Of course summer inevitably has to end at some point, but somehow it feels harder each year. We went from “let’s do a little picnic for lunch break” to “where is my scarf?” in under a week. Suddenly the peaches don’t taste as good anymore and pears, apples and pumpkins are beginning to crowd the shelves.
Being an optimist (with a tiny tear in my eye) I always try to make the best of it and embrace the new season wholeheartedly, nevertheless my thoughts occasionally wander back to the enchanted country home we spent a wonderful time with friends in Provence, or the last real summer days that we just spent in Vienna and at Lake Neusiedel.
Yet, on the culinary side, I don’t allow the transition to be so harsh. I haven’t stopped preserving jams (my last jars were filled with elderberries and plums) and our ice cream machine still hasn’t left her seasonal prime spot on the countertop. My latest favorite has an egg-less heavy cream base paired with the most amazing roasted cinnamon plums we refer to as Zwetschgen, but online sources don’t seem to agree on the proper translation, some call them Italian prune plum, some Damson plum (besides, all blue plum varieties should work just fine for this recipe, you only might have to increase the sugar content, if they are particularly sour).
Cinnamon & plums always has been one of my very favorite flavor combinations, they work especially great together during colder months. Comfort foods like rice or semolina pudding come to mind, or my beloved Zwetschgenknödel. Normally I’d used Ceylon cinnamon powder to sprinkle it over these dishes or add a whole stick to the pot, but not so anymore!
I decline most PR offers for free products, simply because I can’t see myself using the product. Very rarely one of those emails catches my interest: It happened some months ago, when an email from Cinnamon Hill made me curious. Their cinnamon grater promised a completely new flavor experience – being the cinnamon lover that I am, I naturally was intrigued! Since I don’t usually plug free products on delicious:days I replied with my standard disclaimer, something along the lines of “I’d love to try it, but don’t promise blog coverage, yet am happy to provide personal feedback”. They agreed. A couple of days later the grater and super fragrant cinnamon sticks arrived. To cut to the chase, the cinnamon consumption in our kitchen went right through the roof ever since! It’s such a sensual pleasure to use freshly grated cinnamon, the sleek wooden grater works like a charm – so I just can’t help sharing this little tool with you. If you are an avid baker and/or spice aficionado, this might be something for you.
Disclaimer: I received this product for free, without strings attached. The grater has proven to be the handiest addition to my kitchen in 2013 so far, which is why I decided to share it with you.
Start by roasting the plums: Preheat the oven to 200°C (~390°F). Wash and pad dry the fruit, then half, remove stone and cut smaller plums into quarters, larger ones into eights. Evenly distribute in a roasting pan, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and a generous portion of cinnamon. Roast in the oven on middle level for 20 to 30 minutes or until the plums are soft and somewhat caramelized. Remove pan from the oven, ladle fruit and syrup into a beaker and puree finely using a handheld blender (yields about 225-250 g fruit puree). Set aside.
Now prepare the ice cream base: Heat the heavy cream, the sugar and the salt (and optional: the scraped out seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean) in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the stove, then stir in the fruit puree until well combined. Chill in the fridge (well covered!) for at least 2 hours.
Pour the chilled ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Devour immediately or transfer to a plastic container and freeze for later. Serve alongside a fruit crumble or with chocolate sprinkles and whipped cream.
Roasted cinnamon plum ice cream
Recipe Source: own creation
Prep/cooking time: 30-40 min., plus chilling and freezing
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
~350 g blue plums (Italian Prune, Damson, ...)
~100 g sugar
(freshly grated) Ceylon cinnamon powder
350 ml heavy cream
optional: 1/2 vanilla bean
a pinch of fine sea salt