Quick and easy spiced rhubarb & white chocolate ripple ice cream

This is a very simple and speedy (in terms of preparation) white chocolate ice cream, with a spiced rhubarb ripple running through it.

I use stem ginger for that wonderful heat it brings, as well as a little star anise for a spicy aniseed punch.

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(Updated June 2018)

I used fresh rhubarb here, as I am still picking it from the allotment, but I have made this using two tins of rhubarb, drained: the drained syrup from a tin is great used in place of the cordial.

The ripple is not at all essential, but I love the sharp tang it gives among the rich creamyness of the ice cream. I used a simple rhubarb cordial for the ripple, which you can buy. Alternatively add more water to the pan when you cook the rhubarb, and then strain the the rhubarb through a sieve once it has cooked: if you reduce this sharp and sweet water until it is syrupy, this will be ideal. The liquid glucose ensures it does not freeze solid.

This ice cream is easist made in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have one, you can pour the mixture into a plastic container, pop it into the freezer for a few hours, removing it every hour or so to give it a good mix, until it is firmer.

A quicker ice cream

A great custard is at the heart of an ice cream and while you can of course make up a batch, which gives the very best flavour, you can cut corners with the ice cream by using ready-made commercial custard. The ones in large tubs in the fridge at the supermarket can be particularly good, especially if they are the more luxurious type.


This is great served just as it is, although I love to serve it with warmed-up ginger cake or browniesas a very satisfying dessert.

I also love to serve the ice cream in chocolate “cases”. If using chocolate cases, which can be bought or made, once you have be filled them, pop them in the freezer so that they are ready to go with no last-minute preparation, and just put them in the fridge about 15 minutes before serving so the ice cream softens up slightly.

Recipe: white chocolate & spiced rhubarb ripple ice cream – makes just over 1 litre

For the ice cream

  • 600g fresh rhubarb, cleaned, trimmed and chopped roughly (or use two tins of rhubarb, drained – but keep the syrup for the ripple)
  • 130g caster sugar
  • a splash of water (3-4 tablespoons or so)
  • 1/2 star anise (more if you prefer a more pronounced aniseed flavour)
  • 50ml stem ginger syrup
  • 4 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped (or go for more if you want extra heat)
  • 500ml fresh custard (you can use good quality bought custard for speed)
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped into fairly small pieces

For the ripple (optional)

  • 100ml rhubarb cordial (or syrup from the tinned rhubarb, if using)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid glucose
  • 2 tablespoons stem ginger syrup

(1) For the ice cream, put the rhubarb, sugar and star anise in a large pan and gently bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the rhubarb is very soft. Remove the star anise and purée the mixture: you can partially purée it if you want a few visible bits of the rhubarb there or else purée it until very smooth, depending on what you prefer. Leave to cool.

(2) Mix the custard and stem ginger syrup with the cooled rhubarb mixture and churn in an ice cream maker until it is at the softly froze stage and just holds it shape: think Mr Whippy ice cream!

(3) While the ice cream is churning, mix the ripple ingredients together and pour into a shallow container. Pop in the freezer until partially frozen: you just want it less liquid. I find it takes about the same amount of time that the ice cream takes to be churned.

(4) Mix the soft ice cream with the chocolate and the chopped stem ginger to incorporate. Add the ripple mixure and fold through: if the ripple mixture is too liquid, be very gentle with the folding so you don’t mix it completely with the ice cream. If the ripple mixture is too frozen, you can either let it defrost a bit or just go for chunks of ripple within the ice cream mixture: like nuggets of sorbet in the ice cream. You get a great result either way!

(5) Transfer the mixture to a plastic container, cover and pop in the freezer. Remove the ice cream and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes before scooping out, so that it has softened slightly.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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