Ice cream of my dreams.
Rhubarb? Check. Little doughy crumble pieces? Check. Complete absence of faffy custard base? Checky check check. It’s basically perfect. Not that I’m going to take the credit of course, that must go to Saint Delia. Her recipes always work.
You roast your barb with sugar (I added a splash of rosewater – orange blossom water would also be nice) then purée and mix with cream before churning, adding the crumble pieces at the last minute. The finished ice cream has an aerated cloud-like texture and oh my goodness is it ever creamy and tart and spun through with squidgy cookie-dough-like pieces.
Next time, I’ll use a bit less sugar, to let just a smidge more of the barb’s characteristic tartness to come through and steer it in a slightly more grown up direction. Not too grown up though. I mean, it’s ice cream after all and for me, it’s all about the memories. Hunched up in a secret corner somewhere, knees up to my chest, bowl balanced on top, performing the same strange ritual of mashing and moulding and eating that I always, always did as a child. I marvelled at its magical soothing properties; the only thing I could ever eat when ill (or pretending to be ill). It was about the excitement of learning every new flavour and the painful learning curve that is realising how to avoid a brainfreeze. Now it’s more about sensitive teeth and weight gain. It’s definitely worth that extra run every week though, and I know I’ll still be hoovering it up when I’ve no longer got any of my own teeth left. Just think – if I leave out the crumble bits, I won’t even need them.
Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream by Delia Smith (original recipe here)
For the ice cream:
1 lb (450 g) trimmed rhubarb
8 oz (225 g) sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
15 fl oz (425 ml) whipping cream
A splash of rosewater or orange blossom water (optional)
For the crumble:
3 oz (75 g) plain white flour
2 oz (50 g) butter
2 oz (50 g) light brown muscovado sugar
½ level teaspoon ground ginger
Combine all the crumble ingredients in a bowl and use your hands to rub the butter into the flour as if you were making pastry. You want small, pea sized pieces of dough. Sprinkle these evenly into a baking dish and put to one side.
Cut the barb into 1cm lengths and put in a shallow baking dish, then sprinkle over the lemon juice and sugar mixing well. I added a splash of the rosewater at this point. Put the dish on a low shelf in the preheated oven and the crumble mix on the top. The crumble needs to be baked for 10 minutes then removed and left to cool. The barb may take another 15-20 although I found this slightly too long so remember to check it. When it has cooled slightly, blend it to a purée.
Break up the crumble into pea sized lumps again.
Stir the cream into the purée then churn in an ice cream maker until it has the texture of softly whipped cream, then scrape it into a plastic tub (with a lid) and stir in the crumble pieces quickly, before freezing.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, do as Delia says and “freeze the cream and rhubarb mixture (without the crumble) in the box for 3-4 hours, then whisk and return to the freezer. Re-freeze for a further 2 hours, then whisk again and stir in the crumble before the final freezing. If frozen solid, the ice cream will need to be transferred to the main body of the fridge for about 25 minutes before serving to allow it to become soft enough to scoop.”