A few weeks ago I was given homegrown rhubarb from some very nice people. Since it was my first time cooking or baking with rhubarb I contemplated what to do with it. The obvious choice, Strawberry Rhubarb pie, came to mind. The more I thought about it though, a pie just wasn’t what this batch of rhubarb was destined to become.
My memorial day plans included visiting my rhubarb suppliers at their gorgeous home in Rhode Island and I wanted to bring a rhubarb treat as a thank you. I began to think of all the things I love about Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. That’s it! What better way to kick off summer than with rhubarb sorbet! Knowing that I would need to balance the tart flavor of rhubarb with a sweet fruit, I turned to its tried and true companion the strawberry.
It seemed like smooth sailing until I came upon a few obstacles in my sorbet making process. First, most recipes for sorbet called for corn syrup – for the most part I despise corn syrup. Why ruin something so fresh and natural from a home garden with an artificial and mass produced product? Second, I didn’t have an ice cream maker. The absence of both of these items could have led to a less than stellar sorbet consistency. After giving it some thought, I decided to use a simple syrup in place of the corn syrup and add some alcohol, specifically the orange-flavored liquor Cointreau, to reduce ice crystals.
Now I was off and running, I made the first batch of sorbet the Sunday before I left for my weekend in Rhode Island. I had to make the sorbet without a blender since I was not in my own home and did not have one available. Personally, I loved the consistency that the pulp added. The sorbet seemed much more natural and homemade with it included.
The following Friday we arrived safely at our destination and prepared for a fun & sun-filled weekend. Saturday morning we helped in the garden and I saw first hand where my rhubarb came from (there’s so much of it!).
The plan was to have company over that night for dinner and sorbet would be the star of desert. Since I had made only 2 pints back in NY, I needed to make some more before everyone arrived and began retrieving more rhubarb (sidenote: the correct way to harvest rhubarb is to pull it from its roots and then cut off the leaf on top)
The correct way to cut rhubarb
Unfortunately, the second batch of sorbet was not ready until our other BBQ on Sunday night – but everyone at the dinner party had a taste from the first batch and it was a hit! The sorbet was a slightly tart thanks to the combination of rhubarb and lime zest yet perfectly sweet from the strawberries & syrup. Looking ahead, this sorbet will be a great way to preserve rhubarb into the hot summer months when we are all looking for a cold, refreshing treat.
Rhubarb Strawberry Sorbet
(makes about 2 pints)
3 cups rhubarb, sliced (about 5 medium stalks)
1 lb strawberries, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 tablespoons Cointreau (or other orange flavored liquor)
3/4 cup simple sugar (equal parts sugar & water combined until dissolved)
In a large saucepan combine rhubarb, strawberry, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 teaspoon lime zest. Simmer over medium-low heat until a fruit is soft and becomes liquid forms, stirring occaisonally, about 20-30 minutes. Let mixture cool until room temperature.
Rhubarb & strawberry cooking down
Fruit mixture cooling down
Once cooled, stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon lime zest and all of the Cointreau. Begin adding the simple sugar one tablespoon at a time and adjusting to your taste (should be slightly sweeter than you would want the finished sorbet to be).
Place in a shallow tupperware container, cover and place in the freezer. To reduce ice crystals and produce a sorbet with better consistency, stir every hour for the first 4 hours and then freeze overnight. The next day, scrape the sorbet and make fluffy before pushing back down into the tupperware.
Sorbet in Tupperware before going into the freezer
Before serving, place in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes so that the sorbet can soften. Serve and enjoy!
Pansies are edible 🙂