It's always ice cream season
Buttermilk ice cream + rhubarb jam + brown sugar oats
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In our house, it’s always ice cream season. We do not open shop on Memorial Day (or Victoria Day, up here) and close after Labor Day. And I write this from a place where it has snowed on my husband’s mid-April birthday more often than not in the past near-decade I’ve lived here.
It’s just cold until it isn’t, so we eat ice cream anyway.
Ice cream season may be eternal but I do like to acknowledge actual seasons in whatever’s currently churning, so my early spring flavor of choice is this Buttermilk Ice Cream with Rhubarb Jam Swirl and Brown Sugar Oats. If you can think of a catchier name, please do share with the class!
Of all the custard ice cream bases I’ve tried, this buttermilk number is probably the one I come back to the most. The gentle tang from real buttermilk brightens up the flavor and complements fruits especially well: think strawberry swirl and graham cracker crunch in the early summer, peach swirl and crunchy streusel during stone fruit season, and apple caramel in the fall.
Needless to say, accept no (buttermilk) substitutes here. (Lemon juice stirred into regular milk will NOT work in this recipe.) Here in the Toronto area, I use Neilson buttermilk which is available in many of the major grocery stores. Buttermilk is naturally low-fat, so don’t try to source full-fat buttermilk.
If real buttermilk is absolutely not available in your area, you can use plain whole milk instead and perhaps amp up the vanilla a touch. It will be less interesting but still tasty.
Buttermilk Ice Cream with Rhubarb Jam and Brown Sugar Oats
For the buttermilk ice cream base:
360g heavy cream (35% milkfat)
120g granulated sugar
14g nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
4 large egg yolks (~70-80g)
40g light corn syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the rhubarb jam:
250g rhubarb, chopped
100g granulated sugar
Generous pinch of kosher salt
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Juice of ½ a lemon
For the brown sugar oats:
56g unsalted butter
100g light brown sugar
Generous pinch of kosher salt
90g rolled oats
Make the buttermilk ice cream base: In a large jug, combine the buttermilk and heavy cream. Set a strainer over a heatsafe container.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, milk powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Whisk in the egg yolks and corn syrup until well combined, followed by half (~360g) of the buttermilk mixture.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring and scraping the pot constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and registers 170-180F on a digital thermometer. Immediately strain into the prepared container. Stir in the remaining buttermilk mixture and vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until cold (4 -24 hours) before churning.
Make the rhubarb jam: Combine the rhubarb, sugar, salt, vanilla, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and sticky, about 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a clean jar and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the brown sugar oats: (Note: this makes more than you need for one batch of ice cream, but you can store leftovers in the freezer for future batches or just enjoy as a topping or snack!) Preheat the oven to 325F with a rack in the middle. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together butter, sugar, and salt, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in oats. Scrape into a single layer onto prepared pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, or until oats are golden. Cool completely on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container.
Churn and assemble the ice cream: Before churning, place the container for your ice cream in the freezer. Churn buttermilk base according to the instructions for your machine, until the mixture has the texture of soft serve (about 25 minutes for my machine). Spread a layer of ice cream in the bottom of the pan, then spoon over dollops of rhubarb jam and a generous sprinkle of brown sugar oats. Continue layering up the ice cream, jam, and oats in the pan until you’ve used up all the ice cream. Cover with parchment paper, pressing it to the surface of the ice cream so it adheres, then cover with a lid. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Ice cream will keep for up to 3 months.