Damson ice cream

Any richly flavoured plum will work here, but chef Nigel Slater insists that damsons produce the most gorgeous of ice creams.


Serves 4

500g damsons
4 tablespoons water
4 egg yolks
200g caster sugar
250ml double cream
250ml natural yoghurt


Achieving the perfect results

  1. Rinse the damsons, then bring them to the boil with the water in a stainless steel pan. It won’t seem like enough water but trust me. Turn down the heat so they simmer gently for 10 minutes until their skins have burst and you have a good quantity of deep purple juice.
  2. Push the fruit through a fine sieve with a wooden spoon, pushing and stirring until you have nothing left but the stones. Leave the resulting purée, including that rescued from the underside of the sieve, to cool.
  3. Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Warm the cream in a medium-sized saucepan, then pour it over the eggs and sugar, stirring. Rinse the pan, then return the resulting custard to it, putting it over a gentle heat and stirring gently until you have custard the thickness of double cream. It is essential that the mixture doesn’t get too hot. Some people use a diffuser mat over the flame to prevent this, but I prefer to stir continuously with a wooden spoon, right into the corners of the pan, until it is just thick enough, then I immediately transfer it into a cool bowl (the one I beat the egg and sugar in) set in a sink of shallow cold water. The sudden cooling helps to stop the custard curdling, as does a jolly good whisking. Let the custard cool. Mix the damson purée, the custard and the yoghurt. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine and churn until almost frozen. Remove to a plastic freezer box and freeze until needed.
  4. If you don’t have an ice cream machine you can still make the ice cream. Just pour the mixture into a freezer box and place in the freezer, removing it every hour and giving it a good beating with a small whisk, bringing the frozen outer edges into the middle. The result will be good, but less light and creamy as that made in a machine. It will need a good four hours or so to freeze.

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