Black Plum Black Pepper Gelato

August 3, 2010

Author Notes: Inspired by two of my favorite aromas and flavors in red wine, black plum and black pepper, (Jenny’s recent post reintroducing hope.thurman’s lovely sorbet confirmed that black pepper in a sweet frozen confection was not ludicrous), while this tastes nothing like my favorite glass of red, it is equally pleasurable. I love that, like wine, you do not know what it will taste like based on appearance; while the plum provides a big fruit forward first impression, the black pepper leaves a surprising spicy whisper that lingers on your palate. - gingerrootgingerroot

Food52 Review: Because it uses no cream or egg yolks, this plum gelato is light and creamy, perfect for a summer evening. Crushed black pepper adds a touch of spice and a healthy dose of creme fraiche makes this gelato quite tangy, so add to taste if you're looking for a fruitier treat. - LaurenThe Editors

Serves: about 5 cups


  • 5 ripe but firm black plums, halved, de-stoned and chopped (I had a little more than 4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups
    2 Tablespoon(s) whole milk

  • 2 teaspoons whole Tellicherry black peppercorns, finely crushed with mortar and pestle
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 tablespoons crème fraiche
In This Recipe


  1. Combine chopped fruit, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, until plum skins begin to peel from fruit, mixture changes color to pink and becomes thick and jammy, about 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to glass bowl or container (like a quart sized Pyrex measure) and let cool. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator. Chill until cold, at least three hours or overnight.
  2. In another saucepan, combine milk and crushed black pepper; allow mixture to steam over low heat, about 5-7 minutes (shorter or longer depending on range). Meanwhile, make slurry by combining cornstarch and remaining 2 T of milk, stirring well to combine thoroughly. Once milk/pepper mixture has steamed, whisk in slurry, stirring continuously until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Strain thickened milk mixture through sieve into a glass bowl or large measuring cup. Press down on black pepper solids, to allow the finest grains to absorb into milk mixture. It should look like vanilla bean seeds in your milk mixture. This will also ensure that there are no lumps from the cornstarch. Allow mixture to cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least three hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to make gelato, combine chilled plums, chilled milk, and crème fraiche in a blender. Puree to combine. Pour into base of ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. After 40 minutes, mixture should still be soft; transfer to airtight container and freeze longer for a firmer gelato.

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