Vanilla Rhubarb Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

rhubarb chocolate chunk ice cream

With rhubarb's glorious reign quickly coming to a close, I wanted to give it one last hurrah, before it is replaced in the fruit bowl with stone fruit of a multitude of dizzying hues.  I made this rhubarb vanilla ice cream with (generous) dark chocolate chunks to bring to dinner with friends recently, and was giddy with how it came out.  So giddy in fact, that I fell ill (no relation) and my husband had to courier the ice cream over to the gathering on my behalf.

A testament to this great recipe, in all the "hellos", "she's not feeling well", "she'll be fine", and "yes, thanks I'd love to stay for one glass of wine", he forgot to tell the ladies what flavor of ice cream it actually was.  So when dessert rolled around, and he had long made his exit, there was a marvelous guessing game, as I was told, as to what they were actually eating.  The chocolate chunk part, fortunately, was obvious, but the tangy, slightly fruity, slightly vegetal, very rich and creamy rest of it elicited guesses from mascarpone to peach to lemon curd, in an email steam entitled "Mystery Ice Cream".

The slightly tart rhubarb is a great compliment to the sweet, rich french vanilla, and the bitter, crunchy chocolate.  This recipe could also be great later in the summer with nectarines, peaches or maybe even white cherries in place of rhubarb.  Regardless, now that you know How to Deal with Rhubarb, I can think of few better ways with which to get started.


Vanilla Rhubarb Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
by Catie Baumer Schwalb

Makes about one quart

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup rhubarb puree, see below
1/4 cup (or more) finely chopped dark chocolate

fresh rhubarb puree:
3 large stalks of rhubarb, about 8 ounces (2 cups roughly chopped)
1 cup water
1/8 cup sugar

For the puree, roughly chop the rhubarb stalks in 1/2 inch slices.  In a saucepan small enough to hold the rhubarb somewhat snugly in roughly one layer, combine rhubarb, water and sugar over medium heat.  When the mixture starts to simmer, and the sugar has dissolved, cover and turn down to a low simmer until the fruit is soft and cooked through, about ten to fifteen minutes.  Remove from heat and puree either in a blender, food processor, immersion blender or food mill.  Move to refrigerator to chill.

For the ice cream:

Combine milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean and seeds in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  Bring to a gentle boil and then remove from heat.  In the meantime, combine egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl.  Whisk until combined and yolks are a pale yellow.

Once the milk mixture has boiled, slowly and careful temper the yolks and sugar by very gradually adding small amounts of the hot milk mixture to the yolks and sugar, while whisking constantly.  When about a cup of the hot liquid has been added and the outside of the bottom of the yolk bowl feels warm to the touch, return all of the contents of the bowl to the original milk sauce pan.

Prepare a large bowl filled with cold water and ice (or ice packs!) with a smaller bowl inside to strain the ice cream into.  Have a fine strainer, or a strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheese cloth nearby.

Cook the ice cream base over medium heat, stirring gently, but constantly.  When the mixture coats the back of the spoon, and you can draw a line on the spoon through the mixture with your finger, without it dripping back down, it is ready.  Work quickly or a few seconds later you'll have scrambled eggs.  Strain the ice cream base into the bowl over the ice bath, though the prepared strainer.  Stir gently to help bring the temperature down.

Combine the vanilla ice cream base with the chilled rhubarb puree.  Chill the entire mixture for several hours in the refrigerator, up to overnight.  Process in an ice cream maker as per the manufacturers instructions.  Just before it is finished churning, add the chocolate chunks to be incorporated with the last few turns.

Chill for a hour or two before serving.

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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