Fresh plum frozen custard is a unique summer dessert with a rich, luxurious mouthfeel and a fresh fruit flavor. Better than ice cream? You decide!
If you’re going to make homemade ice cream (and everybody should!) I always recommend making flavors you can’t get anywhere else. Like this fresh plum frozen custard. I defy you to find anything like it anywhere. The flavor is like biting into a fresh plum. But creamier, and more delicate. It’s a lovely ice cream and well worth a little extra effort.
frozen custard vs ice cream
Frozen custard is a creamy frozen dessert similar to ice cream but with a higher egg yolk content, resulting in a smoother texture. It was invented in 1919 by brothers Archie and Elton Kohr in Coney Island, New York. They added egg yolks to their ice cream, creating a creamier product that became popular at amusement parks and fairs. Frozen custard stands spread across the Midwest and East Coast, and it remains a favorite frozen dessert in the US.
RELATED: Chocolate Frozen Custard Recipe
what you’ll need for plum frozen custard
- ripe plums
- whole milk
- egg yolks
- yolks, rather than whole eggs, are used in custard to achieve a smoother and creamier texture. When heated, the lecithin in egg yolks helps create a stable emulsion in the custard, resulting in a smooth and velvety consistency than ice cream made with just
- you can use honey, or an alternative sweetener of your choice. If you’d like to dispense with any sweetener at all, you can do that.
- corn syrup
- corn syrup helps prevent an icy texture in your frozen custard. If you don’t like corn syrup you can leave it out, or substitute honey for the sugar in the recipe. Honey has similar properties and will help keep the frozen custard silky.
- lemon juice
- taste your custard mixture to see if it needs an acidic pop.
- red or pink food coloring
- a few drops of food coloring is sometimes necessary depending on the color of your plums. The yellow from the egg yolks can dull the pretty pink of the plums. A few drops of food coloring brings it back to life.
how to make plum frozen custard step by step
step 1. Make plum puree
Wash, pit, and rough chop fresh plums. Don’t peel them, the peels will add lots of flavor and color to your frozen custard. Puree them and then strain the mixture. Cook down in a saucepan to reduce the water content. This step is important because water is the enemy of ice cream ~ it makes it icy when what you want is smooth and creamy. Less water = better ice cream.
step 2. Make frozen custard base and chill
Make a simple custard in a saucepan with egg yolks, cream, and milk. Fold in the plum puree. At this point you’ll taste to see if it needs a little lemon to give it a pop. And you’ll see if you need to add a couple of drops of red or pink food coloring to bring the color alive. Then chill thoroughly before proceeding.
step 3. Process in an ice cream machine
Process your cold mixture according to your machine’s instructions. When you start with a cold mixture the machine doesn’t take long ~ mine happens in about 15-20 minutes.
step 4. Chill again
Transfer the soft frozen custard to a pan and put in the freezer for a couple of hours to set up to a scoop-able consistency.
step 5. Taste!
Of course I always take a taste while my ice cream is churning, that’s the ‘cook’s’ privilege. But once your ice cream has set up you get to really appreciate this wonderful fresh fruit flavor! This ice cream can be enjoyed on its own, there’s no need for any extras. If you must, I’d suggest a simple shortbread cookie to go alongside.
why does homemade ice cream get so hard?
Homemade ice cream is best enjoyed a few hours after it comes out of the ice cream machine. This is when it’s at it’s perfect scoopable consistency. As it sits in your home freezer for many hours or overnight it will get quite hard. It’s one of the few drawbacks of making ice cream at home.
- commercial ice creams contain additives that help maintain their texture and keep them scoopable.
- ice cream from the store is frozen at a slightly higher temperature, which keeps it soft and scoopable. Home freezers are set to a lower temperature and wlll freeze ice cream harder.
- commercial ice creams sometimes infuse more air into their products, which creates a fluffier texture and keeps them scoopable longer.
to soften homemade ice cream
If your plum frozen custard does get too hard to scoop, leave it out on the counter for a few minutes before serving. Keep in mind you can also enjoy the frozen custard directly out of your ice cream machine for a soft serve experience.
Use honey instead of sugar to sweeten your ice cream
Use almond extract as a flavoring instead of vanilla.
Use other stone fruit like peaches or apricots.
Make ice cream bon bons with your frozen custard using dark chocolate for a sophisticated treat.
Fresh Plum Frozen Custard
- an ice cream machine
- blender or food processor
- medium saucepan
- Puree the plums in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.
- Strain the puree through a fine mesh strainer. Push everything through, you should only be left with fine bits of peel.
- Cook the puree in a medium saucepan for about 10-15 minutes until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. You should have about a cup of thick puree. Chill.
- To make the ice cream base whisk the yolks, sugar, and corn syrup together in a medium saucepan until blended.
- Over medium heat slowly add in the cream and milk, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking or stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. You do not want it to come to actually come to a boil, so watch carefully. I like to switch between my whisk and a silicone 'spoonula' to be able to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan so nothing scorches.
- When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon it's done.(For me this whole process took about 12 minutes.) Immediately pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl and stir in the vanilla. Add the plum puree and mix well. If needed you can add a few drops of red or pink food coloring. Stir well to combine. Now chill your mixture until cold. This can be done the day before if you like.
- Process the cold ice cream custard mixture in your ice cream machine according to its instructions. Turn the soft ice cream into an ice cream storage container or loaf pan and put in the freezer for 2 hours to firm up to a scoop-able consistency. Enjoy!