Saturday, June 15, 2013

Early Grey Rhubarb Sorbet

Oh, rhubarb. I could write a sonnet to your vibrant ruby stalks and lively taste.  I adore you.

I love rhubarb and I love tea (if you know me at all, you know this). And one of my best ideas ever? Combine them!

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Rhubarb has been celebrated on a lot of foodie blogs so I was hesitant to share a rhubarb recipe here (I tarried between this and a crisp, sauce, and other desserts) but I think you'll love this one. There is a reason everyone else is sharing their recipes - rhubarb is versatile, delicious, and currently ripe. You can find rhubarb showcasing on the internet - raw in a salad from My New Roots, layered in buckwheat rhubarb scones, and even whipped into a barbeque sauce from Edible Perspective.

Rhubarb is such an interesting plant. Normally considered a vegetable, it is largely considered a fruit in the United States, particularly in regards to tariff. It's leaves are poisonous but the stalks are more than edible - their delicious. The stalks can be eaten raw or cooked, which brings out its sweeter notes. An excellent source of Vitamin C, rhubarb also contains some calcium and Vitamin K. It is also high in dietary fiber - in some past cultures, it's even been used as a laxative (although no concern for a normal serving).

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Rhubarb makes a delicious debut in this late spring, early summer dessert, pairing sublimely well with Earl Grey tea. Earl Grey is a rich black tea scented with Bergamot, a citrus. It's rich yet easily drinkable and lively with orange flower notes. Bergamot from the Earl Grey tea gives this sorbet a tasty floral note while the black tea deepens the flavor. And the Rhubarb mixed with honey is tangy and sweet. Perfect for a frozen treat!

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I used Earl Grey from Red Blossom Tea Company, a beautiful and somewhat mod little tea shop in San Francisco. Lucky for anyone, they sell their tea online! (After poking around on their site, I realized the Earl Grey is nowhere to be found - am I missing something? Perhaps they don't sell it anymore or don't sell it online. If you would love a lovely organic Earl Grey tea, try Mountain Rose Herbs).

Don't let the long-looking directions fool you! With only five ingredients (including water), this sorbet is worth the three part ice cream process - macerate, let cool, and blend. The most time you'll spend is probably washing and chopping the rhubarb.

Earl Grey Rhubarb Sorbet
4-5 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup water
1/3-1/2 cup honey
1/2 vanilla bean
1 TB loose leaf Earl Grey Tea*

Also will need a small muslin bag (available on Mountain Rose Herbs and amazon).

1. Slice half of vanilla bean lengthwise and using flat edge of knife, scrape out seeds of vanilla bean. 2. Add vanilla seeds, empty pod, chopped rhubarb, water and honey (start with 1/3 cup) to a medium saucepot. Boil then simmer 5-8 minutes until rhubarb seems softer. (Taste if extra honey is needed - greener rhubarb will be less sweet so may need more honey).
3. Add a muslin bag of the loose leaf Earl Grey Tea to the simmering pot of rhubarb. Let simmer five more minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Taste the base again. It is your choice to remove the earl grey tea (if it's flavor is pronounced enough for you) or to let it infuse longer for stronger flavor (don't let it sit too long because black tea has some very strong tannins and can be bitter if infused too long).
5. Let cool (about 4 hours over overnight in fridge). Remove vanilla pod and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender (I used my Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender) until smooth.
6. Put in ice cream machine maker (I have Cuisinart Automatic 1-1/2-Quart Ice Cream Maker, White) and use according to manufacturer's directions. Serve! And freeze remainder!

Note: Alternatively, you can pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Or instead of Step #5, freeze the base in large ice cube trays and blend in high speed blender to make ice cream.

*Because we are using black tea, this sorbet will contain caffeine. I used Earl Grey from Red Blossom Tea Company. It's also available on Mountain Rose Herbs, as is vanilla beans, although I bought my vanilla from amazon .

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Also GF Girl's post on Food52 reminded me that Food 52 is opening a new store Provisions. You can sign up now for a $10 credit to use on your first purchase. I can't wait to see what they have!

And if you're looking for a last minute Father's Day gift or a treat for yourself, check out this great magazine deal on Amazon.

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