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.

Bench notes:
- 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.


Roadtrek Girl said...

This looks and sounds incredible. What great flavor combinations.

Anonymous said...

Ginger with Ice Cream.... My God!!!!!!!!!!.. are you kidding... :P

Kathleen said...

*clutches heart, fans self rapidly*

I love ginger.

I love dark purple plums.

You are brilliant.


Anonymous said...

Amazing combination, I must agree, and stunning pics to go with it. Do you prefer the plums in caramel warm or cold? I can't decide, so I will try both:) Thanks for a great idea to try at the weekend!

Anonymous said...

I thought these were pickled beets with ice cream at first, lol, and considered that a breakthrough in desserts.

But hello, plums work for me! And plums with ginger ice cream, divine.

Barbara said...

Lovely recipe for ginger ice cream. I can envision it paired with so many different fruits too, throughout the year.
My mind is bubbling with ideas for Christmastime. Pumpkin or mince pie perhaps? Such fun.

Aneta said...

The colour and shine of these plums is heartstopping! What a beatiful photo.
Like anonymous above, I want to know whether you are eating the fruit warm, room temperature or cold.
The ginger ice-cream I'm going to make, and I was thinking of adding some chopped crystalised ginger to it. Unfortunately for me, plums are not in season here, yet, so these will have to wait.

Thanks for sharing.

nakedbeet said...

I love the combination here, mouthwatering pictures!

pastry studio said...

Howdy, everyone!

I served the plums at room temperature but I think it would work to serve them slightly warm as well.

Aneta, the taste of ginger is pretty strong so you might want to try a spoonful with a piece of crystalized ginger first before adding to the whole batch. I hope you enjoy.

Hungry Dog said...

This is truly a stunning dessert. Your ice cream looks perfect. I love ginger and plums together.

Claire said...

I adore your blog. I have been a fan for several months now. The pictures are amazing and the recipes are always inspiring. I have several on my "need to make" list. Thanks for sharing

pastry studio said...

Claire, thanks so much for your generosity and also to everyone else for your kind words. It's really so nice to hear from you and to know that you are enjoying the blog as much as I am!

saturday mike said...

I made this and ate it last night. It was really GREAT! I served it with a blueberry galette (supposed to be a pie, but didn't have pie plate!)
Anyway, I completely forgot to add the vanilla and lemon juice, but it was still great.
Wondering if the lemon juice changes the texture at all? Or is it more for flavor?
Lots of compliments! Can't wait to have the rest tonight.

pastry studio said...

Hi saturday mike! OMG, what a great idea to serve this ice cream with a blueberry galette!

The ice cream is fine without the vanilla and lemon juice, as you can attest. I tend to use citrus to brighten flavors and the vanilla to round out and soften the flavors a bit. But either way, it's all good. So glad you enjoyed it. It's rich without being heavy and that ginger flavor is phenomenal.