The recipe made with raw fruit (L) and roasted fruit (R)
The bounty of late spring (now early summer) is upon us- the farmers markets are full of all the green vegetables we have been craving this long winter. Rhubarb (along with those oh so trendy wild ramps) is one of the first signs of spring. Luckily rhubarb sticks around long enough to overlap for a brief glorious moment with the advent of ripe strawberries.
Rhubarb stalks have a bright and tart taste which needs to be tempered with sugar to make it palatable. The plant contains the toxin oxalic acid so never eat the leaves! There are luckily smaller amounts of the toxin in the edible stalks. Interestingly enough, its qualities are those of a vegetable, but we consider it a fruit because of how we use it in desserts.
Market fresh strawberries and rhubarb stalks
One of the best pies, in my fair opinion, is a strawberry-rhubarb one. Strawberries are naturally sweet and balance the tartness of rhubarb. The bright red color is cheery and reminds us that warmer weather and longer evenings are on the way. With two fruits and strained yogurt, it’s easy to tell yourself that this is a “healthy dessert” (almost- if there wasn’t two forms of sugar and all the delicious cream).
I wanted to try to use the fruit in two ways- raw and cooked. I was curious as to how the flavor between the two preparations would differ. The raw fruit yields a brighter, pinker color. This batch froze harder due to the higher water content of the fresh fruit. Our taste testers commented that the fresh fruit tasted more like a strawberry than the baked fruit batch and the acidity of the lemon was more apparent.
The bright pink of the raw strawberries and rhubarb
The roasted fruit is a delicate light pink. It has a slightly softer texture than the fresh fruit batch, with a mellower, sweeter flavor. This is the strawberry ice cream flavor I remember from childhood quarts.
The light pink of roasted fruit is reminiscent of the color of childhood ice creams
The recipe doesn’t use all of the fruit puree, so save it to spoon over a scoop or over a slice of pound cake. This is also really excellent with a generous dollop of dark chocolate syrup.
Strawberry Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt (makes about 1 quart)
Loosely adapted from Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams
1 pint of fresh strawberries (1/2+ lb)
1/2 lb of fresh rhubarb stalks (If I were to change anything, I’d bump up the amount of rhubarb as the taste was mostly overpowered by the berries, try it incrementally until you find a level of tart that you like)
1 lemon, juice squeezed
1/3 cup + 2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 quart plain full fat yogurt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1. The evening before, strain the yogurt in fridge. Freeze the machine’s bowl.
2. Decide how you want to use the fruit: Raw or Baked
The purees in comparison with the raw fruit (L) and roasted fruit (R)
If using the fruit raw, clean, hull (remove the stem/leaf and some of the interior white flesh) and slice the strawberries. Clean the rhubarb and chop into 1 inch pieces. Mix the fruit with 1/3 cup of sugar, cover, and let macerate for 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Puree in the food processor.
Macerating raw fruit with sugar
If using baked fruit, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Clean, hull (remove the stem/leaf and some of the interior white flesh) and slice the strawberries into 1/2 inch pieces. Clean the rhubarb and chop into 1 inch pieces. Use a different pan for each fruit. Split the 1/3 cup sugar in half (use 8 teaspoons for each fruit). Cook the strawberries for about 10 minutes, until just softened. Cook the rhubarb, stirring every so often, until it starts to fall apart, about 20-30 minutes depending on the volume of fruit. Puree the fruit together with the lemon juice and cool.
Roasted strawberries and rhubarb
3. Mix about 3 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a bowl to make a slurry.
4. Whisk the cream cheese in a larger bowl until smooth.
5. Prep the ice water bath in a large bowl. Dump the strained yogurt water. (I even went the extra step of squeezing the yogurt in the cheesecloth and removed even more water this way.)
6. Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for four minutes over medium high heat.
7. Take off the heat. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Put back on heat and boil for about one minute until thickened. Remove from heat.
8. Slowly whisk the hot contents into the cream cheese until mixed. Add the strained yogurt and blend well. Add a generous cup of the fruit puree. (My cup was very generous, using most of the puree)
9. Pour into a resealable plastic bag and chill in the ice bath for about half an hour.
10. Pour the yogurt into the frozen bowl and turn on. Spin until creamy.
11. Pack in a storage container and press a piece of parchment paper against the top. Put on the airtight lid, and store in the back of the freezer for about four hours or until firm.