Though the last few months have been a meteorological roller coaster here in Colorado, the temperatures that now soar up near or above 90 every day indicate that summer has finally arrived in full. The air conditioner in our apartment can hardly keep up with the summer sun, blazing through our western-facing windows on its long descent toward the mountains. Fortunately, our freezer faces no such challenge and can house within it a treasure trove of icy treats perfect for combating the summer heat. And what better way to welcome the arrival of the season than with a dessert that features one of its most celebrated fruits?
Ahhh, rhubarb. Such pretty stalks. Such poisonous leaves. (Seriously, don’t eat the leaves.) And such a short growing season that it’s best to indulge heavily when it finally appears. I can hardly prevent myself from making into my favorite Rhubarb Crisp, but in an effort to broaden my horizons, I dug into a very, very vintage cookbook to find some new ideas. To my delight, I discovered marlow, a dessert that is now so out of the common psyche that when I poked around to learn more, I couldn’t even find it on Wikipedia.
From what I’ve pieced together, marlow is a marshmallow-based dessert that can either be frozen to mimic ice cream or chilled to mimic mousse. It can feature a variety of flavors as the marshmallow, sugar, and heavy cream act as a clean canvas onto which you can paint rhubarb, cherries, chocolate, butterscotch, or anything else you want to eat for dessert. After the fruit (in this case) is cooked down with sugar, the marshmallows and whipped cream are mixed in to create a frothy, fluffy mixture ready for freezing.
If you fancy fruity ice cream but don’t want the hassle of making it yourself, I highly recommend trying this instead. The method is incredibly straightforward and creates a dessert so reminiscent of ice cream you’ll hardly realize it’s not. Plus look how trendy you’ll be if you’re on the front end of bringing back marlow!
Adapted from Meta Given’s Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking
1 pound rhubarb, diced (about 3 cups)
1 T water
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz mini marshmallows
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 T lemon juice
Place bread pan or other medium-sized dish in the freezer to chill. Make sure cream stays in the fridge until it is ready for whipping.
Place rhubarb and water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until juices begin to release, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking until rhubarb is tender but not broken down, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and marshmallows. Mix thoroughly until marshmallows have completely melted. Pour the mixture into another bowl and place in the fridge to chill until it is not warm to the touch.
Once the rhubarb mixture has cooled, combine heavy cream and lemon juice and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into the rhubarb mixture, then turn it into the chilled bread pan. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until it is the consistency of fluffy ice cream.