Rhubarb Gelato

June 2013 042

Just when I thought I had exhausted my rhubarb cooking for the season, I realized I had yet to experiment with ice cream. Since receiving an ice cream maker as a gift from my parents for my last birthday, I have attempted to turn all sorts of ingredients into ice cream flavors: avocados, parsnips, bourbon, beets—you name it.  So why not rhubarb? I found a great recipe at food & style that makes two pints of incredibly tasty rhubarb gelato. One evening last week we really indulged by enjoying a couple scoops with slices of strawberry-rhubab upside-down cake. It was a divine pairing.

Rhubarb Gelato (from food & style; makes 2 pints)

Vanilla Gelato
2 1/2 cups 2 percent or whole milk
2-inch piece whole vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1/3 cup organic sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

Rhubarb Compote
1 tablespoon water
1 lb young rhubarb stalks, ends trimmed and cut crosswise in 1/4 inch slices (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup organic sugar

Make the rhubarb compote: place the water, rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes until the rhubarb releases its juice and starts to break down. Stir from time to time to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature. You can refrigerate the compote for up to 1 week.

Make the ice cream: Place two cups of milk and the vanilla bean into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to boiling point. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of milk, sugar and cornstarch until well combined. Add the cornstarch mixture to the hot milk and return saucepan to heat. As soon as the mixture reaches boiling point, reduce heat and simmer for five to six minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture slightly thickens.

Remove vanilla bean from custard, scrape seeds from the bean and add to the custard. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about two hours in the refrigerator or 45 minutes in the freezer.

When the gelato is well chilled, whisk in the mascarpone cheese until well blended. Pour the custard into the ice-cream maker and freeze according to the instructions of your ice-cream machine. When the gelato is firm, pour the rhubarb compote in the bowl of the ice cream maker and churn until the compote is well incorporated, about one minute. Transfer to a container and freeze until ready to serve.

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