Super-easy NO CHURN Rhubarb Ice Cream. A deliciously thick and creamy, super-fruity dessert to make the most of rhubarb season. Optional Vegan.
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No Churn Rhubarb Ice Cream – The perfect summer treat
If you are looking for a great rhubarb recipe, this No Churn Rhubarb Ice Cream may be just what you need. It’s delightful… Rich and creamy… Wonderfully tangy… peppered with little bites of fruity, fleshy rhubarb and sweetened to perfection.
With the natural warmth of the air or the tongue, it melts into a rich gooey rhubarb cream… coating the palate with sweet, cold, fruity bursts of yumminess.
It’s the perfect summer treat, which makes the most of the seasonal availability of rhubarb. But Rhubarb Ice Cream is also divine in the winter too… Made with rhubarb compote that has been prepared and frozen in the months of growth, ready for a reminiscence of warmer days.
What is rhubarb?
Rhubarb is (scientifically) a perennial vegetable that is related to buckwheat, sorrel and knotweed. Or is it?
If you live in the States, you may rightly challenge the vegetable status. Because back in 1947, there was a New York court challenge over its categorised botanical status (yes… even this pink-hued delicacy has rights). ‘It’s a fruit’… they argued… and the court agreed… Rhubarb was thus declared… But only in America!
Which bits of the rhubarb plant can I eat?
But when it comes to eating rhubarb (whether in ice cream or not), it is only the stalks that are edible. The leaves should be avoided as they contain toxic oxalic acid. As such, they should be discarded to the compost heap without guilt.
On their own, the stalks are, of course, super-tart. They require cooking and without doubt, need the addition of a little sugar to be enjoyed and to bring out their luscious flavour.
When is rhubarb in season?
Rhubarb is in season from Spring and through Summer in temperate climates. In the UK, that means outside rhubarb plants can be harvested from around early April until about the end of June (although a good plant may continue to produce right through the summer)… Perfect for ice cream ‘season’. However, ‘forced rhubarb’ (or early rhubarb) may also be available much sooner… from early January.
Rhubarb is one of one of my favourite garden ingredients. Anyone who has tried growing it will know that it is a relatively undemanding plant. And it’s a plant that keeps on giving.
Provide it with good nutrient-rich soil and plenty of water and it will reward you year after year… Its large green leaves working their way out, topping beautiful pink and green stalks of fruity tartness… The perfect base for tangy tarts, crumbles and of course… No Churn Rhubarb Ice Cream.
If gardening isn’t your thing, fear not. Rhubarb is seasonally available in supermarkets and greengrocers from springtime onwards.
Do I need any special equipment to make No Churn Rhubarb Ice Cream?
One of the best things about making this Rhubarb Ice Cream, is that you don’t need an ice cream maker. The clue’s in the name… It’s ‘no churn’. So how the heck do you make it creamy, airy and delicious? Quite simply… you whip it!
And for that you need a large mixing bowl and a good electric whisk… It can be a stand whisk or an electric hand whisk. But it needs to be robust enough to whip the ice cream base until thick and luscious.
Then, of course… the rhubarb can’t be added raw… It needs to be cooked to make it softly edible and subtly sweet. For that you’ll need a kitchen hob, a medium-sized saucepan and a heat-proof (wooden or silicone spoon), that is firm enough to crush the rhubarb against the side of the pan.
You’ll need a fridge to chill the ingredients and a freezer to freeze the rhubarb ice cream once made… And a good mixing-scraping spoon to fold in the rhubarb and transfer to the freezing tubs. Of all the equipment in my kitchen, I honestly don’t know what I would do without my silicone spoon-spatula! It’s perfect for ‘folding’ and scrapes every last drop from the bowl.
Is no churn ice cream as good as traditional churned creamy ice cream?
No churn ice cream may be the simplest ice cream you can make, but it is amazingly soft and luxurious. Just look at how well it melts and how creamy it is. It is certainly up there with any traditionally churned version for deliciousness.
Indeed, some years ago, I read a post on a beautiful blog called My Little Italian Kitchen about How to Spot a Good Quality Ice Cream. The criteria are that quality ice cream should…
- taste of the flavour picked
- leave a good after-taste
- not have unexpected colours
- melt quickly
- not leave a feeling of greasiness on the palate
Now you might think that with such simplicity and less than traditional process, a no-churn ice cream would score low. Not at all! My Rhubarb Ice Cream ticks all the boxes… Even the teeny addition of some pink colouring to my later batch is not out of context. After all, rhubarb is pink right? So pink rhubarb ice cream would be expected!
Should rhubarb be cooked to make Rhubarb Ice Cream?
Rhubarb is not a vegetable (or fruit) that can be eaten raw… It’s way too tart and fibrous. So, whether using it for rhubarb ice cream or anything else, it will need to be cooked.
For something like my Rhubarb Frangipane Tart, it will cook quite naturally within the general bake. However, when it comes to no churn ice cream, it most definitely needs to be stewed to a soft pulp and sweetened with a little sugar.
