Celery Gelato with Rhubarb Compote

Summary: This celery ice cream is wonderfully refreshing, unique and bright. The rhubarb compote adds both color and a beautiful constrast flavor. This recipe makes a relatively small amount, so feel free to double or triple! 
Chosen as a Community Pick on Food52

Ingredients: 4 servings

  • 3 stalks celery with any leaves
  • one 2” long piece lemongrass, from the part of the stalk near the base; tough outer sheath removed; remainder pummeled lightly with a meat tenderizer or the like (you want it bruised)
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 ounces rhubarb, chopped (about 1 long, thin stalk)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • the 2/3 cup celery juice you made earlier
  • another ½ teaspoon celery seeds; these toasted and divided


Make the celery juice: Put celery, lemongrass and ½ teaspoon celery seeds in a small pot and add water JUST until the greens are covered. Boil 35-40 minutes until celery is soft. Remove lemongrass and using an immersion or regular blender, puree. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and set aside. You should have about two-thirds cup celery juice.

Make the rhubarb compote: While the celery is cooking, make the rhubarb compote. Mix the rhubarb, sugar, mint and lemon juice in a bowl and let sit 5-10 minutes. Then pour into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, cover and cook until rhubarb is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside to cool and then cover and chill in fridge.

Make the ice cream: Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2½- or 3-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking occasionally, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the celery juice and ¼ teaspoon of the toasted seeds. Transfer to a bowl and chill, uncovered, until cold, at least 1 hour. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ teaspoon toasted celery seeds over the rhubarb compote.

Freeze the liquid celery ice cream in an ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours.