Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream (#61)

8 09 2013

My mother in law stopped by yesterday and brought along a huge bag of goodies from her garden: beautiful heirloom tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes, amazingly fragrant basil, green beans, and rhubarb.   Rhubarb typically peaks in the spring, but I guess when you have your own garden, anything goes… or grows!

I suppose I could have gotten creative with the tomatoes or the basil (green bean ice cream would have been pushing it), but I thought a rhubarb ice cream recipe would be safest.  I have already developed recipes for Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream, Rhubarb Ginger Ice Cream, and most recently Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt.  What next?

I scanned the kitchen and zeroed in on a canister of old fashioned rolled oats I had on the counter.  With autumn just around the corner, a Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream was in order.

I love rhubarb crumble, and I love it even more when it’s topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Trouble is, the warm fruit usually melts the ice cream.  Unless you inhale your dessert, you end up with a bowl of soupy, fruity cream!  Solution?  An ice cream recipe that captures the sweet-tangy taste of cooked rhubarb and the satisfying crunch of a buttery crumble topping.  Enjoy.

Cook down rhubarb, orange zest, OJ, and sugar...

Rhubarb, orange zest, sugar, and orange juice…

rhubarb orange compote

… cooked into a luscious compote.

crumble topping

A quick crumble topping made of oats, flour, butter, and brown sugar.

Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

Ice Cream:

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Rhubarb Orange Compote (makes 1 cup):

2.5 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup of sugar
Juice and zest of one orange

Crumble Topping

1/4 cup of butter
1/3 cup of flour
1/3 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup of brown sugar
Pinch of salt

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Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt (#57-Y)

6 05 2013

I was rummaging through the freezer the other day and realized I still have lots of frozen fruit from last year.  With fresh, seasonal produce soon to be in great abundance, I figured it’s time to use up last year’s frozen goodies.  A bag of chopped rhubarb was among my collection.  Perfect.  I’ve had rhubarb, orange, and star anise compote on my mind for the past few weeks now!

For those who are unfamiliar, star anise is a spice that is commonly used in Asian cooking.  These beautiful little stars come from the pod of an evergreen magnolia tree and have an anise or licorice flavour.  Star anise pairs wonderfully with citrus and adds intrigue to rhubarb.

star anise

Beautiful, sweet smelling star anise

Rather than making a compote and churning it into a standard custard as I’ve done in the past, I decided to use 3 cups of yogurt as my base this time.  That’s right, I’m shaking things up and adding frozen yogurt to the 52 Scoops repertoire!

If you’ve been hesitant about making ice cream because of the higher fat content, you now have a healthier, lower fat alternative that is still be incredibly delectable, rich, and creamy!  I’ll be using 2% Greek yogurt for all my frozen yogurt recipes, but feel free to experiment with 1% or fat-free varieties.

Results?  Delicious!  The rhubarb, orange, and yogurt all have a mild tang, while the star anise adds just a hint of sweet licorice.  A marvelous first attempt at making frozen yogurt.

Because of the lower fat content, the frozen yogurt will become very hard overnight.  Enjoy it as soon as it is churned or after a quick chill in the freezer.  Two hours for me was perfect.

Rhubarb Orange Star Anise Frozen Yogurt  (Makes about 1 L)

2.5 cups of chopped rhubarb
1 cup white sugar
2 star anise
Juice and finely chopped zest of one medium orange
3 cups of Greek yogurt

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Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream (#55-E)

29 03 2013

Thank you Vancouver for promising me a week of sunshine!!!

Vancouver sunshine

Sunshine, sunshine, nothing but sunshine!

What better way to embrace spring sunshine than with a bright, citrus-y ice cream flavour?  Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream has been on my to-make list for months now, but the dark, dreary days of winter called for richer flavours.  Now that spring is in the air, it’s time to re-introduce lighter, fruitier flavours to the 52 Scoops repertoire.

This ice cream recipe is egg-free and super simple.  No cooking required!  Just pour the ingredients into a blender, give it a whirl, and you’re pretty much good to go.

