rhubarb ice cream

“What do you do with this?” Is the typical question that I have been getting recently when purchasing these slender wildly crimson stalks.

The answer: pies, tarts or crumbles, but rhubarb is a great candidate for jam as well. It can be cooked as a compote and served over custard or ice cream, even layered in a trifle would be delicious. Quite often it is paired with other fruits such as strawberries, raspberries or apples to tame down the lively tartness.

I recently stumbled upon a recipe for rhubarb ice cream and just had to make it! I Began by making a simple vanilla custard or crème anglaise and then added the cooked rhubarb the last few minutes of churning. The result was beautiful, a soft pale pink with a subtle tartness that was hard to resist. The black flecks from the vanilla seeds dotted throughout added a lovely underpinning of flavor.  Spooned into chilled bowls and served straight from the churning vessel was the best way to appreciate its wonderful distinctive quality.

A very simple method for cooking rhubarb is to cut it up into even pieces with a sharp knife. Lay in a heavy-based pot and sprinkle with sugar (one-quarter of the weight of rhubarb in sugar). Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to draw out the moisture, then cook gently and stir until just soft. Depending on your rhubarb you may need a little water or you could substitute orange juice  or a sweet wine.  A little vanilla bean is a lovely addition, but I think you will really be amazed that the rhubarb flavor alone is all you need.


Rhubarb Ice Cream

inspired by Skye Gyngell

Ice cream base

Crème Anglaise (vanilla custard)

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 6 egg yolks, preferably organic free-range
  • ½ cup sugar


  • 4 lbs. rhubarb
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup to 1 cup orange juice or water


Start by making the custard base for the ice cream following the method for crème anglaise. Set aside to cool.

Wash and trim the rhubarb, then cut into 1 inch chunks. Lay in a heavy-based pot and sprinkle with sugar. Scrape out the fine black seeds of the vanilla bean and put into the rhubarb mixture along with the bean itself. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to draw out the moisture, then add the ½ cup of the orange juice or water and cook gently and stir until just soft, about 10 minutes or so. Add more orange juice or water if necessary. The rhubarb should be soft, but not completely falling apart.

Remove rhubarb from heat and allow to cool. The rhubarb can be added to the ice cream base as is, or can be puréed slightly for a more smooth texture.

When ready to churn, pour the custard base into your ice cream maker and churn until thickened (about 20-25 minutes). Just before the ice cream sets, pour in the cool rhubarb and churn for another 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 10


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