Plum parfait

Every August, great clusters of fruit weighed down the branches of the plum trees in our orchard, and this was when I made my parfait ice cream, a great favourite. As it is so difficult to source Dittisham plums outside Devon, I have used Victorias here and added more lemon juice to intensify their flavour; if you can add a few damsons, it will be even better.

Ingredients

For the plums

  • 450 g Victoria plums (not too ripe)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 175 g caster sugar

For the ice cream

  • 2 large free-range egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 200 g golden caster sugar
  • 6 tablespoons strained lemon juice
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons plum or other fruit liqueur (optional)

Method

Halve and stone the plums and put them into a saucepan with the lemon juice and caster sugar. Cover and place over a fairly low heat, stirring often until the sugar has dissolved, then continue to cook gently until mushy.

Turn into a food processor, whiz to a rough purée and leave until cold.

For the ice cream, whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl with the salt, using an electric whisk, until they begin to stand in soft peaks. Put the caster sugar into a saucepan with the lemon juice and stir over a low heat until dissolved. Then increase the heat and boil fiercely, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Immediately pour the syrup onto the egg whites in a thin stream, whisking all the time and continue to whisk until the mixture is thick and looks like uncooked meringue.

In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until thick but not stiff. Then, using a metal spoon, gently but thoroughly fold it into the egg white mixture, followed by the plum purée, and fruit liqueur if using. Finally, turn into a serving bowl and freeze for at least 5 hours before eating.

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