For those who don’t know, damsons are an ancient variety of plum; small with a beautiful dark blue skin, and very, very tart, almost astringent. For this reason they’re not ideal for eating raw, but they make the most delicious jams and jellies and pies etc.
Fortunately for me, damsons grow wild all around my village. I’ve already made a batch of damson cheese, which is like the Spanish membrillo, but a deep purple, and absolutely delicious with a sharp cheddar. With the remaining damsons in my haul, I cooked them down to a puree, and turned them into this ice cream. Summer may be slipping away, and the weather this week certainly feels autumnal, but I figured I could squeeze one last batch of ice cream in before retiring my ice cream machine for another year.
This is so quick and easy to make, egg-free so great for allergies, and would be very simple to make vegan by just swapping in plant-based milk and cream. You don’t even have to pit the damsons, which is a major bonus. It’s deliciously tart and creamy, and such a beautiful colour.
Damson ice cream
- 600g damsons
- 500ml whole milk
- 500ml double cream
- 300g granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- Put the damsons (whole) into a saucepan with a generous splash of water – enough to cover the base of the pan. Set it over a medium heat, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the damsons have all burst, and the flesh has mostly come away from the stones – it should be really saucy, and a deep purple. Just keep a close eye that it doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom, which it will do if your heat is up to high, or you don’t stir often enough.
- Set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl, and pass the damson puree through it. Use a spatula to really push the puree through, until you’re left with quite a dry looking mixture of just the stones and the skins in the sieve. Discard what’s in the sieve and set the puree aside to cool.
- In another saucepan combine the milk, sugar, and 250ml of the cream. Set it over a medium heat and bring it to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 250ml cream with the cornflour until smooth. Once the cream and milk mixture comes to the boil, pour in the cream and cornflour mixture, and whisk constantly over a medium heat until it returns to the boil. Turn down the heat, and – still whisking constantly – simmer it for 3-4 minutes until thickened.
- Remove it from the heat, pass it through a sieve, and allow it to cool.
- Once cooled, whisk in the damson puree, and churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
If you’re making this vegan, my preference would be oat milk and oat cream, for their creaminess.