The ice cream turned out light and fresh, sweet and tangy — absolutely delicious!  Texture wise, the ricotta cheese makes the ice cream a little more crumbly / flaky compared to other 52 Scoops recipes, so let it warm up ever so slightly before scooping and serving.  Enjoy it on its own or try serving it with a couple of shortbread cookies on the side.

Lemon Ricotta Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

3/4 to 1 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I used 10% M.F.)
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (3 to 4 lemons)
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups half-and-half cream Read the rest of this entry »





Date Orange Almond Ice Cream (#48)

9 02 2013

This week’s flavour features a sticky favourite: dates.  Dates are the fruit of date palm trees.  They are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking and often paired with orange, almond, and honey flavours.  How about rolling all of these flavours into one ice cream?  I figured an orange-honey base with chopped dates and toasted sliced almonds would be a fantastic combination.

dried dates, Medjool dates

Sweet sticky dates

Dates are a bit sticky to work with, so here are few tips:

1) To prevent the dates from sticking to your knife while chopping, lightly coat your knife with some oil or cooking spray.

2) To prevent the chopped dates from sticking together in one big clump when you’re churning them into the ice cream, soak them overnight in a bit of hot water and Grand Marnier.  (The Grand Marnier optional, but it will infuse the dates with a subtle orange flavour.)

Results?  Yum!  The soft, sticky dates contrasted really well with the crunch of the flaky almonds, and the orange-honey flavours were perfectly balanced.  Using honey as a sweetener also made the ice cream super scoopable.  Bookmark this recipe — it’s the perfect dessert to finish a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean-themed dinner!

Date Orange Almond Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

3/4 cup chopped dried dates
2 tablespoons of hot water
1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier (or substitute an extra tablespoon of hot water)
2 eggs
2/3 cup honey
A pinch of sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
Juice and finely chopped zest of one large orange
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

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Beet and Orange Ice Cream (#39)

6 12 2012

Nature creates some pretty amazing things  Take beets for instance.  A humble root vegetable with an impossibly beautiful fuschia colour.  Surely it’d make gorgeous ice cream.

If the idea of beet ice cream sounds downright weird to you, it’s probably because you are thinking of pickled beets.  No, no!  This recipe uses fresh beets, which have a fresh, natural sweetness.

beets, beetroots, farmers market

Fresh beets at the farmers market earlier this year.

Chopped beets are gently simmered, whirled into a luscious puree, then mixed into a basic custard along with some fresh orange juice and orange zest to brighten the flavour.  The taste of beets in the finished ice cream is rather subtle.  Unless you’re told or unless you have a very discerning palette, you might not even know there are beets in this recipe.  I brought samples to work and one taster thought the flavour could have passed for cherry.  Another thought it tasted like a Creamsicle.  The Official Taster LOVED this ice cream, mainly for its complex flavour.  Personally, I was more interested in the colour of the ice cream than its taste.  The custard is a glossy hot pink (I want to paint a feature wall with this colour!) and freezes to an intense, matte red.

If you’re a beet lover, you should definitely make this ice cream.  If you’re not, try this recipe anyway for the novelty factor!

Beet and Orange Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

2 cups finely chopped beets
1/2 cup water
3 cups half-and-half cream, divided
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
Juice of one orange
Finely chopped zest of one orange

  1. In a small saucepan, simmer the beets in the water and 1/2 c cup of the half-and-half until they are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Tip the beets and the liquid into a blender and puree until smooth.  Set aside.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  4. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  6. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining 1/2 c cup of the half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  7. When the custard is cool, whisk in the beet puree, orange zest, and orange juice.
  8. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  9. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Beet orange ice cream

The Official Taster says: “I LOVE it!  It starts off citrusy and sweet, and then you can taste the beet.”





Lime and Phu Quoc Peppercorn Ice Cream (#27)

13 09 2012

The inspiration for this week’s ice cream recipe is an ingredient I obtained while travelling in Vietnam last year: Phu Quoc Peppercorns.

