2023! Personally, I think we’ve gone too far and should try a do-over of one of the previous years but since — as we’ve well and truly established — I have no influence over the passage of time, here we are and here I am, hastily squeaking a blog post in while we’re barely still in that phase of January where you can reasonably keep saying “happy new year”; accompanied by a handful of blurry photos of ice cream from my phone. December was a tumultuous month for reasons out of my control, like being handed a punctured bucket of sand and being told every grain of sand you lose is going to cost you twenty dollars and you also are expected to tap dance while picking up the falling grains; and unsurprisingly none of that has magically gone away just because December finally ended, hence my unsteady launch into a new year of food blogging, but — as always! — while very little else can be counted on, this recipe for Chocolate, Rum, and Prune Truffle Ice Cream is, at least, so delicious.
While most of my ice cream recipes lean towards the dense rather than the fluffy, texture-wise, this one has a particular cellular compression, like a very solid ganache, hence adding “truffle” to the title to warn you of its approaching sturdiness, while also providing a distracting flourish from the presence of the prunes, which, to be fair, aren’t everyone’s favourite sweetmeat. Me, I love a prune, with their plummy, almost tannin-y sweetness and depth, and here they bring a potent, rum-drenched fruitiness to the ice cream, well-matched by the bitter dark chocolate and expansive sweet creaminess of the coconut.
The result tastes rather like Christmas cake mixed with brownie batter, immensely rich and grown-up, with a husky rummy finish that avoids overwhelming. It doesn’t look as elegant as it tastes, so if aesthetics are your watchword, you could consider having diminutive serving glasses as I’ve done in these photos, or freezing it in a lined loaf tin to cut into slices, or serving it with icing sugar-dusted raspberries for a pop of colour, or giving up entirely. On serving-based aesthetics, that is, not 2023 as a whole, because despite my recent lived experience I still have high hopes for the new year to nudge new good things into existence. I mean, we have this ice cream! That is a start.
Chocolate, Rum, and Prune Truffle Ice Cream
Dense, intense, rich, with plummy rum-soaked pureed fruit and dark chocolate. As always, no ice cream maker is necessary but you do need to allow several hours for the prunes to soak (and, of course, for the ice cream itself to freeze). Recipe by myself.
- 1 and 1/2 cups prunes
- 3 tablespoons dark rum (see notes)
- 200ml rooibos tea (that is, one cup minus about three tablespoons)
- 250g dark chocolate
- 1 x 320g tin condensed coconut milk (or condensed oat milk)
- 1 x 400ml tin full-fat coconut cream
- a pinch of salt
1: Soak the prunes in the rum and tea for about six hours, or overnight, in a sealed container (or — I just poured the rum and cooled tea directly onto the prunes in their snaplock bag from the bulk section of the supermarket where I bought them.)
2: Once step one is complete, either several hours later or the next day, puree the prunes and any remaining liquid in a blender or food processor. It’s up to you whether you want this to be a velvety puree or to retain some texture, I went for the latter but either is fine.
3: From here it’s pretty simple; gently melt the 250g dark chocolate in bursts in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl resting (without touching the water) on a small pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in your condensed milk and coconut cream, and then spatula the prune puree from your blender into the chocolate mixture and stir again to combine. Finally, stir in a decent pinch of salt, to taste.
4: Transfer this delicious mixture into a container with a lid; I like to let my ice creams rest in the fridge for two hours first as I, perhaps misguidedly, feel that it improves the flavour and texture, so either after that or straight away if you’re impatient, freeze the chocolate mixture for about six hours or until, well, frozen.
Makes roughly 1.25 litres. Because of the alcohol content you only need to let this sit for a few minutes to make it spoonable.
- If you don’t wish to use rum, Marsala would be my second choice (in fact, it might be my first choice if I had both in front of me), otherwise bourbon or Pedro Ximinez sherry would be great. If you don’t wish to use alcohol at all simply leave it out, bearing in mind that the ice cream will be a lot more rock-hard without the softening effect of alcohol. I’d also add a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract for another layer of flavour.
- You also don’t have to use rooibos if you don’t like the taste. It’s my preferred tea to soak dried fruit in, however Earl Grey would not be out of the question.
Pets by Porno for Pyros, I was going to call this song “nonplussedly cheerful” but one of the youtube commenters bested me with a more accurate description of “nihilistically hopeful”, and something in Perry Farrell’s scraped-hollow voice adds to the nihilism and the hopefulness of it.
Long Ago by Mariah Carey. Despite her staggering body of number 1 singles, she is never lethargic or parsimonious on the album tracks, and this slinky, low-lit song could’ve absolutely been a later release from the incredible Daydream.
Serenade in Blue by Ethel Ennis, her plush voice is glorious for interpreting this standard, but I am also fond of the long-shadowed cinematic orchestrations on the Glenn Miller original.
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