Roast Plum Ice-Cream

3/16/2019 03:08:00 PM

Roast plum ice-cream. Creamy, vibrantly coloured, and with the best pure plum flavour! There's a little bit of work involved in making this recipe, but the results are so worth it!

Roast-Plum Ice-Cream

When I came into that glut of Queen Garnet plums recently, I did a quick poll on my Insta Stories to get some suggestions on what to make with them. The most popular response, by a country mile, was plum ice-cream. I love ice-cream, both eating and making, and I couldn't wait to get into the kitchen and try my hand at making plum ice-cream! (Does anyone remember my "Ice-Cream Sunday" project?)

One tricky thing about home-made fruit ice-creams, though, is that they can set very hard and be difficult to scoop, due to the water content in the fruit. The addition of sugar and alcohol does help them set less firmly, which is why you'll often see fruit-based ice-cream or sorbet recipes including a splash of kirsch or other booze, and why it's usually not recommended to significantly reduce the amount of sugar stipulated in the recipe.

However, last year I learned a great technique for deeply flavoured yet still scoopable roasted cherry ice-cream, from the wonderful Stella Parks AKA Bravetart. (You can read about the cherry ice-cream in more detail in my gushing post about Bravetart - she's pretty damn awesome). I thought the technique might work well with other stonefruit, like plums, so I gave it a go! Spoiler alert: I was right.

So, here's how I did it. I started by halving the plums (leaving in the pits), and roasting them with sugar until softened and juicy. This intensifies the plum flavour, and cooks off a lot of the water. Leaving the pits while roasting in also adds extra plum flavour.

Queen Garnet plums, ready for roasting

That colour is incredible.

Roast plums

Once the roasted plums were cool enough to handle, I fished out all of the pits, added them to a saucepan with some cream, brought it to a simmer, and then turned off the heat and let the cream infuse. This gives the cream a mild almond flavour, and a hint of colour from the plum flesh clinging to the pits. (Although I suppose that hint of colour is moot, seeing as the pale cream is be added to the blood-red plums later!)

Cream for steeping

And to pre-empt any questions I might get, and because I found this topic interesting, inside the pits of stonefruit are tiny almond-shaped kernels, also known as noyaux, which contain a substance called amygdalin, which if ingested raw can turn into cyanide, and in large quantities can be toxic. However, in this recipe, the noyaux (and the amygdalin) are locked away inside the plum pits, and if any trace amounts were to slip out, it would be neutralised through the cooking process (roasting and simmering).

I don't mean to alarm - noyaux are a proper food product, used commercially, and are edible if processed correctly. For example, apricot kernels are used to make bitter almond extract, and they can be distilled into liquor (crème de noyaux). I've seen lots of recipes for home cooks online using noyaux to flavour jams or marzipan, but the noyaux do need to be cooked properly to break down the amygdalin. I'll be honest though, even cracking open a stonefruit pit to get at the noyaux seems like way too much effort, so for now I have no interest in any home cooking with noyaux!

Let's get back to the plums! Once de-stoned, I transferred the soft plum halves to a jug and gave them a few blasts with a stand mixer to break them down, then added them back to the pan with all the juices. At this stage, if the mixture had been quite watery I would have cooked it on the stove for a bit to reduce the liquid, but as you can see from the photo above the liquid had already reduced in the oven, so I just went straight to the next step, which was to press the plums and juices through a sieve.

Plum pulp, plum concentrate in the background

Pressing the plums through a sieve gives you a concentrated plum liquid. I would suggest being quite firm about this, you want to get as much concentrate as you can out of the plums! Here's what the concentrate looks like.

Plum concentrate

You don't need the plum pulp left in the sieve for the ice-cream, but don't throw it out! You can keep it in a clean jar in the fridge and eat it as you would jam - although it's not gummy and sweet and sticky like a jam; it's more like, well, a lightly-sweetened cooked plum purée, with the focus on the plums and not the sugar. It's really beautiful and I've been enjoying it on toast and crumpets!

Plum pulp on crumpets

Back to the ice-cream... I strained the plum pits out of the cream, and then whisked the cream and the plum concentrate together, with a little salt and lemon juice. It turned the most beautiful blushing pink colour. (Of course, the colour would depend on what types of plum you use - the Queen Garnet plums I used were super intense red). You'll also note that this ice-cream mixture is just plums, sugar, cream, salt and lemon juice  - no eggs or other ingredients that would dull the flavour or colour of the plums in the finished product.

Ice-Cream Base

I then chilled the mixture thoroughly - in an ice bath, and then the fridge overnight - and then churned it. So creamy! So pink!

Churned roast plum ice-cream

Once churned I transferred the mixture to a container and let it freeze properly. And that was it!

Roast Plum Ice-Cream

The technique worked so well with the plums! I found that this ice-cream does need a good five to ten minutes out of the freezer to soften before scooping, but once that's done, the ice-cream is creamy and light and has a wonderfully intense plum flavour. Enjoy!

Roast-Plum Ice-Cream

Roast Plum Ice-Cream
A recipe by Sarah Cooks

750 grams ripe plums, preferably Queen Garnet
75 grams sugar
395 grams thickened cream
Generous pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Wash the plums and cut into quarters (don't remove the pits).
Place the plums, pits, and sugar into a ovenproof dish (one that can go in the oven and on the stove) and stir to combine. Roast for 45 minutes or until softened and juicy. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Remove the pits and place in a small saucepan. Add the cream to the pits in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
Place the plum chunks in the bowl of a food processor or in a tall narrow container (you can leave any juices or puree in the dish). Break up the plum chunks using the food processor or a stand-mixer. You don't need to puree them, you just want to break up the larger pieces. Return the chopped-up plums to the dish with the juices and give it a stir. If the mixture is quite liquid and watery, heat it on the stove for a few minutes to allow any excess water to evaporate.
Pass the plums and any juices through a sieve into a mixing bowl, pressing with a flexible spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. You don't need the pulp for the ice-cream; transfer to a clean jar and add a pinch of salt, and you can eat it like a jam.
Strain the cream into the plum liquid, and discard the pits. Add the salt and lemon juice and whisk gently to combine.
Place some ice-cubes and water in a large mixing bowl or one compartment of the sink, and sit the bowl with the ice-cream base inside. Allow to cool for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Churn the mix in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions, until thickened, light and creamy.
Scrape the mixture into a one-litre container. Cover and freeze until firm, approximately 4 hours. Allow to soften at room temperature for 10 minutes before scooping if it is very firm.
Makes approx. 1 litre

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

Sarah received complimentary Queen Garnet plums from Nutrafruit but was not obligated to post or compensated in any way. All opinions are my own.

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  1. Agree on roasting the fruit. I roast blueberries for cheesecake and it really intensifies the colour :D

    1. Ooh roast blueberries sound delicious.

  2. how much does this make? I recently got a icecream maker that makes 1.5 litres and just want to know if I should double batch



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