Here we go y’all…this is the official start to the growing/harvest season in Minnesota, and for us, that means more locally produced ingredients in every flavor we make. It’s like a sigh of relief that we’ve made it through the winter months. We can now let the Minnesota harvest guide us through the summer and fall months…a tour a la mode. And what better way to start off the season than with a favorite; Rhubarb. We’re going to spice this one up, as well as unlock some knowledge from the brilliant preservationist and jam maker, Heidi Skoog of Serious Jam. So let’s get started with this flavor – Cointrea Cardamom Rhubarb Compote.
For ice cream base, I wanted to pair the rhubarb with some subtle and complementary flavors. It’s not a secret that oranges pair well with rhubarb, but I was looking for trace amounts, so I decided to use Cointreau, an orange flavored liqueur. I added a small amount of Cointreau to the base as if I were using vanilla extract. My second base component is cardamom. It just made sense to me. Have you ever had a cardamom Christmas cookie with a jam/jelly glaze on top? Mmmmmmm. The combo works, trust me. Cardamom grows in a seed pod. To use, the seeds are removed from the pods and ground with either a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Cardamom is not a subtle spice, so for the ice cream base, I went light with it, as I wanted the rhubarb compote to take the show. The ice cream base is pasteurized using organic cane sugar, cooled and is ready for the churn. But first, our rhubarb compote…
This is heirloom rhubarb from my garden. We use it every year, and it’s from a plant that was split off of my father-in-law’s parent’s farm near Milwaukee Wisconsin. For the ice cream, I wanted to make a rhubarb compote to swirl in. I wanted the kind of rhubarb that our good friend Heidi Skoog feed to us a year or two back. I would consider it a compote, since the fruit ends up whole in a syrup. I had never had rhubarb in this way before, and it blew my mind. Heidi has explained her process to me many times, but of course I couldn’t remember exact amounts. Instead of calling for the recipe, I decided to go with what I could remember. To my surprise, I ended up with a pretty damn good product. I still like Heidi’s version better, but for the ice cream, this worked out great.
As I remember it, the rhubarb got chopped very small. In a crock, or in my case, a stainless steel bowl, cane sugar and lemon juice are added. The lemon juice and sugar draw all of the water content out of the rhubarb as it macerates. The rhubarb goes into the refrigerator for two days until all of the sugar fully dissolves (I would take out and stir once or twice a day). After full maceration, the sugary rhubarb liquid is strained into a sauce pan where it is boiled into a syrup. The hot syrup is poured over the top of the strained/macerated rhubarb. That’s it! It’s a simple, yet very laborious and time consuming process that turns rhubarb into a compote that anyone would love. Unless you’re crazy. Then you wouldn’t like it. But you’d be crazy. The cooled compote is swirled into the Cointreau cardamom ice cream at the end of the churn.
Result? silky Cointreau and cardamom infused ice cream with a tart toothsome rhubarb compote. A great way to start off the growing season here in Minnesota!
Cointreau Cardamom Rhubarb Compote
5 Cups Rhubarb, 1/4″ dice (approx. 10-15 stalks)
2 1/2 cups Cane Sugar
1 Lemon, juiced, seeds removed
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Cane Sugar
2 teaspoons Cointreau
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 tsp Cardamom, freshly ground
1. Rhubarb Compote (makes enough for the ice cream and extra to eat!): Clean Rhubarb, and chop into 1/4 inch dice. Place rhubarb in a bowl, preferably a ceramic crock. Add the 2 1/2 cups sugar and juice of one lemon. Cover and macerate in refrigerator for two days, stirring occasionally. All sugar should be dissolved before proceeding. Strain liquid into a sauce pan and reserve rhubarb and spoon it into a one quart jar fitted with lid. Over high heat, reduce the liquid until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees. Remove liquid from heat, and pour hot liquid over reserved rhubarb in one quart jar. Allow to cool, cover, and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Make ice cream base: Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk fully. Add cane sugar and whisk. Add heavy cream, milk, Cointreau, salt and ground cardamom. Whisk until ingredients are combined.
3. Cook/pasteurize ice cream base: Over medium heat, whisk or stir base continuously. Keep stirring continuously until temperature reaches 165-170 degrees. Remove from heat. Pour into a clean bowl. Cool ice cream base to room temperature (an ice bath will do this in about 15-20 minutes). Put base in a clean container, cover, and chill in refrigerator overnight.
4. Churn ice cream base in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add 1/3 – 1/2 cup of rhubarb compote to ice cream at the end of the churn. Store ice cream in air tight container in freezer until chow time.
*Yields approximately 2.5 pints
If you’d rather not make it, you can be one of two lucky winners of this fabulous, scratch made craft ice cream in our weekly pint giveaway. Enter your name in the comments section here, or on our facebook page under the posted contest. Two winners will be drawn randomly on Friday 6/5/15 at 4pm. Winners must be able to pick up locally in Minneapolis. Prizes must be claimed by email within one week or we will redistribute. 🙂 Good luck!