Friday, July 16, 2010
Ginger Ice Cream with Plums in Caramel
Deep, dark purple plums have just waltzed into town. They are tart and juicy and ready for a spin on the dance floor. Since ginger is one of my favorite pairings with plums, I couldn’t resist making a simple ice cream to get the party started.
I coat the sliced plums in a caramel that takes on the tartness and color of the fruit. It’s just enough to add a little more interest to both the fruit and the ice cream. For all the true ginger fans out there, this ice cream will give you a gorgeous jolt of pure ginger nirvana. Together, these two components spark a mouthful of delicious sensation from start to finish.
I made the ice cream base in about 20 minutes or so and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to ripen and harmonize. I churned it the next day and let it firm up in the freezer for a few hours. The plums take about 10 – 15 minutes to prepare. Then voila! A super dessert that is both delectable and beautiful on our summer stage.
- The 3 oz of fresh ginger will give you a deep ginger flavor with a tiny bit of heat at the finish. The ice cream base is going to taste a bit stronger than the frozen ice cream, so don’t worry if it seems strong. It will mellow out a bit.
- I like ice cream that is rich in flavor but light on the palate, so I usually like to use more milk than cream (or equal quantities) and fewer yolks. That will vary somewhat depending on the central flavor of the ice cream but I try to keep the fat content at the margins for a real balance of flavor and mouth feel. If you prefer a richer, creamier version, just shift the ratios to your liking.
- Whenever I salt ice cream, I usually start with a few grains and then taste. I repeat this process until the flavor really pops. It’s all about individual preference and you’ll know it when you taste it because there is a brightness and clarity that changes the mixture, as though it suddenly comes into focus.
- For another plum and ginger treat, try Plum Ginger Upside Down Cake.
- This Ginger Ice Cream would go well with so many other things: peaches, figs, apples, pears, pineapple, bananas, pumpkin, coconut and yes, chocolate. So any of these in the form of fresh fruits (with or without caramel), pies, crisps, cakes, cookies or sauces would be terrific.
Ginger Ice Cream with Plums in Caramel
Makes about 6 servings
Ginger Ice Cream
Makes about 1 1/2 pints
3 oz fresh ginger
1 1/2 C whole milk
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
1/4 t vanilla
1/4 t lemon juice
good pinch of salt
Plums in Caramel
5 fresh ripe black plums (about 1 1/4 lbs)
1/2 C sugar
3 T water
1/2 t vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 oz (2 T) butter @ room temperature, cut into small pieces
3 T heavy cream @ room temperature
To make the ice cream, peel the ginger and remove any dried areas or blemishes. Cut the ginger into thin slices. Place the milk, cream, 1/4 C + 2 tablespoons of sugar and the sliced ginger into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Take off the heat, cover the saucepan and steep for one hour.
Strain out the ginger slices and heat again just until warm. Whisk the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar until the mixture has thickened and is pale yellow. Slowly add the warm cream, whisking constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan and medium heat. Cook, stirring and constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan until the custard thickens, coats the spatula and a finger traced through it leaves a clean track. Be very careful not to let the mixture heat too quickly or boil. Pour the custard through a strainer into a clean container. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and stir. Add a good pinch of salt to taste. Chill the ice cream base overnight.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to instructions. Pour into a clean airtight container, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface, cover and place in your freezer to firm up.
For the Plums in Caramel, cut the plums into slices and set aside.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons of water in a saucepan. Make a caramel by cooking on high heat without stirring until sugar has dissolved and begins to take on a medium amber color. Wash down the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in water if any sugar crystals start to form along the sides of the pan. Slowly tilt the pan back and forth or swirl very gently if the sugar is darkening unevenly in just one spot. Remove from heat as soon as it starts to reach a medium amber color. It will continue to darken for a minute or so after you take it off the heat. Then carefully add the butter, stirring to combine. Add the cream and mix thoroughly. Return to low heat to loosen any clumps. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla and a little pinch. Add the plum slices and swirl the pan occasionally for about 3 or 4 minutes. Let the mixture cool.
Plate the ice cream and serve with the plums and caramel.