What's with all the posts featuring cold treats lately you ask? Well... it's sweltering in Portland right now and while I have taken the time to cook a few hot meals, all I really want to think about is frozen treats - and lots of them! The struggle is real.
While I hope you're not experiencing the same heat I am, I do know that there can never be too many recipes for frozen treats in the dog days of summer. never. never. never.
So today, I bring you a roasted plum ice cream with a bit of cardamom to keep things exciting. But first, a confession. I actually made my ice cream with a mixture of plums and pluots (the cross between a plum and an apricot), because well, we didn't have pluots in Michigan and the produce guy at New Seasons let me taste some of the vast selection of varieties they were offering and I just couldn't turn them down.
So, use plums, use pluots, heck - you could even use apricots! But if you want to maintain a beautiful color, I do recommend using at least a few plums in the mix. I used mostly yellow pluots, but the addition of a few strikingly red plums sure made a difference in the final color!
You'll notice that this recipe has a more complex custard process than I've shared in the past, whipping egg yolks to a silky creamy texture rather than just whisking hot milk into them. I learned this base from Gabrielle Hamilton's Prune in making her brown sugar ice cream with a balsamic reduction swirl a few months ago and I've been hooked ever since. It creates the most perfectly silky ice cream which has been gawked over by everyone I've served it to. I promise, you won't be disappointed!
Once the custard and fruit purees are made, you'll swirl the bright fruit into the creamy custard, and if you're anything like me smile as the two slowly swirl together into a consistent colorful pink! Then, after a bit of chilling, it's on to the churn! Don't forget to sample over and over again as it nears fully churned... the absolute best part of making ice cream in my mind!
6 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground vanilla, 1/2 a vanilla bean (scraped) or 2 tsp vanilla extract
10 cardamom pods, cracked
2 pounds fresh plums or pluots
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
First, we'll create our roasted plum puree. Halve your plums, removing the pits, and place them on a baking sheet with the skin side down. Roast at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, until they're tender and the juices are starting to spill out on to the pan. Place the plums into a blender, taking care to scrape up any juices on your baking sheet and add those to the blender (you don't want to lose that condensed flavor magic!). Add ground cardamom and puree until smooth. Place your puree in the fridge to cool.
Now, the custard! Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, a hand mixer, or a really super strong arm - whisk together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar until it doubles in size, lightens to a pale yellow, and gains a silky ribbony texture. This should take a few minutes.
Heat the cream, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cardamom pods, and ground or bean vanilla (wait until later in the process if you're using the extract) to a scald, which is before a simmer but nice and steamy.
With the mixer running, slowly pour the cream mixture into the yolks until fully combined to temper your eggs. Then pour the mixture back into the pot and heat over medium heat until your custard has formed (if you don't feel comfortable knowing when that is, use a thermometer and look for 180 degrees). While it's heating, use a silicone spatula to gently scrape the bottom of the pan and stir slowly.
When you've reached 180 degrees, strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl, and set that bowl into a larger one with a bit of ice and water in it to create a cooling water bath. Spin the inner bowl with one hand, while holding your spatula in the custard like a rudder to help the mixture cool evenly.
Once it has cooled significantly, stir in the plum puree (and the vanilla extract if you're using it) until fully combined and let chill for a few hours.
Churn based on your machine's instructions. I have a Cuisinart 2 Quart ice cream maker, and this recipe filled it to the brim. If your machine is smaller, you may want to churn this in two batches, or cut the recipe by a bit!