batch.  What nicer way than to combine some of the rhubarb with the ever-abundant strawberries that are coming from the mainland.  (Our strawberries will be on the market any day now and I can't wait!)  

While shopping on Friday I came across a great deal on strawberries that seemed too good to be true.  I bought two containers and, of course, the price was too good to be true.  Half the berries were starting to rot but I managed to save most of them.  I used the very best ones in a dessert and the rest either needed to be frozen or cooked.  I decided to cook them with some rhubarb for a nice ice cream sauce.  I had about 1½ cups chopped, sliced and mutilated berries to which I added about 1 cup of frozen rhubarb and some sugar.  I cooked this for a few minutes until everything had softened and poured it in a jar and left it on the counter to cool.  It looked so inviting that I was contemplating how and what I'd eat it with.  And then it just came to me, make strawberry rhubarb ice cream.  So that is what I'm doing right now as I type.  The ice cream has been made and churned and is sitting in my freezer for a couple of hours until I can dig in and enjoy.

You will want to make everything the day before or at least early in the morning to give plenty of time for everything to chill.  The evaporated milk is used because it has half the water content of regular milk.  This will balance out the watery strawberry rhubarb mixutre and help give the ice cream a lovely creamy texture, which is, of course, what we want.

Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
2 cups sliced very ripe strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup sliced rhubarb, fresh or frozen
⅓ cup sugar

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  If the mixture seems a little dry starting off, add a tablespoon of water.  Cook until the fruit is soft and the juice is somewhat syrupy, about 8-10 minutes. Let the mixture cool 10 minutes and place in a strainer to let the juice drip through.  You may use the back of a spoon to help this along.  Reserve the liquid and remaining pulp, making sure you have ½ cup pulp set aside for the swirl.  Chill both liquid and pulp.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl
½ cup reserved strawberry rhubarb pulp
1 tablespoon sugar

Place the pulp and sugar in a small saucepan.  Set the pan over a very low heat and reduce the mixture as much as you can without burning or caramelizing the sugar.  The pulp does not have to boil or simmer.  The object is to reduce the water content and make a thick jam-like mixture.  This will take 30-45 minutes.  Stir occasionally as you do this.  When reduced and thick, place in the refrigerator until very cold.  I spread the mixture on a small plate to hasten the cooling process.

Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream
Reserved liquid from straining fruit
Reserved remaining strawberry rhubarb pulp
¾ cup evaporated milk, undiluted
1½ cups whipping cream
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt 

In a measuring cup add enough reserved strawberry rhubarb pulp and reserved liquid to measure ¾ cup.  You should have about half pulp and half liquid.  Add this mixture to a blender or food processor and add the remaining ice cream ingredients.  Blend until the fruit is pureed or as smooth as you would like.  Pour the blended mixture into a bowl and place in the refrigerator until very cold, at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.  

When the ice cream mixture is well chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions for making ice cream.  It will take 15-20 minutes to churn using an electric ice cream maker.  Scrape the ice cream into a chilled freezer proof bowl or container. Do this in several layers placing about ⅓ of the Swirl Mixture between each layer.  Use a knife to swirl the mixture around the ice cream.  Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Freeze the ice cream about 4 hours before serving, if you can wait that long. 

Makes about 1 litre/quart.  

Cook the strawberries, rhubarb and sugar to make a sauce.  When cool, strain off the juice.  Chill both the remaining pulp and the strained juice as you will need both for the finished ice cream.

To make the ice cream, measure ¾ cup of pulp and juice together.  Don't go by the picture as I made too much the first time.  You should have ¾ cup of fruit and juice, total.  

Use undiluted evaporated milk instead of whole milk.  The evaporated milk has half the water content and will mix with the strawberry rhubarb sauce and balance out the extra water in the fruits.

Mix ¾ cup evaporated milk and fruit sauce together.  You should have 1½ cups of this mixture.  Again, do not go by the picture. Follow the directions in the recipe.

Add the remaining ingredients--1½ cups whipping cream will bring you to the 3 cup mark.

Don't forget the sugar and salt.  Only a pinch of salt is needed but it enhances the flavour.

 Blend the mixture to puree the fruit.  

The mixture should be smooth with little flecks of fruit showing.  Pour this in a bowl or container and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.

While the ice cream mixture is chilling make the thick Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl.  Place ½ cup of the reserved pulp in a small saucepan.  Add an additional tablespoon of sugar.  Place over low heat to slowly cook and reduce in size.  

Once the mixture became hot and was starting to simmer I turned the heat to the lowest setting.  You don't want to burn or even caramelize the sugar in the fruit.  You just want the water to evaporate.  

Occasionally stir the mixture.  It will take 30-45 minutes to reduce to a thick pulpy sauce.  Because the water has been reduced the sugar and fruit has thickened.  This will help the swirl not to freeze solid in the ice cream. 

