The first time I had strawberry rhubarb pie was in high school when my friends and I made a pit stop at House of Pies in L.A. House of Pies is a divey little diner known for--would you believe it?--pies. Pies upon pies upon pies. Since it is both cheap and open past midnight, it was the perfect hang out for broke kids like ourselves.
Back then, we spent most of our weekends rooting around record stores or standing around waiting for bands to play. Nothing mattered more than my friends and our music. We were teenagers, right?
For years before my House of Pies experience, my go-to pie was pecan. I actually kind of hated fruit pies, as they always seemed to be filled with gelatinous piles of wobbly bits that barely resembled actual fruit. But when I glanced down House of Pie's menu, rhubarb popped off the page.
It was the first time I'd ever so much as seen the word. I had never heard it said out loud. I had no idea what it looked like, or tasted like, but it had a homey feel to it. So I ordered it. With a great big scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
And that pie, it was a marvel. Sweet, sticky strawberries cut with the tart zing of rhubarb. All of that bright stuff mediated by flaky, buttery crust and a spoonful of velvety ice cream. I could not believe that this pie had existed in the world for so many years without my knowledge.
Can you remember eating your favorite dessert for the very first time? I'm lucky that I came late to strawberry rhubarb pie because I can still taste that first bite. The simple rightness of it all.
And so, to celebrate what is sure to be a summer rife with my new ice cream obsession, I bring you my absolute favorite pie in ice cream form. Lightly roasted strawberries get pureed and folded into Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream's perfect base. Strung with ribbons of gorgeous rhubarb compote and generous crumbles of Warren's famous cream cheese pie crust, and you have bliss in a bowl.
Finally, a confession: remember that lovely Lemon Biscotti Ice Cream from a few weeks ago? I may have made four more batches of ice cream that weekend. Yes, I am going bonkers for ice cream! That all said, I have been trying to stagger them out so you won't be completely inundated with ice cream posts--but no promises.
And yes, Warren made a batch of mini strawberry rhubarb pies for the sole purpose of eating this ice cream with its coordinating pie. Obscene? Yes. But also totally awesome. And it must be said that eating SRP ice cream with a slice of SRP is totally different from drinking a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Milkshake, which is a real and glorious thing.
Thus ends my ode to strawberry rhubarb pie.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE ICE CREAM
To Assemble the Ice Cream
Line a bread pan with parchment (or wax) paper. Drizzle some rhubarb compote (recipes below) at the bottom, then layer with 1/3 of the Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream Base. Sprinkle with pie crust crumbles and drizzle with more compote. Continue layering, ending with a layer of compote and pie crumbles. Drag a knife through the compote to create a marbling effect.
Press parchment or wax paper onto the ice cream's surface and freeze for at least four hours. Before serving, let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Serve hearty scoops atop (totally optional) mini strawberry rhubarb pies and enjoy! Makes 1 quart.
For the Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream Base
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cup crumbled baked pie crust, divided in half (Warren whipped up our favorite Cream Cheese Crust adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible but you can also just bake a pre-made crust and crumble that. Either way, before baking, brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.)
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons milk to form a slurry. Set aside. In another small bowl, mix the cream cheese and salt together. Set aside. Put the rest of the milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a large, heavy bottomed pot (like a stock pot). Bring to a boil and boil for exactly four minutes (I set my phone's timer to make sure it was accurate). It will boil and foam like crazy.
While the milk is boiling, put a ziplock bag in a tall, wide container (I used my blender) and fold the top over the container's edge so you can safely pour the boiled ice cream base into the bag. Set aside. After four minutes, take the pot off the heat and add the cornstarch slurry. Return to a boil for one minute, take off the heat again. Add the cream cheese to the boiled milk and whisk any clumps out.
Pour into the prepared ziplock bag, seal it, and submerge in an ice bath. If you're making the ice cream the same day, just make sure the base is very cold before adding it to the machine. Add the base to your frozen ice cream barrel and spin for 15 minutes. The base should be frozen, a little more liquid than soft serve.
At this point, pour in the strawberry puree and let it mix in completely, until the ice cream is a pretty pink color. Add half of the pie crust crumbles and swirl until incorporated. From here you can assemble the rest of the ice cream.
For the Rhubarb Compote
Adapted from Epicurious
- 2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup sugar
Combine rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring every so often, until the rhubarb is syrupy (the sugar will liquefy over the heat and the rhubarb will break down). Strain through a sieve and chill until you are ready to assemble the ice cream.