For about five years, we lived in a little house with a plum tree in the front yard. Every other year there was a bounteous harvest of tiny, juicy plums near the end of August. We would pick as many plums as we could. I made jam, smoothies, cakes, and pies. One day I decided to roast a bunch of the plums and turn them into ice cream.
Truthfully, it was out of desperation – what was I going to do with all of those plums? My freezer was full. The tree still had a ton of fruit on it. Ice cream was about the only thing I hadn’t done with plums. A cardamom-infused custard seemed like a good match for the deep, yet bright and tart flavor of the roasted plums. Cardamom is a spice that people tend to either love or hate. I LOVE it. It always goes well with fruit, but the plums seem to have a real affinity for its unique flavor. I believe any variety of plum or plum hybrid can be used. Peaches and apricots, or even raspberries would also be fantastic if plums aren’t available, or if you wanted to mix things up a bit. And if you’re one who doesn’t like cardamom, by all means leave it out, or use another spice you do like instead. I think cinnamon or ginger would be really nice too.
The texture is really rich and creamy – a little more than most ice creams. The roasted plum puree gives it an extra rich mouthfeel. I think it’s due to the naturally occurring pectin in the plums. The roasted plums take on an almost jam-like quality. They are so good! You may not need all of the puree. Any leftovers are fantastic spooned on top of yogurt or as a pancake topping. Whatever you do, be sure to include the peels. The flesh of the fruit is very tart and that is nicely balanced by the sweeter peel. I’ve added brown sugar here because I think it helps deepen the roasting flavor and provides a little caramelization as well. It’s also much easier to puree the skins and makes a much thicker puree. The color ends up being more fabulous that way too. And while we’re on the subject of color, it can really range depending on the variety of plum used. Sometimes when I’ve made this, the color is a deep pink-purple, other times it’s lighter like in the photos. You can also add more or less puree or swirl any excess through the custard. It’s all about what you like in your ice cream.
I also recommend making Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Dimply Plum Cake and top it with a scoop of the Roasted Plum-Cardamom Ice Cream. It’s one of the tastiest desserts I’ve ever had!
Other incredible plum desserts you might like:
Plum and Almond Tart from Cannelle et Vanille
Summer Fruit Johnnycake Cobbler
Gluten-Free Peach, Plum, Raspberry Tart with Cardamom Cream and Almond Crust
Plum Upside Down Cake from Simply Recipes
Gluten-Free Plum Crisp from Cookie + Kate
Gingered Pear Plum and Chia Seed Jam from Kitchen Treaty
Plum and Almond Cream Tart from Eats Well With Others
Roasted Plum Semifreddo with Vanilla and Cardamom from Edible Mosaic
- For the Roasted Plum Puree:
- 24 small (or 12 large) plums
- ½ cup brown sugar
- For the Cardamom-infused Custard:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 whole cardamom pods
- 4 egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 cups very cold heavy cream
- For Roasted Plum Puree:
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
- Slice the plums in half and remove pits. If the pits are stuck, they can be more easily removed after roasting. Place the plums, cut side up, on the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of the plum halves with brown sugar. Roast for 10-15 minutes until the plums soften and release their juices; less time for smaller plums, and more time for larger plums. Transfer the plums and their juice to a bowl. Allow to cool completely.
- Place the plums, skins, and juices into a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Press the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl, if desired. Cover and chill the puree until ready to use.
- For Cardamom-infused Custard:
- Heat the whole milk in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan just until hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat and add the cardamom pods. Let steep for 30-60 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and pinch of salt until thick and light yellow.
- Remove the cardamom pods from the milk and gently reheat until hot, but not boiling. Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture in a thin, steady stream while whisking. Pour the mixture into the pan and cook gently over medium heat until the temperature registers 160-170° F on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat.
- Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Add the cold heavy cream. Let the custard cool slightly, then cover tightly, and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
- Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.Transfer the ice cream to a large, freezer-proof container and stir in the chilled roasted plum puree. Place in the freezer for several hours to harden before serving.
- Makes about 2 quarts.