Toasted walnut ice cream, plum sauce

The second and richer of two desserts is an ice cream paired with something nice for textural contrast. Before it was matcha with a chocolate cookie crumble, this time it's all about walnut with an ice cream infused with walnut flavor and served with more shaved walnuts. On top is a sweet and tart plum sauce for a nice fruity flavor note to top things off.

This dish was unfortunately the only "disaster" of the night. The first picture is the actual toasted walnut ice cream from a previous practice run. The second picture is what was served after the ice cream base refused to freeze during prep in my hot apartment and was more of a walnut soup. A last minute grocery run was required to grab some ice cream from Humphrey Slocombe in order to have something to serve. I hate serving things I didn't make, but fortuantely Humphrey Slocombe makes absolutely stupendous ice cream and it all worked out.

The plum sauce used here is a fluid gel, and one that I had never practiced before. All in all not bad for a first and totally improvised attempt. It's seasoned with a fair amount of balsamic vinegar so that it can counterbalance the ice cream. Next time I'd probably pipe it from a squeeze bottle instead of a pastry bag, and take my time to get a better presentation, but melting was a top concern here.


Click for larger image


Makes about 1qt.

For the toasted walnut ice cream:

150g shelled walnuts

425g milk (100%)

425g cream (100%)

25g glucose syrup (3% milk+cream)

4.25g salt (0.5% milk+cream)

2.55g locust bean gum (0.3% milk+cream)

100g sugar (12% milk+cream)

3 large egg yolks (~50g)

For the plum sauce:

375g plums, pitted and sliced

250g water

60g sugar

20g balsamic vinegar

Agar agar

To serve:

Walnut halves, shaved on mandoline


  • Prepare the ice cream base (48h in advance): Toast the walnuts in a dry nonstick pan on medium heat for about 7m. Combine the milk, cream, glucose syrup, salt, and locust bean gum in a pot; whisk or blend to combine. Add the walnuts and heat to 180F to hydrate the gum. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Vacuum pack. Infuse 24h in the refrigerator.
  • Strain the infused cream; discard the solids. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and infused cream in a pot and heat to 160F. Strain and chill over an ice bath. Chill overnight. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Reserve in the freezer.
  • Prepare the plum sauce (up to 24h in advance): Combine the plums, water, and sugar in a pot; bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer covered for 25m. Strain, reserving the liquid. Blend with 60g of the liquid, the balsamic vinegar, and salt. Weigh and set at 100%; blend in 1.5% agar agar. Return to a pot and bring to a boil to hydrate the agar. Chill in an ice bath until set into a firm gel. Blend with just enough of the reserved liquid to form a smooth puree. Transfer to a piping bag and chill until needed.
  • To serve: Arrange some of the sliced walnuts into a frozen serving bowl. Add a scoop of the walnut ice cream. Top with the plum sauce.
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