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Rhubarb and Ginger Sorbet

March can be a tricky time in the kitchen. The weather has moved into spring, and the days seem warmer and brighter. But the shelves are still filled with ancient roots: dry old parsnips and last year's swedes. Rhubarb is one of the few things that really comes into its own at this time of year. Although I love it in crumbles, tarts and pies (and it makes the best fool), this sorbet is a fantastic way of serving it. It captures the proud tartness of the stalk, with the ginger bringing a gentle touch of spice. It's quite difficult to photograph - not helped by the fact I don't have an ice-cream scoop - but trust me, this was pink and lovely.

Serves 6


400g forced English rhubarb, chopped into inch-thick slices
200g unrefined caster sugar
Half a vanilla pod, split
Smallish piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about the size of a melon ball)
Lump of stem ginger in syrup, the same size, finely chopped
1 lemon, zest removed

Put a medium saucepan on a low heat, and add the vanilla pod and 250ml water. Add the sugar, and heat gently until it's dissolved. Then turn up the heat, and boil rapidly, uncovered, for four and a half minutes. You need to be quite precise with the timing: too much boiling and the sorbet won't set, not enough and it will be unpleasantly icy. Add the rhubarb, lemon zest and ginger and gently poach, covered, until the rhubarb is completely tender, a matter of 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool slightly, then remove the vanilla pod and add the juice from half the lemon. Taste, bearing in mind that you want it to be slightly oversweet at this point - and add more lemon juice if you think it needs it. Thoroughly liquidise in a blender. Strain through a sieve, pushing all the fruit through, and chill for an hour in the fridge. Pour into an ice-cream maker and churn until it's ready.


  1. Fantastic recipe. Sorbet looks gorgeous, and I applaud you for getting the ice-cream maker out! - I have one, and it lives in the cupboard unused pretty much most of the time (although I have made some cracking Cardamom ice-cream with it). Think the problem is, my ice-cream maker is the cheap type you have to pre-chill for 12hrs or so....I want one of those Gaggia ones that work at the flick of a switch, but £240 and nowhere to store it.

  2. Thanks Dan! I've also only got the pre-chilled ice-cream machine - but it lives in the freezer full-time, so it's effectively always ready. I want that Gaggia one too but I agree - it's a lot for a piece of kit that only gets used once in a while...