Roasted Plums with Tarragon Ice Cream

I have been in a fresh herb kick lately. I think I have neglected them for a very long time and I don’t know why. I love them just as much as I love fresh flowers. I respect them for their medicinal benefits and for what they add to food. I feel I have been redeeming myself and all I can think about are fresh herbs.

The first time I ever tried this ice cream was at a class I took with Sebastien Cannone from the French Pastry School and I will never forget it. Yes, it is delicious and perfectly balanced, but that is not the reason why. You see, I was assisting him in his class and I was asked to just get the mise en place ready for him. I had just started culinary school and I was very intimidated around all these professional chefs.

When I set myself out to scale the tarragon ice cream recipe, I think I forgot to zero out the scale at one point and I completely mis-scaled the entire recipe. Can you imagine how embarassed I was when he was cooking it and noticed the proportions were off? I thought that was the end of my professional career as a pastry chef. I thought, “what a disgrace, I can’t even scale a simple recipe!” Well, he was a complete gentleman and didn’t even say anything, just asked me to rescale it in a very polite matter. So I did. It worked and it was as perfect as I imagined it to be.

For those of you who have never tasted tarragon, I would say it is the licorice of the herb family. It reminds me a lot of licorice root or fennel. Very sweet and mild. I roasted the plums with a little bit of sugar (not much because they were very sweet naturally), vanilla bean, pink peppercorns and star anise which is also very licorice-y.

Sebastien’s recipe has very specific guidelines on when to add ingredients, at what temperature, how to mix them… I didn’t follow them as precisely but it turned out well, although not as smooth as when churned in a commercial ice cream machine. So the recipe below is not as accurate as his but it worked for me. Also, if you do not have access to some of these ingredients, you can make similar ice cream if you follow the recipe I posted a couple of weeks ago for mint chocolate chip. Just use tarragon instead.

Tarragon Ice Cream
adapted from Sebastien Cannone’s recipe

490 grams whole milk
30 grams non fat dry milk powder
115 grams sugar
40 grams glucose powder
4 grams ice cream stabilizer
80 grams butter
5 grams fresh tarragon
60 grams egg yolks

Place the whole milk, tarragon, butter and milk powder in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil. In the meantime, whisk the sugar, glucose powder and ice cream stabilizer in a bowl. When the milk comes to a boil, add the sugar mixture and whisk. Return to a boil.

Temper the milk mixture into the egg yolks. Return this custard to the pan and cook while constantly stirring to 84C. Strain into a clean bowl through a fine sieve and cool completely over an ice bath.

Refrigerate for at least 12 hours so the ice cream matures properly. Churn in ice cream machine and freeze.

This recipe will be my entry for Mike’s Table’s “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts“. Remember you have until July 7th!

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44 Responses to “Roasted Plums with Tarragon Ice Cream”

  1. enza says:

    every year I put tarragon seeds on my mycrogarden and I have a huge surplus of this herb.
    lovely way to use it! :D
    aran, according to available time and considering that tastespotting have been closed I’m going to trasform my blog in a double language one.
    so stay tune and thanks commenting on my space.
    For your question, yes I liked my charlotte, not so much because of jelly.
    all italian bloggers have suggested me to use agar agar do you have any experience with it?

  2. Christy says:

    I have to say, I’ve never had a tarragon ice cream before; in fact, i haven’t seen a lot of herb ice creams here in Australia—I wonder why, since all of them are available fresh almost all year round. I really have to get an ice cream machine and start trying things out at home; and a tie for first on the list would be your tarragon ice cream and Tea’s singapore ice cream!

  3. Peabody says:

    I’ve been big on herbs as of late as well. The plums look gorgeous.

  4. Aran says:

    Enza- I have used agar agar a couple of times but not enough. It is a great substitute for gelatin but I really can’t give you ratios or anything like that. I need to look it up better. Sorry…

  5. idu says:

    Kaixo Aran,

    Ingelesez enaiz ondoegi moldatzen, baina errezeta hauetako batzuk egiten saiatuko naiz, ea zer ateratzen den… kontatuko dizut

  6. Aran says:

    Idu- ba galderarik badekozu, idatzi eta azaltzen saiatuko naz bai? Eskerrik asko idazteagaitik…

  7. hey, I nominated you and your beautiful blog for an award, Arte y Pico. You can display it if you like and there is a meme attached too, but I chose not to do it. You can find the logo on this post:

    x x x

  8. Evelin says:

    roasted plums and tarragon together seem a heavenly combination! I’d want to try this once we have plums here (which seems like…a zillion months from now!). I have a love-hate relationship with tarragon that I have to warm up to a love-love one…;)

  9. My mouth is watering! I have a bowl of vanilla custard waiting to be turned into ice cream. I was dreaming of adding fresh rosemary and eating it with roasted strawberries. (I’m going strawberry picking tomorrow.) Guess we’re on the same wavelength…I would love to have a taste of that tarragon ice cream.

  10. nadia says:

    How beautiful are these photographs, i must have looked at them a dozen times already! I love the use of fresh herbs and have a deep love for plums!

