Two Scoops, Please, For Plum Crumble Ice Cream

Summer's juicy plums star in this homemade ice cream.
Summer’s juicy plums star in this homemade ice cream.

I am unabashedly a recovering freezer-space hoarder.

It didn’t take exactly a 12-step program to wean me off stuffing my freezer to the gills with meats, breads, veggies, stocks, cookies, and whatever else I could cram in.

All it took was a lessening of the ravages of the pandemic, and well, the ability to go to the grocery store regularly again (albeit masked up) without feeling as if I might run out of food any dire moment.

As a result, this is the first time in nearly three years that I’ve made my own ice cream at home.

What a triumph!

Because few things are as joyous as homemade ice cream, and in truth, sneaking that first spoonful out of the top of the ice cream canister even as it still spins. Yup, I do that. Not gonna lie.

My homemade ice cream fast was broken in grand style by “Plum Crumble Ice Cream,” a recipe from the new “Great Scoops” (Figure 1), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Marlene Haley and Amelia Ryan of The Merry Dairy, a scoop shop and ice cream truck in Ottawa, Canada. Haley, who grew up on a farm, gave up teaching in 2012 to start the first food truck in that city to specialize in frozen custard.

Because it’s not possible to duplicate the silkiness of frozen custard without a commercial machine, this book concentrates instead on the range of ice creams she also makes.

Included are 80 fun recipes, some of them vegan, too, and many that include delicious mix-ins to stir in once your ice cream base finishes spinning in your machine.

The recipes span the seasons, from “Hibiscus & Passion Fruit” and “Nanaimo Bar” in spring, “Caramel Popcorn” and “Sugar-Plumped Fig & Earl Grey” in autumn, and “Gingerbread” and “Hot Cocoa” in winter.

“Plum Crumble Ice Cream,” of course, falls squarely in peak summer, when plums of all kinds are abundant at farmers market.

The plum compote.
The plum compote.
The oat crumble fresh out of the oven.
The oat crumble fresh out of the oven.

Chopped plums get simmered on the stovetop with honey and a little lemon juice and salt until the mixture nearly resembles jam. I made half of the recipe outlined below. But if you want plenty of leftover compote to spoon atop your bowl of ice cream, definitely make the entire batch.

Rolled oats with a smidge of flour, plus butter and brown sugar get baked in the oven until golden and toasty like granola. It’s so good that you might want to make a second batch to top your morning yogurt.

The ice cream base is a straightforward mix of heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, and egg yolks that get heated until thickened, then cooled in an ice bath, before going into the fridge to cool further overnight.

Process the base in your ice cream maker, adding in the crumble at the very end. Transfer the ice cream to your freezer container, swirling the compote through it with a knife, and freeze until ice cream if firm.

Fresh plums make a great garnish, too. And this dazzling bowl was a souvenir I picked up from Donovan's Pottery on a recent trip to Corvallis, OR.
Fresh plums make a great garnish, too. And this dazzling bowl was a souvenir I picked up from Donovan’s Pottery on a recent trip to Corvallis, OR.

This is ice cream that tastes ever so creamy and milky sweet. The crumbles give it a bit of crunch here and there. And the plum compote adds a summery, winey, sweet fruitiness with a bit of tang from the plum skins.

Given the name, this ice cream is supposed to taste like your favorite plum crumble dessert. It definitely does. But what I think it tastes like far more is cheesecake ice cream. Even though there’s no cream cheese, the splash of lemon juice plus the natural twang of the plums provides that hint of zingy tartness. The crumble is a dead stand-in for a cheesecake crust, too.

There’s a real freshness you can taste with homemade ice cream. So, with my newfound freezer freedom, you can bet I’ll be making this again before summer’s out.

You won't be able to stop eating this. I know I can't.
You won’t be able to stop eating this. I know I can’t.

Plum Crumble Ice Cream

(Makes about 1 quart)

For oat crumble:

1/2 cup rolled oats

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For plum crumble ice cream:

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

5 large egg yolks

1/2 cup Oat Crumble (see above)

1/2 cup Plum Compote (see recipe below)

To make the oat crumble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt on low speed until combined.

Drop butter into the oat mixture. Mix on medium-low speed for 4-5 minutes, until mixture forms pea-sized crumbles. Scatter crumble over prepared baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until crumble is golden brown. Set aside to cool completely, then use your fingers to break up crumble into small chunks.

Crumble can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Makes about 1 cup.

To make plum crumble ice cream: Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice. Burrow a smaller bowl, preferably metal as it will cool faster, into the ice. Add cold water to the larger bowl just until ice cubes are barely floating.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine cream, milk, sugar and salt. Stir over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until stream begins to rise from the surface. Remove from heat.

While the dairy is warming, whisk the egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl. To temper the yolks, slowly pour 1 cup of the heated cream mixture into the yolks while whisking vigorously. Continue adding heated cream and whisking until about half of the hot cream has been added. Transfer the yolk mixture to the pan.

Cook the mixture for 5 to 6 minutes over medium heat, stirring continuously with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula, or a digital thermometer reads 180 degrees. Immediately remove from heat and strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into the inner bowl of the prepared ice bath.

Cool the custard in the ice bath until room temperature, stirring occasionally. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Place storage container in the freezer to chill. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions until ice cream is thick and creamy and has increase in volume by about a third.

Once churned, add in oat crumble chunks and churn for a further 30 seconds until incorporated. Spoon a few scoops of just churned ice cream into your storage container. Dollop some plum compote on top. Using a butter knife, gently swirl the compote into the ice cream. Repeat by layering with ice cream and more compote. Any remaining compote can be warmed up and used as a sauce on top of a scoop. Garnish with leftover crumble.

Enjoy immediately or freeze 2 hours for a firmer scoop. Store ice cream in the coldest part of the freezer, which is the far back bottom of it. Homemade ice cream is best enjoyed within 2 weeks of being made.

Plum Compote

(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

5 ripe red plums, pitted and chopped into 1-inch chunks

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons pure local honey

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the vanilla and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low. simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often, until plums have broken down and compote looks like a loose jam. Stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool.

Compote can be stored in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

From “Great Scoops” by Marlene Haley and Amelia Ryan of The Merry Dairy

More Plum Recipes to Enjoy: Plum Cake

And: Chicken in Plums and Sweet Spice

And: Plum Streuselkuchen

And: Plum Tart

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