There’s a reason why strawberries are so frequently paired with rhubarb – their natural sweetness softens rhubarb’s tart notes and brightens its pale red color. The classic combo really shines in this Philadelphia-style ice cream, which features a jammy ripple that’s layered with a subtle strawberry-rhubarb base. When you draw a scoop through the sweet-tart ice cream, you get delightful swirls of intense fruit flavor throughout. I highly recommend adding the xanthan gum (available here or at most supermarkets), as it will greatly improve the texture of the ice cream, and is super-easy to incorporate into the base. This recipe will make 2 quarts of ice cream; if your ice cream maker can’t accommodate this amount, simply cut the recipe in half.
Makes about 2 quarts
- 1 1/3 pounds (605 grams) fresh rhubarb stalks
- 1 ½ pints (425 grams) fresh strawberries
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups (348 grams) heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups (362 grams) whole milk
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, but this will give your ice cream a nice, smooth texture)
- Wash the rhubarb stalks and cut them into ½-inch pieces.
- Wash and hull the strawberries, then cut each in half (or in quarters, if large).
- Place all the fruit in a large skillet and sprinkle with the sugar and toss to coat. Let the fruit stand for 15 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve.
- Cook the fruit over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is completely softened, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is reduced and has as jam-like texture, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the puree to a stainless steel bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Nest the bowl into a larger bowl half filled with ice water and let the puree stand in the ice bath, stirring occasionally, until completely cool, about 15 minutes. Remove the bowl from the ice bath, cover it, and refrigerate the puree for at least 2 hours, until chilled.
- If you are using the xanthan gum, place the cream, milk, salt and xanthan gum in a blender and process until well blended; transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. If you are not using it, simply put the cream, milk and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.
- Remove the chilled puree and set aside 1 cup (230 grams) of it to layer in the finished ice cream. Add the remaining puree to the cream mixture and whisk to combine. Transfer to an ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream to a container: spoon a little of the reserved fruit puree in the bottom of a shallow, lidded container (this one is perfect, or use a loaf pan lined with parchment paper), then top with a layer of the ice cream. Continue to layer the puree and ice cream two more times, ending with the ice cream and using all the puree. Cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap, cover the container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.