Constant rain and gale force wind kept us in doors for the weekend. And after reading and watching the news, and seeing photos of the resulting flooding and storm damage, I’m glad we made that decision.
It’s dreary and miserable weather, the type that makes most people feel as dark and broody as the weather outside. But I love it. I love the smell of fresh rain. I love being snug and warm inside as it buckets down outside.
It’s the type of weather that makes me want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea and listen to the rain beating down. Even better is being curled up in bed and listening to the rain. It’s also the type of weather that has me in the kitchen wanting to cook warm and comforting dishes. However, even with all the rain, it was still quite warm and humid, and despite my craving for a bowl of soup and some crusty bread rolls to go with it, I thought better of it.
Instead, I settled on the idea of ice cream. With a bowl of plums, bounty from my latest trip to the greengrocer, staring back at me on the kitchen bench, I decided to make plum ice cream. But I didn’t just want plain plum ice cream, however, delightful that might be, so as I sat with my cup of tea, pouring over my copy of The Flavour Bible, for ideas, I came upon the idea of pairing plums with the green Earl Grey tea that I happened to be sipping.
In another departure from my regular custard based ice creams I used another egg free base for this Plum and Earl Grey Ice Cream. The base for this recipe comes from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. I’ve made a couple of batches of vanilla and mint ice cream using Jeni’s recipes, and I love the simplicity of egg free ice cream. I also love that it doesn’t leave me with a large batch of egg whites that have to be used. While the end result is not quite as luscious as a custard based ice cream, it’s still delicious.
The base is infused with green Earl Grey tea, while the plums were poached in a syrup infused with vanilla bean and cardamon. You’ll end up with more of the plum sauce than you’ll need for the ice cream, but the pureed plums are wonderful poured over the top of the ice cream, or dolloped on top of scones. They would also be equally wonderful on pancakes or in a batch of muffins.
Plum and Earl Grey Ice Cream
- 5 plums
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/3 cup of caster sugar
- 2 tsp of cardamon pods
- 1/2 a vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
- 475 ml of full fat milk 2 cups
- 1 tbs of cornflour 1tbs plus 1 tsp, see note
- 1 1/2 ounces of cream cheese softened, 3 tbs
- 300 ml double cream 1 1/4 cups
- 150 g of sugar 2/3 cup
- 2 tbs of glucose syrup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup of green Earl Grey tea leaves
- Begin by poaching the plums. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer and add the cardamon pods, vanilla seeds and plums and poach for 10 minutes, or until the plums are softened and the skin starts peeling off. Remove the plums and leave the syrup to reduce for 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl add the 2 tbs of the milk with the cornflour (cornstarch) and mix to combine. In a separate large bowl whisk the cream cheese until smooth.
- In a medium saucepan combine the milk, sugar, cream and glucose syrup (light corn starch) and bring to a rolling boil over a medium high heat. Boil for 4 minutes before removing from the heat. Add the green Earl Grey tea and leave to steep for 10 minutes.
- Fill the sink with cold water and ice.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and press the tea leaves to extract all the liquid. Return the mixture to the saucepan and gradually whisk in the cornflour mixture. Return the mixture to a medium high heat and bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and gradually pour the mixture into the cream cheese, whisking until smooth. Place the mixture into the prepared sink and leave to 30 minutes to cool.
- Meanwhile, remove the stones from the plums (and the skins too if you prefer) and place the plums into a food processor and puree until smooth. Add 1 tbs of the poaching liquid, and puree to combine.
- Churn the ice cream according to your manufacturers instructions, and when the ice cream is almost ready add 2 tbs of the plum puree to the machine and churn for a minute or two. Remove the mixture from the machine and layer 1/3 of the mixture into a freezer-safe container and drizzle with 1 tbs of the plum mixture. Repeat with remaining ice cream. Place a sheet of baking paper over the top of the ice cream and seal and freeze for 4 hours or until firm.
Imperial measurements provided in brackets. Cornflour is the Australian equivalent of cornstarch. Need to convert something else? Check my conversion chart