My official Recipe of the Month for July is something a little out of the ordinary. Instead of my usual savory dishes, it's a dessert. But, true to the original purpose of the Fruit/Veggie of the Month challenge, which was to encourage me to eat more fruits and vegetables, it's a fruit-centered one: a vegan plum ice cream.
As I recounted last week, Brian and I have been dealing with a ridiculous volume of plums this year, far more than we've ever had before. So, in addition to eating them fresh with every day's lunch, we've been putting them into everything we could think of. After adding cut-up plums to salads and baking a plum crisp, Brian got the notion to try putting some in an ice cream. (This would also have the advantage of getting the barrel of the ice cream maker out of the freezer, making more space for further plum bounty.)
Of course, since we have gone mostly dairy-free at this point, it would have to be a vegan version of ice cream. Rather than look up a recipe online, which he deemed "too much pressure," he decided to play it by ear, combining ingredients in what seemed like appropriate quantities and seeing what happened.He started by cutting up plums into large chunks until he had about a cup of fruit. Then he mashed that lightly with about a third of a cup of sugar and added a teaspoon of lime juice to add a little more tartness. He let that sit in the fridge until it got juicy, then combined it with a can of coconut milk that he had chilled as thoroughly as he could manage — moving it back and forth between the fridge and the freezer and shaking it each time to keep the contents from separating. Then he just poured the resulting mixture into the chilled barrel, set up the ice cream maker, and let it run until the contents started to look more or less solidified.homemade two-ingredient Dole Whip from coconut milk and pineapple chunks, the mixture pretty much froze into a solid block of ice. You couldn't really get a spoon into it; the best you could do was scrape some off the surface, and what you got was an icy, grainy mixture that wasn't like ice cream at all.
So this particular version of plum ice cream can't really be called a success. However, the concept isn't necessarily a no-go. Since today happens to be our anniversary, and since one of the rare exceptions to our mostly dairy-free diet is a yearly purchase of cream for our anniversary cake, we happen to have half a pint of cream left over in the fridge that we'll need to use up before it goes bad. So Brian is thinking of trying a small batch of plum ice cream with the real cream, just as a proof of concept.
Of course, we came up with this idea at a point when we've actually managed to use up or give away nearly all of our plums. Of the 50 or so pounds we picked off the Opal tree, we now have only half a dozen left in the fridge. There are plenty more on the Mount Royal and Golden Gage trees, but they're are still at least a week away from being ready to harvest, and the cream isn't likely to last that long.
Fortunately, as part of our plum-preserving efforts, Brian did freeze one small batch of the Opal plums. He figures he can use about half a cup of those for his next attempt at plum ice cream — probably cooking them first this time to see if that improves the texture. And if that works okay, maybe we can take another crack at it using coconut milk (which is what most vegan ice cream recipes seem to call for) rather than coconut cream. Perhaps this lighter liquid will do a better job of holding air than the denser coconut cream.
If this works, you may be seeing a revised version of vegan plum ice cream in a future post. If it doesn't, oh well — as we're learning, there are lots of other things to do with plums.