Although I used bog-standard caster sugar for the rhubarb ice cream recipe shared below, this can simply be substituted for a little natural honey or maple syrup if you prefer. It would even take a sprinkle or two of cinnamon for some more exotic notes.
Why is rhubarb gin/alcohol listed in the ingredients and can I leave this out?
The ingredients include a tot of rhubarb gin (or other plain white or fruity spirit). This is not there to make the ice cream particularly boozy, but is designed to help keep it a little softer and quicker to scoop. How? Because the alcohol lowers the freezing temperature of the mix, just taking the edge off its firmness.
Actually, you can’t even taste the alcohol…But, if children will be eating it, or you prefer not to add it, that’s fine. Just omit the alcohol completely and leave the ice cream to stand at room temperature for an extra few minutes before serving.
Can I use this recipe to make dairy free and Vegan Rhubarb Ice Cream?
The Rhubarb Ice Cream photographed has been made with dairy cream and normal sweetened condensed milk. However, at Gluten Free Alchemist, we also developed a vegan version of no churn ice cream which is made with whipped coconut cream from full fat coconut milk and sweetened condensed coconut milk.
So, if you want or need to make no churn rhubarb ice cream in Vegan form, simply sub the dairy for non-dairy with the ratios stated in my earlier base vegan recipe. (Obviously leaving out the cacao and subbing with the rhubarb compote and gin instead). It will be just as delicious.
How to serve Rhubarb Ice Cream
No churn Rhubarb Ice Cream needs nothing other than a spoon and a bowl to be perfect. However… I have tried it with various toppings on your behalf (it would have been wrong not to!).
My top picks are to drizzle with a little honey or Maple syrup, raspberry coulis, blackberry or blackcurrant sauce or good old chocolate sauce. Each adds either a slightly sticky sweetness or complementary tartness which is divine. If the honey can be ‘flavoured’ with a hint of vanilla or a little cinnamon, so much the better. You could even top with a sprinkle of Honey-Roasted Cinnamon Pecans. They add a delightful crunch and are totally addictive.
Of course, rhubarb ice cream is just as amazing ‘straight’ on a cone. And there are now plenty of gluten free options available… Gluten free cones are also now available in Tesco too!
Ready to make my Rhubarb Ice Cream recipe?
If you’re loving the sound and simplicity of my No Churn Rhubarb Ice Cream, then grab what you need and head to the kitchen. In no time at all, you’ll be enjoying the most luscious ice cream and wondering why you ever bother buying the stuff… This is so much yummier!
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And if it’s more ice cream recipes you’re after? Then simply head over to our dedicated Ice Cream Recipe Index… We have loads to choose from – both no churn and churned (and they are separately categorised in the index to make it as easy as possible for you).
For everything else? Grab a coffee and browse our drool-worthy gluten free Recipe Book Index.
Happy ice cream making! And thank you so much for visiting us
Other Rhubarb Recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist
A couple of Gluten Free Alchemist No Churn Ice Creams to inspire!
Rhubarb Ice Cream (No Churn)
- sharp vegetable knife
- can opener
- large freezer-safe container
- 450 g rhubarb cut into pieces of 1 to 2 cm
- 150 g caster sugar
- 2½ tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Rhubarb Ice Cream
- 397 g sweetened condensed milk 1 x standard tin (For VEGAN ice cream, sub with 320 to 380 g sweetened condensed coconut milk)
- 45 ml rhubarb gin (or alternative plain white or fruity spirit) – optional but will help keep the ice cream a little softer.
- 500 ml double cream For VEGAN version sub with 800 ml full-fat coconut milk (cream only) at least 75% coconut solids (2 cans)
- 125 g ambrosia custard optional – See NOTES (For vegan version, omit)
- red food colouring paste optional – to colour desired
- Cook the rhubarb ahead of time to allow it to cool completely and refrigerate.
- Place the cut rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Simmer until the rhubarb softens and breaks down (8 to 10 minutes).
- When cooked, remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, stirring through to amalgamate.
- Set aside in a bowl to cool.
Rhubarb Ice Cream
- When the rhubarb compote is cold, remove about a quarter from the bowl and set aside (to be swirled through later).
- Add the condensed milk and alcohol (if using) to the larger portion (¾) of rhubarb compote and stir through.
- Place in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
- When ready to make the ice cream, in a large (preferably chilled) bowl, whip the double cream until it just starts to thicken.
- If including custard, add it at this point and then continue to whip the cream until it holds shape in soft peaks. (If not adding custard, just continue to whip the cream to soft peak stage).
- Set the whisk aside, as it may be needed again later.
- Stir a spoonful of cream into the chilled rhubarb mix to make it a little lighter.
- Then add the rhubarb mix and a tiny drop of red food colouring paste (if using) to the remaining whipped cream and gently fold through.
- If the consistency of the ice cream mix has thinned, re-whisk until thick.
- Take the reserved rhubarb compote and swirl through the ice cream.
- Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 4 hours (or overnight) to harden.
- When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and (if it is too hard to scoop) leave at room temperature for a few minutes to soften naturally.
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