  11. I’m very intrigued by the use of fresh herbs in sweet recipes. What a wonderful dessert!

  12. Hmmm. I’ve never tried tarragon in a dessert before. Very interesting. The roasted plums look gorgeous and the photos are just stunning!

  13. Tartelette says:

    I can’t help but smile as I read this: the savory chef I work with has forbidden all the French chefs working with him to use tarragon…apparently Europeans love it a little too much :) I bet I can squeeze this one in today and really throw him off! Looks wonderful and rich and light at the same time!

  14. Ann says:

    Stunning photos, Aran! Every time I see an ice cream post I feel the slowly building urge to buy an ice cream maker build a little more. The pressure has been building for a year now. I wonder when I will crack? :-)

  15. nicisme says:

    I love the smell and taste of tarragon. Not had it in dessert before, your ice cream and plums look fabulous!

  16. monica says:

    Tarragon in an ice cream is something i´ve never tried before, but you got me curious.
    I could eat these photos. So beautiful.

  17. Inne says:

    All the gorgeous creations I missed while I was away! And the new blog design looks super, Aran.
    Can’t say I’m very fond of warm fruits, but I’ve got some egg whites in my fridge for which your nougat glace recipe will be just perfect.

  18. ooo gorgeous Aran, I love fennel and this intrigues me!!! Must try it the next time I have the ice cream maker out!

  19. Barish says:

    gosh Aran those plums.. amazing!

  20. What a story about messing up the recipe…I totally feel your pain! What a great recipe this looks like though! I love the roasted plums with it!

  21. Candace says:

    I love different flavors for ice cream… never tried tarragon in in however. Tarragon ice cream is officially added to my must-try list!

  22. pia says:

    unbelievable. mouth watering. lost for words.

  23. That a perfect dessert Aran! Fresh herbs are so perfect to use on ice creams! Oh and I can totally understand why you’ll never forget about this one!

  24. linda says:

    I love fresh herbs but tarragon is one of the few that I don’t like. At least not in savoury dishes. Never tried it in sweet…maybe I’ll like it in sweet. It looks very tempting!

  25. Y says:

    Tarragon ice cream… mmm …

    I’ve had embarrassing moments like that too. The other day my brioche at work turned out all strange and I was so ashamed of it I wanted to hide it in a corner away from prying eyes!

  26. Molly says:

    Just wandered over from your comment on before + after… this is such a strikingly beautiful blog!

  27. cindy* says:

    i recently killed all of my potted herbs. i am a terrible gardener.

    this ice cream sounds and (as usual) looks absolutely lovely.

  28. Wow, how completely beautiful. I love herbs, too, and made a sage ice cream a couple of weeks ago. Fantastic. Plums are a royal treat; their color is spectacular.

  29. Mrs.French says:

    Roasted plums! Get out! sounds fantastic! I can’t decide what I love more…the plums and ice cream, the photos or this great story.

  30. This is perfect! Someone gave me a TON of plums the other day and I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do with them!

    p.s. I’ve tagged you :)

  31. I have never tried this ice-cream but your recipe seems to be delicious. I can find tarragon in my mother-in-law ‘s garden, surely I will make some for my family.
    Regards from Spain

  32. Cakespy says:

    This looks practically visceral, what with the roasted plum oozing. But completely delicious. Have I really lived, not having tried tarragon ice cream!?

  33. Meeta says:

    Aran what a lovely and unique combination. Tarragon ice cream is sounding really interesting.

  34. more i look at this, more i want this more i dream of being in your kitchen……..your talent is truly beyond words!

  35. Kim says:

    Aran- This looks absolutely delightful. The photos make me want to dip my spoon right in. I would never think of using herbs for an ice cream and love the idea. I so need to learn to think outside the box.

  36. Brilynn says:

    I love the sounds of this! One question though- what’s the ice cream stabilizer?

  37. Aran says:

    Hi Brilyyn_ good question… ice cream stabilizer is a product that prevents in certain ice cream ice crystal formation creating a smooth product. In this case because I am using milk instead of cream which has a higher water content, the ice cream has a tendency to form ice crystals. This of course, is not completely necessary but it makes a difference. Ice cream stabilizer is used in professional kitchens and it’s available through specialty stores. But if you cannot find it or do not want to use it, I linked to the mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe which is basically a vanilla custard that doesn’t use stabilizer.
    Thanks again!

  38. I am intrigued by the contrast between sweet plums and savory tarragon, Aran. It must be divine.

  39. Sha says:

    Oh my God… roasted fruits and ice cream… I love that !! Recently I’ve eaten a chaud-froid with plums (cherry plums) and gingerbead ice cream.

  40. I worked for a short-while as a pantry chef in college and was in charge of making the breads and ice cream. One of the ice cream recipes was a white chocolate ice cream with tarragon and rose petals. It was so beautiful to see, pure white ice cream with ribbons of green and red. I look forward to giving it a try some day.

  41. Jude says:

    Such an interesting recipe and it makes sense because tarragon has a natural affinity with eggs. Yum.

  42. Angela says:

    How delicious! I’m guessing that the butter is there to add more fat for a better mouthfeel?

  43. Wow. Wow. Elegant, sophisticated, and gorgeous.

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