Early Spring Crop

Rhubarb is a “do like” or “definately don’t” kind of thing.   It’s a tart and sour fella that can produce the yummiest cobblers and coffee cakes.  And we all, I’m sure, have tried the rhubarb/strawberry combo.  My father-in-law has a patch in his large garden and I have recently been asking, “Is it ready yet??”  The season usually starts here in late May or early June.   His won’t be ready until next week so I hauled my sorry self out of bed early this morning to go to the market in search of freshly picked stalks for todays post.  I strolled by a few vendors who didn’t have any yet and then almost ran to the vendor who had a nice big basket full of freshly harvested stocks (I think she was taken aback by my excitement, it is only rhubarb after all…)…

Enjoy todays post, just in time for the rhubarb season to start.   A really simple Rum Butter Cherry Rhubarb sauce served warm over homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.   And I guarantee that once you make your own ice cream (without the ice cream maker…) you will turn your nose up at any store bought carton again!  Enjoy,

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop 

1 cup homogenized milk

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 cups half and half cream- you can also use heavy cream for a creamier texture

6 large egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan until hot, but not boiling. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and let milk infuse for one hour.

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Pour the half and half into the 2-quart bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Put the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard thickens. It should be thick enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly.  Several hours or overnight is best.

Once the mixture has chillled for several hours you can remove the vanilla bean* and put it in your ice cream machine and follow manufacterers instructions or do it without a machine as outlined below:

1. Remove the vanilla bean and pour ice cream into a freezer safe bowl (I use stainless).  Leave in the freezer (uncovered) for 45 minutes.  Remove from freezer and whisk for approx. 3 minutes.  Back into the freezer for another 30 minutes and whisk again.  Continue freezing and whisking for about 2 1/2 -3 hours until set.  Place ice cream in a sealable container and freeze until ready to use.

*Keep that vanilla bean!  Wash it with water and allow it to dry out.  Put it in your sugar canister to give an extra kick to baked goods.  And, you can use it again for your next batch of ice cream!

Rum Butter Cherry Rhubarb Sauce

*Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine

2 cups jarred sour cherries (reserve juice)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 cups sliced rhubarb (fresh or frozen)

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp amber rum

1.  In saucepan, bring 1/4 cup cherry juice, sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high heat, until sugar dissolves.  Add cherries and rhubarb: cook over medium heat until rhubarb is tender, about 5 minutes.

3.  Blend cornstarch with rum; stir into fruit mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened.

Spoon warm mixture over ice cream.

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Filed under Sauces and Syrups

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