I’ve just got home from a few days in Melbourne with the boy, which was absolutely lovely… except for the crazy and unpredictable weather! This weekend has taught me that it’s really possibly to get four seasons in one day, even though it’s supposed to be spring. I hear the weather in Sydney hasn’t been much better. With such indecisive weather around I thought it fitting to dust off this dessert, which straddles winter and summer, using the last of winter’s produce in frozen dessert. Quince season is winding up for the year, while ice cream season is just beginning!
Quince and rhubarb is a magical combination. Two of my favourite things; a match made in heaven. I will warn you now, cooking quinces is a labour of love. They need to simmer away for hours to develop the signature ruby colour. I poached mine in slices for about three hours until they were rosy, and then added the rhubarb for a burst of vibrant colour and tartness. I strained the fruit, while retaining the liquids, which I then simmered down to a syrup. Finally I pureed the fruit and syrup together.
You could stop at this point, because the quince and rhubarb puree would be lovely with yoghurt, or to spoon onto muesli, but I decided to swirl it through a homemade brown sugar ice cream. The ice cream itself was based on David Lebovitz’s vanilla bean ice cream from The Perfect Scoop, my go to ice cream book that has never failed me. I replaced the white sugar with brown sugar for an interesting, slightly caramelly taste that worked so well with the fruit puree. I liked this ice cream on its own, or in a waffle cone, but it would make the most perfect accompaniment to a rhubarb crumble. I swoon a little just thinking about it.
You could get really creative with “rippled” ice creams, especially with the summer fruit that is just around the corner. Peach puree swirled through honey ice cream, apricot swirled through tea-infused ice cream, or perhaps cherry swirled through coconut. The combinations are truly endless, and I think I’m going to have fun playing with them over the warmer months!
Quince and Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop
Makes 1 litre
Quince and Rhubarb Puree
• 1 quince
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 litre water
• ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
• ½ bunch rhubarb, cut into 5cm lengths.
Peel and core the quince and cut into 8 pieces. Dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat. Add the vanilla seeds, bean and quince pieces. Half cover the pot and simmer on the lowest heat for 3 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes and topping up with water if necessary. When quince is rosy pink, add the rhubarb and poach until soft. Strain the fruit and reserve the juices. Add the juices back to the saucepan and simmer until syrupy. Place fruit and syrup into a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Brown Sugar Ice Cream
• 1 cup (250ml) milk
• ¾ cup (150g) brown sugar
• 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
• Pinch salt
• ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
• 6 large egg yolks
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm the milk, brown sugar, 1 cup of the cream and salt in a medium saucepan. Place the vanilla seeds and bean into the warm milk. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pout the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the mixture back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pout the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Swirl spoonfuls of the puree through the brown sugar ice cream and freeze overnight, or until scoopable.