Last summer I found myself at a small farmer's market stand in Glenn Oaks, California after a day of raspberry picking. There I purchased an unknown but delicious variety of deep red plums, which I used to make this jam. I have not encountered that variety of plum since, but have kept my eyes peeled for them for over a year. Last weekend I spotted a look-a-like at Whole Foods, which they had labeled as a Plumcot. They were small and dark and slightly fuzzy on the outside, much like an apricot in shape and texture but plum-like in color. They looked quite different from the fruits labeled Pluots, which were larger, more plum-shaped, and with the signature shiny plum skin. So, what's the real difference between a plumcot and a pluot? I was pretty confused until I read this article, which basically explains that plumcots are an even 50/50 blend of plums and apricots, while pluots are a plum-apricot blend whose lineage is more plum than apricot, the amount of plum make up varies with different varieties, but is usually about 60-75% plum and 40-25% apricot.
So I ended up buying a pound of the plumcots in hopes that they would be as tasty as the plums I'd had last summer. I roasted them before incorporating them into a semifreddo with some cinnamon oat crumbles and Walkers shortbread bits. This was my first time making a semifreddo, and it was surprisingly simple to make. A semifreddo is basically an ice cream log, but instead of freezing straight custard like most ice creams, the custard is folded into whipped cream and the resulting mixture is frozen in a pan (no need for a bulky ice cream machine, huzzah!), which creates an incredible airy, smooth, and sliceable ice cream. I used turbinado sugar in the custard which gave it a warm and caramelized flavor, and when paired with the roasted plumcots, buttery cinnamon oat crumble, and shortbread cookie pieces, it tastes exactly like a slice of plum pie with a shortbread crumb topping in ice cream-form. This is honestly my favorite thing I've ever made. The textures, the flavors, the warmth and coolness of the dish, everything about it was just as it should be.
And if you happened to notice the adorable shape of the shortbread cookies, Walkers Shortbread is pairing up with the APSCA for the second year in a row (last year they raised over $31,000 for them) and this year they've already pledged to donate a minimum of $50,000 to the ASPCA. On top of that, Walkers shortbread is currently running a promotion between June 17th and June 28th where they will donate an extra dollar to the ASPCA if you use the code ACSCOTTIES when purchasing one of their scottie dog cookies or their scottie dog tin. I'm a longtime animal lover and am super excited about this collaboration, because 1) the ASPCA does a stand-up job of helping animals in need, and 2) because all guilt about cookie-eating is eliminated. And they've also been kind enough to offer up a giveaway for one of their delicious Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread Scottie Dog Tins! To enter the giveaway, please use rafflecopter below. The giveaway is only open to residents of the United States and will end at midnight PST on July 3rd.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
5 plumcots (can substitute pluots), pitted and halved
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Cinnamon Oat Crumble
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon water
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 and 3/4 cups whipping cream
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crushed Walkers pure butter shortbread cookies
Place the plumcot halves on a baking sheet, skin-side down. Sprinkle them with the brown sugar and cinnamon and rub it into the exposed flesh. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into roughly 1/2 inch pieces.
In a small bowl, mix together all of the cinnamon oat crumble ingredients until a sticky paste forms. Spread it out in a 1/2 inch thick layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely before breaking the hardened sheet into roughly 1/2 inch sized pieces.
To make the semifreddo, beat the whipping cream in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment at medium high speed until whipped cream forms. Set aside. In the top of a double boiler, heat the egg yolks and turbinado sugar over simmering water, whisking the mixture constantly. Continue doing this until the egg yolks thicken considerably and the sugar has melted slightly.
Quickly scoop the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a whisk attachment and beat at medium high speed until the mixtures thickens considerable and looks like wet taffy (like in the photo above). Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and scoop the whipped cream into the center of the bowl on top of the custard. Fold the whipped cream into the custard until they are completely combined. Add the shortbread bits, cinnamon oat crumble, and roasted plumcots and fold gently until they're just evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into the lined loaf pan and smooth the top. Place on an even surface in your freezer and freeze overnight or for at least 6 hours. Once frozen, remove from the freezer and flip the pan upside down onto the serving platter. If it doesn't come out right away give it a few minutes and press the sides of the pan with your warm hands, the sides will melt a bit and the semifreddo will eventually fall out of the pan. Slice and serve immediately. Freeze any leftovers.