Last year, the Official Taster and I travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia.  Hands down, the favourite part of our trip was a few relaxing days at Freedomland, a homestay resort on Phu Quoc Island in southwestern Vietnam.  While Freedomland is truly a little piece of paradise in and of itself, the highlight of our stay was definitely the food.  Peter and Rita (the owners) and their staff do an amazing job every night cooking for up to 30 guests.  Peter is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about food, and having travelled and lived in so many parts of the world (including Vancouver!), this was Vietnamese fusion cuisine at its best.  Each dish was so fresh, flavourful, and exquisitely prepared and plated.   He really ought to have his own cooking show.

Grilled lemongrass prawn

Grilled prawns on a lemongrass skewer, served over fresh pasta and pesto.  We had three dinners at Freedomland during our stay and Peter prepared a total of 25 (yes, 25!) dishes.  I’m not exaggerating about his amazing food!  Check out the Tripadvisor reviews.

Phu Quoc peppercorns made their way into many of Peter’s dishes.  Vietnam, I learned,  is the leading global exporter of black peppercorns, and the best quality peppercorns come from Phu Quoc.  Peter — sensing my extreme enthusiasm for all things food — was kind enough to get me a huge bag of peppercorns from a local pepper farm.  Don’t buy it from the market, he warned.  It’s mixed with the cheap stuff! 

Phu Quoc peppercorns

Spicy, aromatic Phu Quoc peppercorns — real ones, not the cheap stuff!

Phu Quoc peppercorns are wonderfully aromatic and spicy — like no other peppercorns I’ve ever tasted.  Finish any Southeast Asian dish with freshly ground Phu Quoc peppercorns and a squeeze of lime juice and it comes to life!  A perfect flavour combination, and a perfect combo for ice cream.

If you can’t source Phu Quoc peppercorns from your local Vietnamese grocer for this ice cream recipe, substitute with the freshest, highest quality black peppercorns you can find.  Also, be sure to infuse the custard with the peppercorns overnight if you want a spicier ice cream.  You will find many peppercorn ice cream recipes instructing you to strain out the peppercorns after one hour, but why be apologetic in its use?

Freedomland homestay resort

The Official Taster, Peter, and I on our last day at Freedomland, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Lime and Phu Quoc Peppercorn Ice Cream (makes about 1 L)

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon coarsely ground Phu Quoc peppercorns
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups half-and-half cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the first five ingredients.
  2. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of the half-and-half, taking care that the mixture does not curdle.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  5. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Cool and chill overnight in the fridge.
  7. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the zest and pepper.  If some of the pepper escapes, that’s okay!
  8. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  9. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and slice of lime.
lime peppercorn ice cream

The Official Taster says: “It would have been nice to have this while in Vietnam!”





Calamondin and Honey Ice Cream (#3)

27 03 2012

Mystery ingredient of the week: Calamondin oranges

It’s harvest time in my boss’s office.  You will recall last week, my boss gave me a Meyer lemon off one of the plants in his office, which made its way into a batch of Meyer Lemon Ice Cream.  This week, I found a number of Calamondin oranges on my desk, also from one of his plants.  I feel like I’m on an episode of Chopped: here’s your mystery ingredient… now go!  Make some ice cream!

Calamondins are new to me.  Also known as Calamansi or Kalamansi, they are a small citrus fruit reminiscent of kumquats.  They have a thin edible rind, puckering bite, and are quite intense in flavour.  The fruit is indigenous to the Phillippines, where it is used in cooking as a flavouring, marinade, or condiment.  It is also often mixed with honey and served over ice as a refreshing drink — perfect inspiration for an ice cream recipe.

Using honey (rather than sugar) made for a lusciously smooth and scoopable ice cream — I will definitely try to incorporate honey into more of my ice cream recipes.  The flavour of the Calmondins was apparent, but not overwhelming.  If you can’t find Calamondin oranges, kumquats could probably be substituted with similar results.

Calamondin & Honey Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 quart)

For the Calamondin syrup:

2/3 cup water
1/3 cup mild honey
1/2 cup finely chopped Calamondin oranges, plus their juice

For the ice cream:

2 eggs
1/3 cup mild honey
Pinch sea salt
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup whipping cream

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