While buying strawberries at the farmer’s market, I also picked up vibrant-looking rhubarb, one of strawberry’s favorite companions. I had in mind a recipe from Emily Luchetti’s A Passion for Desserts(this particular cookbook has been getting quite a workout lately!) – Ice Wine Ice Cream with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. The recipe caught my eye because I knew I would be able to also pick up some wine at the excellent Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants in the Ferry Building.
Of course the most popular of ice wines, that ambrosia-like Inniskillin from Ontario, was prominently on display, but I hesitated to use a pricier wine in a recipe I hadn’t done before. (Besides, I think I’d rather just drink the Inniskillin whenever I got some!) With the aid of the helpful staff at the store, I settled on a 2004 Kiona Chenin Blanc Red Mountain Ice Wine. Added bonus: Kiona Vineyards is in Washington, which, while not exactly local, is closer than Canada!
The Kiona itself is no slouch as a wine, having picked up numerous accolades and awards. It is marvelously rich and full-textured, with strong honey, apple, and peach notes and a sweet, lingering finish without being cloying. I found the fullness of the wine balanced out the creaminess of the ice cream very well; since this is a Philadelphia-style ice cream recipe, there are no eggs to cook into custard first. The resulting ice cream is less rich but very creamy, and any flavors will stand out quite intensely.
It also is a perfect foil for the tart-tangy compote of strawberries and rhubarb, still slightly warm from the stove. The combination of cold and creamy with sweet and fresh makes a very simple and elegant dessert.
from Emily Luchetti’s A Passion for Desserts
Makes 6 servings
Ice Wine Ice Cream
1 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup ice wine
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
10 ounces rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
Warm the sugar, cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until bubbles form around the edges or until it reaches about 170 degrees. (Even though traditionally Philadelphia-style ice cream is meant to be uncooked as opposed to the French custard-style, I think heating the cream will result in a smoother ice cream, which is probably what Luchetti is doing here.)
Let the cream mixture cool for a bit and then add the ice wine. Cover the mixture and let chill overnight. Then freeze the mixture in an ice cream machine.
Cook the rhubarb with 5 tablespoons of sugar and the water over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the rhubarb is soft. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the strawberries and remaining sugar. Serve the compote alongside the ice cream.
Strawberries – Yerena Farms, Watsonville
Rhubarb – Capay Farms, Capay
Cream – Clover Farms, Marin County