This image from Livet Hemma looks exactly like a Strawberry-Rhubarb Milkshake I devised years ago when I was monkeying around with rhubarb and strawberries, which are full-tilt right now. It got me hankering for one, and reminded me what an unexpected and delightful dessert they make for dinner parties. So I thought I’d share how to make it and other rhubarb discoveries and improvisations I’ve made.Simmering strawberries and rhubarb briefly in a white wine and honey releases their flavor to make an intensely-flavored syrup. When I strained it, I discovered that the leftover solids were in fact a delectable cross between a sauce and a compote: a velvety confit. Both syrup and confit inspired an endless number of concoctions; 12 or so are outlined here. But my favorite was this Strawberry-Rhubarb Milkshake which makes for a charming and unexpected dessert for early summer dinner parties.
Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Milk Shake
2 cups strawberry ice cream
2 cups cooled Rhubarb Confit (see recipe below)
2 teaspoons vanilla extra
2 ice cubes
About 1/4 cup cold milk
1 or 2 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice, to taste
Additional sugar, to taste
In a blender container, combine the ice cream, Rhubarb Confit, vanilla extract and ice cubes. Blend on low speed, dribbling in enough cold milk, up to 1/4 cup, to get the mixture moving. Blend on high speed until thick and creamy, adding fresh lime or lemon juice and additional sugar to taste if desired to lift the flavors. Discard the ice cubes and pour the mixture into our 8-ounce glasses or goblets.
Master Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Confit + Rhubarb Syrup for Improvising
Makes about 2 cups confit and 3 cups syrup. The syrup will keep indefinitely in the fridge; the confit will keep at least 2 weeks.
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons wild flower honey
2 to 3 cups strawberries, hulled and halved
2 pounds rhubarb, preferably red stalks, sliced 1/4-inch thick (8 to 10 cups)
2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large saucepan, combine the wine, 3/4 cups of the sugar and the honey; bring to low boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Add the strawberries and cook until the strawberries are flabby and pale, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a strainer set over a bowl, occasionally pouring the juices that collect around them back into the pot. (The strawberries are really meant to infuse the syrup, but if you find they still have some flavor, save them to eat with yogurt.)
Add the rhubarb and return to a low boil. Cover until the rhubarb has released its juices, 3 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the rhubarb is falling apart 5 to 7 minutes.
Working in batches if necessary, pour the mixture through a fine strainer set over a bowl; let sit several minutes, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula or a spoon to extract most of the liquid; transfer the thick confit to a bowl.
Stir 1 or 2 tablespoons lemon juice and additional sugar into the confit if desired. Taste the syrup; if you want intensify the flavor, pour back into the pot and simmer to reduce it a bit. Add a pinch of salt, 1 or 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and additional sugar if desired; transfer to a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.