Rhubarb Spice Ice Cream

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I find it is most efficient to make multiple batches of ice cream at once. You already have the ice cream maker out and have gotten the ice – and for me, my freezer can’t store that much ice, so I have to buy it and use it immediately if I want enough for ice cream. I mentioned when I posted the Grilled Apricot Ice Cream that I tend to have two ice cream recipes – one with egg white and one with egg yolks. Since I make multiple batches at a time, obviously this is then the recipe with egg yolks.

Texturally, the two recipes are very different. While I don’t create a full on custard with the yolks, it is a much richer base that is much smoother from the first bite. On the sort-of downside it needs more intense flavors to hold up in it and melts very quickly once out of the freezer. Not a recipe I would recommend for making ice cream cake or sandwiches or to try and take anywhere.

I first made this recipe a few years back when I was experimenting with preserving produce and ended up with preserved rhubarb I didn’t have anything else to do with. I also had a lot of fennel plants in the garden at the time, so a spiced rhubarb ice cream was tried.

I really like the unique flavor profile of this treat. Not holding up well to manipulation aside, it is a little too complex to be a base for creations or toppings, except maybe a ginger snap or two. But it is an elegant, super creamy, spring treat when you want a satisfying scoop of ice cream. The brown sugar offers a rich base for the hint of spices and the not overly sweet rhubarb keeps it fresh and seasonal.



Rhubarb Spice Ice Cream


  • 2 large egg yolks about 2 ½ tbsp of yolks
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 2 ½ c cream
  • ¼ c fennel seed
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 3/4 c diced preserved rhubarb and liquid*


  • Gently muddle spices together, just enough to break open cardamom pods and lightly crush peppercorns and fennel seed.
  • Heat cream in a small sauce pan until not quite simmering.
  • Remove from heat, add spices and allow to soak for 1 hour. Strain through cheese cloth – squeezing to extract all the flavor.
  • Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water until pale and syrupy. Continue beating until mixture is hot to the touch (120F).
  • Remove from heat. Whisk in cream in a steady stream.
  • Cover and allow to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Fold in ½ c rhubarb and all of liquid and churn according to your ice cream maker.
  • When ice cream is almost done (holds its shape), add remaining rhubarb and churn for a further 5 minutes.
  • Scrape out of ice cream maker into storage containers and freeze until firm.


Preserved Rhubarb
*I don’t have a perfect recipe for preserved rhubarb. I followed one several years back that I can’t find again, but the principle is as follows:
Cut rhubarb into ½” wide by 2” long pieces.
Blanch rhubarb pieces for 10 seconds in boiling water and instantly cool by plunging into ice water.
Pack into a jar and pour hot sugar syrup (1 part water to 1 part granulated sugar) over them until covered.
Seal and store in the fridge.

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