I am very fortunate that my local greengrocer shares my passion for the slightly unusual. They can’t go too far into the bizarre for fear of scaring away all their customers but they do try to get quinces, medlars, mulberries and the like. The lady who runs the shop is almost more enthusiastic than me about greengages. She has tried to get the golden but they are rarer than anything. I will happily settle for green if golden isn’t around. And for the perfect summer dessert my Greengage and Almond Ice Cream is just the ticket.
Put the greengages into a pan with the water and sugar and heat until the gages are softened and have released their stones. Remove the stones from the pan and allow the fruit mixture to cool. Toast some of the flaked almonds in a dry pan until golden brown. When the fruit has cooled, mix in the almonds and the custard and then put in an ice cream machine for about half an hour and then into the freezer. If you don’t have an ice cream machine put it straight into the freezer and then remove every half an hour, mix and refreeze until frozen.
Brain freeze seems inevitable when eating ice cream. I really truly hate it and so try to take my time when devouring cold things. This was no exception and what a great ice cream to take time over. The custard is such a great shortcut and lends its creaminess and slight vanilla flavour so well to the gages. The gages were subtle but singing with very slight tartness coming from the skins. The almonds added a lovely texture and background tone. I tried to keep the gages slightly sharp so that they could be tasted amongst the other flavours.
If you’ve ever wondered why almonds and cherries or plums are such good culinary friends then I hope that my picture above goes some way to explaining why. Get yourself a plum stone and crack it open. Inside the stone is what I will call a nugget. A nugget of the most intense almond flavour you can imagine. I’m not sure they are edible so don’t take my word for it but I’ve eaten a few and despite them being very bitter the almond flavour is almost overwhelming. Every day is a school day.