Rhubarb is one of the more confounding spring vegetables (or is it a fruit?). Sure, you can bake it into a pie with a handful of strawberries like most folks do, but there have to be other options for these tart, celery-looking stalks.
In the spring section of Andrea Reusing's Cooking in the Moment she offers up a recipe for Rhubarb-Ginger Sorbet, a bright, refreshing mix of sweet, tart, and spicy flavors. As we've come to know Reusing's recipe writing style, the ingredients list is brief, nothing more than rhubarb, ginger, sugar, and lemon. And as far as making frozen desserts go, the process quite simple. It begins with a ginger syrup made by simmering sliced ginger in sugar water to extract all of its wonderful warm qualities. The syrup is mixed with chunks of rhubarb and slowly warmed until the rhubarb breaks down. It's then strained, cooled, and churned in the ice cream maker.
It's a great refresher, one that could work as an afternoon pick me up, a light meal ender, an intermezzo if you want to get a little fancy, or an icy float atop a rhubarb cocktail.
- For the Sorbet:
- 3 pounds fresh rhubarb, thinly sliced (about 2 quarts)
- 1 1/2 cups Ginger Syrup (recipe follows)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or more to taste
- For the Ginger Syrup:
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups sliced unpeeled fresh ginger
To make the sorbet: In a nonreactive saucepan, bring the rhubarb, ginger syrup, and salt to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the rhubarb turns a deep dusky rose color and is the texture of very soft applesauce. Push through a medium (not fine) sieve or colander with a spatula while still warm. It should yield 4 cups. Cool before adding the lemon juice and freezing in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
To make the ginger syrup: Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan. Stir in the sugar and ginger and bring to a very low simmer. Cook for 1 hour. Cool the ginger in the liquid and then strain.