Philippa tackles a plum problem

foodphilppaplum2PHILIPPA Davis, the travelling chef from Shaftesbury, has been swamped with plums on her recent engagement in the south of France where she faced an almost impossible task of making use of all the plums growing in the garden.

For her latest trip she was in Stirlingshire in Scotland where she found a freezer full of locally shot game, a beautiful walled garden containing lots of produce and a fantastic ice cream machine that was 32 years old and another garden with a rich harvest of plums.

As you can imagine the week’s menu did have numerous appearances of plums but luckily the family and guests were also quite happy simply eating out of a constantly over flowing bowl so she resisted the need to slip plums into every dish.

But inevitably, plums made their way into Philippa’s postcard recipe for the week …


Plum and Meringue Ice creamfoodphilippaplum1

I love putting crushed meringue through ice cream as its obviously delicious and encourages you to use up the egg whites straight away.

Serves 8


Pre-heat the oven to 110° C and line a flat tray with non-stick parchment.

5 egg whites
caster sugar (twice the volume of the egg whites)

In an electric mixer whisk all the whites on high speed with half the volume of sugar. Once it has become stiff start adding the rest of the sugar in 3 stages over 10 minutes. Once all the sugar has been added whisk for a further 5 minutes. Spoon out onto a tray so it is roughly 5 cm thick and bake for 2 – 2 and 1/2 hours or until the bottom is firm. Once cooked take out and leave to cool


For the plum swirl

400g plums cut in half and the stone taken out.
300g caster sugar
2 tbs vodka or gin
Put the plums and sugar in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat until the plums have yielded their juice and the mixture has reduced slightly then add the vodka


Ice cream custard base

5 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
450 ml double cream
150 ml whole milk
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (no more as it is too dominating) ground cinnamon
1 vanilla pod split in half

foodphilppaplum2 Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick (about 3 minutes with an electric whisk). Meanwhile in a saucepan bring the cream, milk, spices and vanilla so it just reaches boiling point, Immediately strain the hot cream into the egg yolk mix, whisking the whole time. This should be enough to thicken and cook the mixture but if it hasn’t return the mix to the saucepan and slowly continue to cook stirring the whole time with a spatula. Once it is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula take it off the heat and poor into a bowl to cool.

Churn the ice cream until half frozen then scoop out into a bowl. Spoon in the plum mix and crumble in a few handfuls of meringue (you wont need to use it all). Give it one stir then transfer into a freezer proof container and chill until frozen.


Notes and tips

When cooking out the custard base of ice cream you must stir constantly otherwise you will get scrambled eggs.

Adding sugar and alcohol to ice creams, particularly fruit based ones will help it from not freezing rock solid.

If your ice cream machine is not very powerful you may want to quickly blitz the churned ice cream in a food processor to get rid of any ice crystals that have formed.

Follow Philippa’s travels and discover more of her postcard recipes at