Damson ice cream

Damson ice cream

By
From
Gather
Serves
12
Photographer
Andrew Montgomery

There is a damson tree in the square of the nearby village. The fruit is bruise blue-and-black with silver-dusted skin. By the end of the season much of the fruit is blemished, split or scarred, but that makes it no less ripe and sweet. It’s these less-perfect damsons that I use to make ice cream – something I’ve done at River Cottage every year. The result is a soft shade of purple with a sugar-muffled sharpness – a great balance. I’ll often serve one or two whole, ripe damsons alongside the ice cream.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g ripe damsons, plus extra for serving
6 egg yolks
200g golden caster sugar
300ml double cream
200ml whole milk

Method

  1. Place the whole damsons in a large heavy-based pan with 3 tablespoons of water over a medium heat. Give the fruit a good shake and place a lid on the pan. Bring up to a simmer, then reduce the heat to cook gently for 10–12 minutes until the damsons have broken down completely. Place a fine sieve over a bowl and pass the softened damsons through the sieve, encouraging them through with the back of a wooden spoon, if necessary, to create a purée. Set aside while you make the custard.
  2. To make the custard, place the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar. Put the cream and milk in a small pan over a medium heat. When the cream comes up to a simmer pour it into the bowl over the yolks, whisking all the time. Pour the egg and cream mixture into a clean medium pan over a low heat and cook gently, whisking continuously without letting the custard boil, until it begins to thicken. Pass the hot custard through a sieve into the bowl of damson purée and whisk well to combine, then allow to cool.
  3. Pour the damson–custard mixture into an ice-cream machine and churn until soft set. Transfer the ice-cream to a suitable container, cover, and place in the freezer for at least 3–4 hours to firm up.
  4. Remove the ice-cream from the freezer 15–20 minutes before you intend to serve it. I like it served on its own, or with just one or two fresh, ripe damsons alongside.
Tags:
River Cottage
seasonal
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