Sherbetty Plum Ice Cream

Plum Sherbet

"What is more mortifying than to feel you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?" Logan Pearsall Smith

Two of our plum trees are bursting with sweet ripeness, and as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, which is why you're about to be introduced to plum sherbet/ice cream. I've been a part of this Willamette Valley property for three summers now, and after letting the plums over-ripen and fall to the ground unused for two seasons, I vowed to finally make better use of this gift of nature.
Yellow-Fleshed Plums

One of the trees produces yellow-fleshed fruits which are simultaneously syrupy and acidic; the other tree gives a firm red-fleshed fruit which is quite floral flavored, but lacks any tang. By combining both, the yellow plums really perk up the mixture and lift the floral notes of the red plums to shining brilliance. Throw in a little cream and a vanilla bean, and how can this be wrong?
Flesh and Juice of Yellow and Red Plums

I adapted the formula from DayDreamer Desserts who posted a lovely white peach ice cream last week. A few changes and it made a beautiful pink sherbet. Technically, it's hard to know what to call this frozen yumminess: ice cream, due to its level of butterfat, or sherbet because of its fruit puree base. No matter what you call it, I'm certain that yummy will be one of the descriptors you use. Plummy yummy.
Fruit Puree, Ready for the Stovetop

Sherbetty Plum Ice Cream
Makes 2 quarts

Fruit Puree
2 cups plum flesh and juice (do this with your fingers over the bowl of your measuring cup)
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup sugar (my fruit was very sweet; use more sugar if your fruit is tart)
Scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean (reserve pod for custard base)
Pinch of salt

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until sugar is dissolved and fruit is very soft. Remove from heat. Strain through fine-meshed sieve over bowl, pressing lightly on solids to remove all juicy goodness. Cool. (I placed this in a sink filled with cold water, stirring occasionally, to speed cooling.)

Custard Base
Skins and pits of plums, above
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped into pan, and reserved pod from above
4 egg yolks
2 cups cream

Combine plum skins and pits, milk, sugar and vanilla bean in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture just reaches a boil. Strain.
Milk, Skins and Pits, Ready for the Stovetop

Whisk egg yolks in a 2 quart mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture, slowly at first to temper the eggs. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium heat just until small bubbles begin to appear and mixture has thickened slightly.

Whisk custard mixture into cooled fruit puree. Cool entire mixture, again utilizing a cold water/ice bath if necessary to promote quick cooling. otherwise, refrigerate until cold.

Stirring well, add cream until fully incorporated. Freeze according to your manufacturers directions. Store well-sealed in your freezer.

Enjoy with people you love who are also delighted to be enjoying the bounty of the land.
PS-- We've been doing a lot of living this summer, (going for the plums and shaking a few trees!!) and therefore my posts are a little less frequent, but as I've heard it said, I'm live-y live-y living so that I have great stuff to type-y type-y type about. We've made some great discoveries and have enjoyed some truly lovely life-moments which I am excited to share with you in the next couple of weeks.


  1. I could definitely go for a huge scoop of this!I love that the plums came straight from your own tree. that's awesome.

  2. This looks fantastic! Homegrown fruit tastes so much better than store bought doesn't it?

  3. Excellent summer recipe!! My daughter loves plums, we will have to whip up a batch for her.

  4. Whatever you'd like to call it, I'd eat it! Sounds great.

  5. Sound delicious and looks beautiful

  6. Gosh you are one lucky gal to have these plums at your fingertips! Great use of these plums, because really, who doesn't like ice cream or sherbert? ;)

  7. looks super yummy!!

  8. amazing! Home grown plums and homemade icecream :)

  9. I'll make plum wine out of those plums for you every year. I use the golden plums and the flavor is incredible!

    Great recipe.


  10. Plum trees!? You are so lucky! What a great recipe for enjoying that fresh picked deliciousness. Excellent!

  11. The recipe looks delicious and can only be made better by using fruit you've picked yourself! I have to say though; my favorite picture is the one with the two fruits side by side. The color contrast is wonderful. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  12. Mhm, this looks wonderful! I've never made my own ice-cream, something I really should remedy. The colours of this treat are so great - I kinda want to reach through the screen and eat it all up!

    Jax x

  13. What a gorgeous color for dessert.

  14. Plum sounds delicious in sherbet! I wish I had a fruit tree like yours in my backyard.

  15. I love plums, and what a pretty ice cream :)


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