AJ – When I prepared this float for the photograph Beth and Bette were standing close by. We had already shot the glass with a stand-in. As the ice cream was carefully dropped into the drink, the glass became frosty and the mineral water fizzed up. A beautiful foam surrounded the ice cream. It looked exactly as I had planned. In less than a minute it was on set and our refreshing beverage was shot.
This is a perfect casual and easy dessert to serve after an outdoor barbecue. I love how the ice cream balances the tartness of the rhubarb. If you prefer, it can also be made with strawberry sorbet in place of the ice cream.
One pound rhubarb, trimmed and sliced
1½ cups granulated sugar
1½ cups water
Sparkling mineral water
Vanilla ice cream
To make rhubarb syrup combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a large saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Let cool. Strain and discard the solids. Chill the syrup until ready to use. It can be stored in the refrigerator for one week or up to a month in the freezer.
To make the Rhubarb Float pour some of the syrup into a tall glass. Add sparkling mineral water to fill the glass by two thirds. Add one or two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy immediately.
A.J. – I must admit, I had not eaten or cooked rhubarb until I was well into my adult years. After stumbling upon a simple recipe for rhubarb syrup, I thought it would be a good place to start. I could barely wait for the blush-tinted syrup to cool before I poured it over a glass of cracked ice and stirred in sparkling mineral water. But the puckery tartness of the rhubarb was unpleasing to me. I then went on to do a little research and soon discovered that the harshness of the rhubarb is tamed when in the company of other ingredients. The ubiquitous strawberry rhubarb marriage is one we are most familiar with. I have also paired rhubarb with apples and am most fond of rhubarb with raspberries. Over the years I’ve often thought about that rhubarb syrup. I planned to one day revisit and transform the recipe. Please join us on our next post as I turn that simple rhubarb syrup into pure ambrosia.
Bette – We try to visit my husband’s family every few years in Sicily. On one trip, my husband, kids and I were visiting Steve’s many many cousins in a small village called Baucina, 17 miles southeast of Palermo. I wandered into a teeny, messy “antique” store where I saw an oval ironstone looking platter poking out from under a pile of fabrics and books. Everyone thought I was crazy when I insisted on buying a suitcase to carry it home. But I knew even then that I had found a gem. The rhubarb was grown for this platter.
Beth – Ice cream is always hard to photograph. You have to work quickly to capture it at just the right moment. In this shot, we wanted it to look messy and real. So we left it out and waited – then shot, then added some drops of melted cream, waited and shot some more. My approach is to shoot an image multiple times capturing the ice cream in various stages. I’ll let it go far past what I think might work looking for a happy accident – a shot I might love but never think of. Once done, we review all the images and choose our favorite.