Place the swirl mixture in the refrigerate to chill.  
I spread the mixture on a plate so it would cool down faster. 

When the Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream mix has been thoroughly chilled pour it in the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions for churning.  My paddle has to be spinning when I pour in the mixture. 

It takes 15-20 minutes to churn ice cream in an electric ice cream maker.  Don't overfill the container because the liquid mixture expands as it freezes.  

Once your ice cream has churned, quickly pack it in your container.  Layer the thick swirl in between the layers of ice cream.  Use a knife to swirl the fruit throughout each layer.

I used a glass loaf pan and it was almost filled to the top--about 1 litre/quart.  Place the ice cream in the freezer for about 4 hours before serving.  Of course, you can always sneak a spoonful or two before it's ready.

 Finally, the ice cream has ripened.  It's ready to serve.

See that lovely fruity swirl going through the ice cream.  Oh, yum!

 One scoop is good, but. . .

 . . .two scoop are better!

What better way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day than with 
creamy, smooth and indulgent Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream!  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vanilla Custard Ice Cream. . . Cheater’s Version

This Cheater's Version of Vanilla Custard Ice Cream is a sure winner when it comes to an egg-free ice cream. Vanilla instant pudding replaces the eggs in the recipe so it's not as rich as real Vanilla Custard Ice Cream, or as decadent as the vegan chocolate ice cream, but it's surprisingly very good. 

Sometimes you get the urge to make homemade ice cream but don't want the bother of cooking a custard base, especially if it's hot and humid.  Warm summer days, sitting under the deck umbrella, with a bowlful of homemade ice cream is such a pleasant way to cool down.  WHAT AM I SAYING!!  IT'S JULY AND IT'S COLD ENOUGH TO FREEZE THE ICE CREAM JUST SITTING ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER!!  Yes, another chilly and rainy July so far.  What's up with this weather??  July is supposed to be the warmest month.  Dad always took his holidays in July.  I always look forward to July.  And here we have a repeat of last year (so far).  Sun has not reached my body.  If I stood naked against a white wall I'd blend right in. (I promise I'll never do that! Young children and old people will go blind.)  

And with all that said, in the midst of all this unseasonably cold weather, I spied the freezer bowl of my ice cream maker while rummaging for something or other in the basement freezer.  Ah, I thought, homemade ice cream!  And regardless of the weather, the unmistakable craving for that lovely, icy cold and smooth homemade treat started taking over my senses.   Having just over a cup of whipping cream in the fridge and a box of vanilla instant pudding in the cupboard, I thought it time to give you the recipe for this quick and easy ice cream treat.  It takes just as long to freeze but the mixture comes together in just a minute or two and you don't have to cool down a hot mixture.  

Maybe the weather will change and I'll get to finish the last scoop of ice cream while cooling down on the back deck, under the sun umbrella during the hot, hot days of July. . . sigh. . .

Vanilla Custard Ice Cream–Cheater’s Version
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 teaspoons vanilla
⅓-½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding powder
Pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together until the pudding and sugar are dissolved.  Refrigerate until cold or put it in the freezer about 30 minutes so it is very cold.  Freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.  When finished churning, remove from freezer container and place in tub or bowl in your refrigerator to continue freezing. 

Makes about 1 litre/quart.

This is my electric ice cream maker.  I think I bought it at Walmart for about $20.  Everyone should have an ice cream maker.  You never know when the mood will strike.  

Milk, cream, sugar, pudding and vanilla.  Everything ready for ice cream.  I forgot the pinch of salt.

 Just in case you couldn't read what was written on the purple box, here it is in English.

 Mix everything together.  In goes the sugar.

 Then the vanilla pudding and...

 ...don't forget the vanilla.  

Mix everything together until the sugar and pudding are dissolved.  A whisk is good for doing this.

Place the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator to get very cold.  
Or place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions.  I have to pour the mixture into the freezer compartment while the dash (beater) is running.  Many ice cream makers work the same way.

The mixture will be quite liquid when the machine starts running. 

About 10 minutes into the process the mixture will start to thicken and look icy.

The ice cream is almost done.  It has thickened and expanded and it's looking more like ice cream.

The ice cream has finished churning.  The dash will not turn because the mixture is too thick. This takes about 20 minutes in my ice cream maker.

The ice cream has expanded and almost fills the container.  
Use a firm spatula to scrape from the freezer container.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer container and pack it in a tub or bowl and place in the freezer to ripen.  That means it continues freezing and becomes more solid.  I don't know if you can actually wait that long.

 When the ice cream has frozen to the consistency you like, scoop it out and enjoy. 

And what's this?  Not the sun shining!  

On the back deck, cooling down, with a bowl of homemade Vanilla Custard Ice Cream. . . Cheater's Version.  Didn't I tell you, July is the best and warmest month!

Now, for a little sun on this pale, white body.  Can you see the arm?  

Cool and refreshing on a lovely, warm July day.