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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.  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 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!  


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