Rhubarb and Ginger Sorbet

Thought I might as well rescue the other recipes from the Umrat Cookbook. We made this originally as one of seven courses for a Scottish Baronial Dinner.


Rhubarb cooked in sweet syrup (poach your own or buy a tin)

A jar of ginger preserved in syrup. If you can't get this, although you can in most mainstream supermarkets now, reheat some of the rhubarb syrup with some powdered ginger or chopped fresh ginger root.

an ice-cream maker or a freezer, a food-processor helps too

Drain the rhubarb, keeping the syrup, and process it, or mash it as finely as you can.

Add syrup from the ginger jar, a dessert-spoonful at a time, tasting as you go.

You want to end up with a puree that is substantial but definitely liquid – like Vichyssoise is more than cream but less than mashed potato. The sugar is necessary not just for sweetening the rhubarb but in the final texture of the ice, and freezing will reduce the sweetness.

When the puree is gingery enough for you, add a bit more for luck. If it still isn't wet enough, add the syrup from the rhubarb.

When the puree is wet enough, if it isn't gingery enough for you, finely chop some of the preserved ginger and add.

Put through the ice-cream maker and either eat immediately or store in the freezer to ripen, remembering to take it out and put it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before you want to serve it to get the best texture and flavour.

If you haven't got one, and you're freezing it, you could gently stir in a couple of stiffly whisked egg whites before freezing it, which should help with the texture. Note: I haven't tried this! but it is often recommended in ice-cream books. Put it in a freezer-proof container with a lid, freeze, taking it out after about 2 hours and stirring gently to scrape ice crystals from the edge into the middle. Do this again later on if you feel like it. This is not as crucial as it can be in thinner smoother liquids, as the ice will form less regularly anyway.

This is a great palate cleanser between rich main courses in winter (between the haggis and the venison, say), or can be used to make gin or vodka slushes in the summer …

It will vary each time you make it, especially if you're like me and add a bit of lemon juice, or turn it into ice-cream and serve it with hot rhubarb crumble.

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