The Beginning of Autumn-a Dessert Dilemma

Posted on 1st September, 2019

September 1st, the first day of meteorological autumn but really we’re still in summer, late summer granted but summer nevertheless. Which means there’s a natural conflict between wanting a dessert or yearning for a pudding, the dilemma between making ice-cream or making a warming fruit crumble with custard (it’s a British thing!).


Anyway we have plums in the garden, we actually had so many we had to freeze them en masse in carrier bags so they weren’t wasted (shudder), so I could make the ever popular plum crumble and custard or I could wander down the lane near the house and forage some blackberries to add to it, they seem to be a bit behind this year but there was enough to fill a small container.









With a couple of handfuls of  plums plus a a couple of handfuls of blackberries I decided to chop and de-stone the plums and stew them with the blackberries, both are quite tart so probably need more sugar than you think but let’s be honest this is an occasional treat not an everyday occurance. Now you could use ready made custard but I had a pot of cream in the fridge from last week, bought to go with raspberries but I’ve been eating these as they are rather than slathering them with cream, so I made a simple custard with an egg, sugar and vanilla.


Here we are then, we have stewed fruit and a simple custard, but with the idea of crumble firmly to the fore I decided to make a crumble topping. Flour, butter or margarine, sugar and a sprinkling of oats and cinnamon. With the sun streaming through the window and dinner to be eaten out in the garden I plumped for blackberry and plum crumble ice cream. I’m nothing if not inventive when it comes to ice cream ideas. It’s a happy marriage, the satisfying aroma of a fruit crumble with the gorgeousness of creamy ice cream.          


This should be the time of plenty in the garden but this year it’s been a bit hit and miss, a continual battle against slugs and pigeons plus the choking effect of oxalis around the peas, rocket, spinach and chard. No sooner do I pull it up it’s back so it really is a losing battle. Oxalis is invasive, it spreads by tiny bulbs and if you spread it accidently from one bed to another you’re doomed. I might have to be brutal over the winter to avoid the same thing next year.

I do have plenty of runner beans and the courgettes and squashes are getting there now so hopefully I’ll be sharing some ideas of what to do with these two vegetables soon.


Back to the ice-cream, below is the basic recipe I created but as always you can swap or switch ingredients depending on what you have to hand.

Fruit compote (posh for stewed fruit!):

Around 8 good sized plums, chopped and stones removed

Couple of handfuls of blackberries

Sugar to taste, I prefer it slightly tart but add more if you prefer super-sweet


Place in a heavy base saucepan with only a spoonful of water, cook until soft. Set aside to cool completely.



Equal parts flour to fat (I used a couple of handfuls of each)

Pinch of salt

A couple of spoonfuls of porridge oats

Sugar, again to taste but this doesn’t need to be overly sweet.

Sprinkling of cinnamon (leave out or replace if you’re not a fan)


Rub the fat and flour together until they look like fine breadcrumbs, stir in the porridge oats, the sugar and cinnamon. Spread onto an ovenproof tray and bake until golden, forking it through to make sure the colour is even. When done set aside to cool.


Custard: (I cheated I’m afraid, I had no time to make a classic crème anglais)

1 egg

¾ pot of double cream

Sugar to taste

Vanilla paste or a vanilla pod


Pour the cream over the well beaten egg, mix in the sugar and the vanilla paste or the seeds from the vanilla pod. Heat gently, it needs to be gently to avoid scrambling the egg, as it heats it will thicken and all you need is a consistency that covers the back of a wooden spoon. Add a little arrowroot or cornflour if it doesn’t thicken enough (instructions on the packaging)


Set aside to cool.


When all three elements are cold you can stir the crumble into the fruit and amalgamate thoroughly. Then stir in the custard, as you stir you’ll see swirls of custard through the fruit crumble mixture and I left it like this before pouring into the ice cream maker.








There we have it, Plum and Blackberry Crumble ice-cream the answer to that late summer dessert quandary. Give a try before the weather gets too cold for ice-cream (does it ever?). Happy cooking and let me know how you get on.



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