The French call them Reine-Claude. The Turks call them Erik. The Brits call them Greengages….
However you want to address these little green plums, their taste is as lovely as their title. Tart and sour, they signify the seasonal transition from summery, sweet strawberries to sharper, autumnal fruit: loganberries, gooseberries, redcurrants, blackberries….
At just £1/lb on Bethnal Green Road, it was hard to resist buying a big bagful. Initially, I was just going to make a compote. But – as is often the way – I thought ‘why make compote, when you can make ice cream instead?’ And so they ended up in this Greengage Ripple.
This isn’t an overly-sweet ice cream mixture, and as mentioned, the greengages have a distinctive sharpness. So if you have a double-choc-chip-sweet-tooth, you might be sad. But if, like me, you don’t like overly-sweet flavours, then this a wonderfully clean, sharp and refreshing ice cream which will be right up your street…
For the compote
1kg greengage plums
2tablespoons of sugar
I discovered quite a cunning trick with the compote, which stopped me from losing any of the greengage flesh by wrenching the stone out of the still-slightly-hard plums in the bags.
I scored them in quarters with a knife, and popped the whole plums in a pan with the water, and put the lid on. After 20 minutes of cooking away on a low heat, they had broken down – and I could quite easily fish the stones out once the compote had cooled. Stir in the sugar (to taste) while the compote is still hot, so that it dissolves.
For the ice cream
568ml blue-top milk
284g double cream
1 vanilla pod, split and seeded
165g caster sugar
70g skimmed milk powder
4 gelatine sheets
1. Pour the milk, cream, glucose and vanilla into a pan. Heat until just simmering.
2. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the caster sugar and skimmed milk powder.
3. Meanwhile, bloom the gelatine sheets in a little cold water. When they’re all floppy and slippery, add to the milky mixture and whisk until they’ve dissolved.
4. Cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until the compote is made/cooled, and you’re ready to put the ice cream together.
5. Put 1/3 of the ice cream mixture in the bottom of a tub. Spoon over half the greengage compote. Pour over another 1/3 of the ice cream, and then spoon over the rest of the greengage, and finally top with the final 1/3 of ice cream. Stir through a spoon to create a loose marbling effect.
As an aside, the ice cream had a lovely smooth, ice creamy texture. But the greengage had more of a granita-type texture. Not at all unpleasant. But I wonder if I hadn’t put the 80ml water into the compote whether it would have made any difference. If you have any thoughts on the matter, please do let me know….