The start of rhubarb season

Welcome to spring and the start of the rhubarb season. I admit that rhubarb is one of those foods that may take some warming up to.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Ice Cream

Make a nonalcoholic version of this grown-up ice cream by substituting cranberry juice cocktail for the wine.
2 1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar, divided
3 large egg yolks
2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1/3 cup fruity red wine (such as merlot)
3 cups chopped fresh strawberries (about 1 pound)

1. Combine milk and half-and-half in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat milk mixture to 180 degrees F or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Combine 1/2 cup sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until pale yellow. Gradually add half of hot milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Pour the egg yolk mixture into pan with remaining milk mixture; cook over medium-low heat until a thermometer registers 160 degrees F (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 20 minutes or until custard cools completely, stirring occasionally.

2. Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, rhubarb, and wine in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and liquid is syrupy. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Combine rhubarb mixture and strawberries in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, pressing with a wooden spoon; discard solids. Stir rhubarb mixture into custard mixture.

3. Pour custard into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Drain ice water from freezer bucket; repack with salt and ice. Cover with kitchen towels, and let stand 1 hour or until firm.
Yield: 10 servings (serving size about 3/4 cup).

Susan Woody has been a food writer for more than 20 years and is a member of The Association of Food Journalists.

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