Rhubarb Fest: Sorbet
It’s been interesting, picking recipes for this Rhubarb Fest. There’s bushel loads of recipes for strawberry rhubarb this and strawberry rhubarb that. The rhubarb always seems to be thrown in just because, well, maybe people were getting tired of just plain strawberry or they were a little intimidated with rhubarb standing on its own ruby red feet, er, stalks. Do you know what I mean?
Truth be told, while I really do love those juicy berries, if I had to pick between having rhubarb or strawberries for a summer, I’d pick the rhubarb. It’s no doubt in large part for the memories it drums up of my grandmother’s big old patch in her garden, though there were plenty of strawberries in that garden too. I also really enjoy the tart ting and pink blush rhubarb brings to every dish it enters. But not everyone does, as demonstrated by D’s latest remark, something along the lines of it tasting medicinal.
But wait! Lest you stop reading right there, let me assure you that this Spiced Rhubarb Sorbet is the best kind of medicine – delicious, mysteriously creamy (though not a drop of cream went into it), low in fat, and the perfect pick-me-up after one has spent a hot morning power washing the deck, among other things. Don’t let the Pepto-Bismol pink put you off. That’s where the resemblance to medicine ends, I promise.
The notes of the spices play delicately and quietly next to the powerful crescendo of rhubarb in every bite. This is not a sorbet for the rhubarb skeptic, that’s for sure. I personally can’t stop eating it; the taste and texture are just downright addictive. But, should you be not quite the Number One Fan of rhubarb (sorry, that coveted titled is already taken by yours truly anyway), I’m absolutely certain substituting strawberries for half of the rhubarb and cutting back the sugar to just a cup would yield a seriously scrumptious sorbet too.
Spiced Rhubarb Sorbet
A Straight from the Farm Original
2 C. water
1 1/3 C. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 C. diced rhubarb
1 egg white (optional)
1 T. vodka (optional)
Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, and scraped vanilla beans and pod in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove the spices from the saucepan. Add the diced rhubarb and bring to a boil once again. Cook until rhubarb is soft, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly and puree in blender. Work the puree through a fine mesh strainer to remove the rhubarb fibers.
Chill over an ice bath in the fridge until very cold. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl before adding to the rhubarb mixture. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer directions. Add the vodka just before stopping the churning (vodka helps keep the sorbet from crystalizing in the freezer).
Transfer to a container with a sealable lid and place in the freezer until set up, about 4 to 6 hours.
(makes about 1 quart)