Sunday, June 26, 2016

Strawberry Rhubarb Shake

     Gourmet Milkshakes!
     Old time milkshakes seemed came in two flavors.  Chocolate or vanilla.  Malted milk was an option and so was whipped cream.  A maraschino cherry garnish was as fancy as old time milkshakes used to get.  
     Later, many more ice cream flavors were offered.  Strawberry milkshakes became a standard item. Fancy sprinkles, fruits, nuts, cookies, syrups and many other items were used.  Shakes with fancy toppings added charm to the milkshake experience.
     During the last few decades, shakes that have a unique design theme have been popular at trendy restaurants.  Pastry chefs and bartenders became involved with creating new exciting milkshake themes.  Giving a fancy milkshake a fun name is part of the equation too.  In effect, the modern gourmet milkshake experience is entertainment!   
     Now there are a few paths to choose from, when creating a modern shake.  The first choice is whether to add liquor to the recipe.  If liquor is added, then the milkshake's appeal is limited to adults and those whole drink alcohol.  Items like Marshmallow Vodka, Hot Cinnamon Liquor, Honey Whiskey, Cupcake Vodka and many other sweet liquors have been incorporated into the adult milkshake making repertoire.  Adult spiked milkshakes tend to have fancy presentations and the names are often shockingly fun.  
     Non alcoholic shakes can be just as fun as the adult liquor spiked shakes.  Cooks can make any gastrique or syrup flavor that they wish.  Concentrated syrup flavors are the best for adding sharp pronounced layers of flavor.  Coarse textures like pop rocks, chocolate, candy, cookies, nuts and fruit do have one restriction if they are part of the shake and not the topping.  The pieces have to be small enough to pass through a drinking straw.  

     Drinking straws used to be one size and they were made out of paper.  Modern plastic straws are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Reusable eco friendly plastic, metallic or glass straws are good options.  Many modern restaurants and gourmet malt shops use fancy eco-friendly straws that have the restaurant logo imbedded on the straw.  These signature straws are meant to be taken home by the customer as a keepsake that can be washed and reused.

     The flavor combination of the basic ingredients is the key to making a great milkshake.  If it sounds like it would be tasty, give it a try!  Seasonal items are valued by chefs.  Rhubarb and strawberries are in season every spring.  Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is a traditional favorite and it is often served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is an interesting flavor choice for a fancy milkshake.  
     Today's milkshake recipe is meant to be an introduction to the world of fancy modern milkshakes.  This recipe was designed to be easy and fun with no complicated cooking techniques.  As I post more fancy modern milkshake creations in the future, the presentations and cooking techniques will become more challenging.  
    Since today's recipe is meant to inspire creative milkshake making, easy to use pre-made store bought products are in the list of ingredients.  There are good pre-made ice cream topping products on the market that make creating a fancy shake an easy task.  A big tall fancy glass is required for modern milkshakes.  Fresh made whipped cream is still the best option.  Cake sprinkles of all kinds can be found in any grocery store.  
     Reading the label of store bought ice creams is a must.  Try to avoid ice creams that contain gums, artificial colors, preservatives and corn syrup.  Natural ice creams are the best.  The better the ice cream quality is, the better the shake will be.

     Rhubarb Preparation:
     For those who are not familiar with rhubarb, only the red stalks are edible.  The leaves are toxic!    
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of very thin sliced rhubarb stalk in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add just enough water to cover the ingredients.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer till the rhubarb becomes very tender and the liquid reduces to a thin syrup consistency.
     Step 3:  Set the rhubarb mixture aside and let it cool to room temperature.
     Place the rhubarb mixture in a container and chill to 41ºF in a refrigerator.

     Milkshake Glass Preparation:
     Store bought pre-made strawberry syrup ice cream topping was used to garnish the glass.  Today's recipe is meant to be easy and convenient!
     Step 1:  Select a tall nice looking 20 ounce to 24 ounce capacity glass.  (An extra large lager glass is nice!)
     Chill the glass in a freezer till it is ice cold.
     Step 2:  Pour a thin stream of strawberry syrup ice cream topping on the inside of the frozen glass and try to make a few interesting designs.
     Step 3:  Immediately return the glass to the freezer, so the strawberry syrup freezes in place.
     Keep the syrup painted glass frozen till the milkshake is made.

     Whipped Cream:
     Canned whipped cream and pre-made whipped topping are second rate.  Fresh whipped cream is best!
     Step 1:  Place 2/3 cup of cream in a chilled mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 3 drops of vanilla extract.
     Briskly whisk till stiff peaks appear.  
     Step 2:  Chill the whipped cream to 41ºF in a refrigerator.
     Load the whipped cream into a small star tipped pastry bag.
     Chill the whipped cream till it is needed.

     Strawberry Rhubarb Shake:
     When fruit or syrup is added to a shake, the amount of milk needed becomes less.  The total amount of liquid added to a shake is always a judgement call.  
     It is best to add less milk than what is needed at first.  If the shake is way too thick, a little bit more milk can be added as the shake is blending.  The goal is to create a shake that is thick enough to support the weight of a garnish.  One strawberry placed on top of the shake should not sink into the shake, if the shake has the right consistency.
     A blender with a strong motor or an ice cream shake blender is best.  Cheap blenders with weak motors will burn out after making a few thick milkshakes!  
     Serving the "extra on the side" is a milkshake tradition!  Always serve any extra milkshake that does not fit into the glass on the side. 
     Step 1:  Place the reserved chilled rhubarb en syrup in a blender.
     Puree the rhubarb.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of chilled sliced ripe strawberries.
     Add 2 tablespoons of strawberry syrup.
     Add 1 small pinch of cinnamon.
     Puree the mixture.
     Step 3:  Add 2 1/2 cups of French Vanilla Ice Cream.
     Add 1/3 cup of chilled milk.
     Blend till the milk shake is smooth and thick.  
     Step 4:  Pour the Strawberry Rhubarb Shake into the frozen strawberry syrup garnished milkshake glass.
     Garnish the milk shake with:
     - whipped cream
     - 1 fanned ripe strawberry
     - thin strawberry syrup
     - small pearl candy cake sprinkles 

     Viola!  An easy to make modern fancy milkshake!  

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