Monday, May 12, 2008

rhubarb & custard

I grew up thinking that rhubarb and custard was some gross mush that mummy's used to make their children eat for breakfast. Rhubarb sounded gross and custard sounded even grosser.

It wasn't until many years later that I realized custard is the wonderful creamy goodness that makes many of my favorite foods happen: homemade ice cream, creme brulee, yummy quiche. And it wasn't until very recently (this year in fact) that I tasted rhubarb for the first time in years and was reminded how much I do love it. I was hit by a wave of nostalgia with every bite.

Rhubarb and cream were meant for each other. The buttery sweetness is the perfect balance to rhubarb's tangy, mouth-puckering flavor. I'm determined to experiment and come up with as many riffs on the classic combo as I can.

On our recent trip to England, my Aunt Carrie served a delicious rhubarb fool (that is cooked, sweetened rhubarb folded into whipped cream). I was hooked. Now that it's rhubarb season in Vermont, I just can't get enough of it. I made my own variation on the fool this past weekend by cooking rhubarb with some lemon and orange zest and a little sugar. Then I folded it into maple syrup-sweetened plain yogurt. Divine!

Tonight, I'm really pushing the limits of ultimate creamy tart flavor: strawberry rhubarb ice cream. Strawberries & cream meets rhubarb & custard. And the result is soooo good. The secret is in the lemon juice. You wouldn't think that rhubarb would need any more acid but it really does help bring out the flavor against all that creamy custard.

What's next? Tomorrow, I'm having rhubarb in my yogurt for breakfast. I hope I don't get a stomach ache!


Hanushka said...

you'd better save some of that ice cream for me, or you're going to be in BIG TROUBLE, Soupy!

Emma and Kevin Kouri said...


Unknown said...

I'm in the process of creating a really convincing letter to Father Christmas, explaining how hard I've worked at being good this year, and how one of those fancy ice-cream makers would make so many poor, sad, lonely people happy to be alive, especially when they taste that RHUBARB AND CUSTARD ICE CREAM! D'you think he'll fall for it?!!

When I was little, we used to poke our heads out of the car window when we went into the tunnel on the way to the sea, and we yelled: 'Kippers and knickers! Rhubarb and custard!' The wind would blow so hard into our faces, we could hardly speak the words! It's a wonder we still all have our heads!!

We used to have rhubarb and custard on Fridays at school, after the most delicious roast pork lunch. That was before institutional cooking invaded the school system.

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