Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt

In case you didn’t notice, we’ve got a lot of rhubarb at home.  When I buy it at the market, I only get ½ lb or at most 1 lb, but we got a full 2 lbs as part of our share. And because I had a feeling there would be more on its way this week (I'll find out tonight), I wanted to use it up quickly so that it wouldn’t go bad before I could get to the next batch.

I had already made a classic rhubarb-strawberry crostata (albeit with a twist) so I wanted to do something different for its second iteration. A crumble was too similar to the crostata (the rhubarb gets mixed with sugar and baked in both) and sorbet was too boring. So ice cream it was. But, because of the warm weather, I’m a little more conscious of what I’m eating, and a quart of ice cream in a 2-person household was deemed a bad idea. (And yes I will be going to Shake Shack this Thursday for the coffee and donuts custard, thank you very much.)

So the next best thing was frozen yogurt. I actually preferred this idea over ice cream, as the tang of the yogurt would play up that of the rhubarb. Of course, I did use whole milk yogurt, which is a little fatty but nowhere nearly as bad for you as cream, whole milk, and egg yolks. Besides, low-fat and non-fat yogurt would be too tangy and wouldn’t provide any richness that this dessert needs. I mean, I do want to enjoy what I’m eating. If I wanted a sugar rush I’d eat a packet of sugar, but I want my dessert to be satisfying, so a full flavor and richness were very necessary components.

I used turbinado sugar because it gives the final product a depth of flavor that plain white sugar just can’t add, and I’m also trying to stay away from white sugar in my own baking and cooking.

There are two odd ingredients in the list – vodka and corn syrup. Both make the frozen yogurt silky and prevent it from getting icy, which is the worst thing in the world for a creamy frozen dessert. You can add one, both, or none, it’s up to you. I added both because I had them at home, but if you don’t have them, it’s not a problem, although you’ll probably want to get a move on eating your frozen yogurt as it will get icy within a few days.

I really loved this final product – it’s tart, creamy, sweet, and sophisticated. Strawberry ice cream it is not, but I bet it would go really well with it. And it goes even better with something else that I’ll post tomorrow…stay tuned!


Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt
makes about 1 quart

1 pound rhubarb (all red stalks if possible)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vodka (optional)
1 teaspoon corn syrup (optional)
Juice of ¼ lemon


Wash the rhubarb and cut off any tough ends. Cut into ½” pieces and transfer to a non-reactive bowl. Add ½ cup of sugar, toss to combine, and let the rhubarb macerate at room temperature for 1 hour. (My rhubarb was very tender and not too tart, so ½ cup was enough to make it sufficiently sweet, but you might need to add more later.)

Transfer the mixture to medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the rhubarb has released most of its juices, then simmer until the rhubarb is very soft and most of the liquid has been cooked down, about 10 more minutes. Taste the mixture halfway through; it should be quite sweet (remember you are going to mix it with the unsweetened yogurt so the sweetness will get cut, but you don't want to add more sugar to make it overly sweet.)  If it’s not, add a little more sugar. At the end of your cooking time, the rhubarb should be mushy and the mixture should be thick, like a loose jam.

Transfer the rhubarb mixture to a large bowl and let cool (you can speed this up in the refrigerator). Add the yogurt, vodka, corn syrup, and lemon juice to a large bowl and whisk very well until the mixture is uniform. Add the cooled rhubarb and mix to combine. Taste to assess sweetness and add Transfer to a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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