Thursday, July 5, 2012

Captain Greg's Plum Perfect Gelato

Arriving home from our long week in Las Vegas for Liv's Nationals (pics on our Liv Life Facebook page), my cupboards were absolutely bare.  Leaving a teenaged son home with his dad for a week totally depleted our stores of frozen burritos, marinated salmon and chips and salsa along with anything even remotely sweet.  Please note that they did indeed have access to a car and a grocery store, but have instead kindly left me with a list of needed items prominently on the kitchen table.

Having wonderful neighbors, however, frequently brings good things to me just in my times of need.  That's where Captain Greg comes in.  Perhaps you remember Captain Greg, our gelato expert and guest poster, from his sweet/tart Lemon Lime Gelato post or his plentiful  Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chunk Gelato?

Captain Greg is one of those people who always seems to know what you need.  One of the kindest and most giving people I know, Captain Greg is the Captain of our local Team in Training Chapter for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Mentoring new members as they begin their marathon training, Captain Greg provides the positive support that keeps these runners moving, and a love of life that makes everyone love him.

In any case, arriving home tired, hungry and just a little grumpy, Captain Greg was at our door in mere minutes delivering his latest creation, Captain Greg's Plum Perfect Gelato, as a congratulations to our dancing girl.  Taking a quick look, Liv simply smiled, gave a heartfelt thanks and headed for a spoon.

Captain Greg, thanks for welcoming us home and thanks for bringing another fabulous Guest Post to Liv Life.


Every April, my wonderful neighbor’s children – Jack and Maggie – knock on my door with one all-consuming question, “Mr. Greg!  Are the ‘prums’ ready yet?”  Each week as spring tumbles into summer, Jack insistently drills me with the same question, as though asking will somehow hurry the plums to harvest.  It doesn’t matter whether my tree is just barely bristling with delicate, fragrant white blossoms, the question is always the same.

So in that beautiful moment in mid-June, when Carlsbad’s morning fog gives way to hot, brilliant sunshine, my one over-achieving plum tree begins dropping a crop that could feed the county.  Plump, unspeakably sweet, and the deepest of red-purples, the fruit arrives all at once.  And Jack and Maggie (who I affectionately call “my Farmworkers”) slip into the backyard at dawn to harvest what’s fallen almost magically into fruit nets.  My tree is relentless!

So I took on a challenge.  What to do with the hundreds of plums that in just a few days would move from ultimate sweetness to “not-so-wonderful”?  Catch them at their peak, and the “Oh my God” sweetness can be folded into dozens of recipes!

But how could I freeze the moment when these firm, succulent plums packed their ultimate punch?   Jack and Maggie’s Mom wondered aloud, “If only you could just capture that uniquely incredible moment of sweetness, shocking plum tartness and the fresh taste of your plum tree…”  Captain Greg, you were served!

Well, gelato’s my passion.  But the flavor signature of this early-Summer fruit is difficult to feature.  The culinary world just hasn’t served up a recipe that tapped plum’s seasonal punch.  Until now.  I re-crafted the delicate balance of sweet-and-pungent of my Blood Orange gelato recipe to exploit the tart delivery of ripe plums.  Modestly, I must admit, this recipe nails it!  The fruity sugars, the sharp wallop of a crisp tart plum, and the mellow consistency of gelato will leave you begging for “Seconds”, “Thirds” and “What the hell, let’s finish this off…!”

Enjoy the “prums”.

Captain Greg’s Plum Perfect Gelato
Recipe property of Captain Greg


1 ½ Quarts Water

1 cup whole milk
3 cup heavy whipping cream
6 large egg yolks
3 cup sugar
6 cups Plums

Makes 2 Quarts


Heat the water in a large saucepan (3+ quart), stirring in 1 cup of sugar until dissolved.  Adjust heat to a light simmer, then add the plums.  Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove the plums and retain the sugar water.  Allow plums to cool completely.

Return the sugar water to a medium heat, and allow it to gently boil away to half its volume (yielding about 3 cups of rich red-purple syrup).  Set the syrup aside.

Pit the cooled plums, but do not peel.  Combine the plums and syrup in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate while preparing egg/milk mixture.

Separate the egg yolks and lightly beat with a wooden spoon.  Combine yolks with the remaining 2 cups sugar, stirring until the mixture is creamy, pale yellow and very thick.

Heat the milk and cream in a large (3+ quart) saucepan until just steaming.  Whisk ½ cup of the warm milk and cream into the yolk & sugar, then stir the mixture back into the saucepan of milk and cream.  Cook over a low heat stirring constantly until thick enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Strain the mixture into a large bowl through a fine mesh strainer.

Cover and cool completely in the refrigerator (at least two hours).

In a large bowl, combine the puree and the thickened milk/cream/egg/sugar mixture.

Process in an ice cream maker

Turn the gelato into medium Tupperwear with lids.  Cover and freeze 24 hours


  1. Captain Greg is truly a hero for showing up with such an amazing treat. Wow. The plums on their own look amazing in the bowl, all kissed with moisture. Throw them in with whipping cream, eggs and sugar and magic happens. Look at that last picture. Gorgeous.

    (Welcome home.)

  2. I have to say that Captain Greg is truly one of my Heros now :D
    What a stunning, very refreshing dessert!


  3. Yum Kim!!hat looks delish. I had to LOL about what "the boys" ate from the freezer. :)

  4. What a beautiful color! I must confess, I did not know there were so many eggs and whole cream in gelato..... I thought it was lighter!

  5. This looks like the essence of summer! three cheers for Captain Greg!

  6. This is a wonderful gelato: beautiful and refreshing and delicious! Pinned :-)

  7. What a sweet story to accompany this incredible-looking gelato!

  8. Hi Captain Greg, I must say that I do wish you were my neighbor :) This looks like one amazing gelato!

  9. Captain Greg is awesome. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is near and dear to my heart (as is gelato if I am being honest). Great guest post. Wish Captain Greg was my neighbor!

  10. Congrats to Liv on a job well done in LV, you must be such a proud mama. :) I smiled at your comment about the boys leaving your cupboards bare though they had the means to shop while you were gone. It would happened here in my home, too.

    Captain Greg is welcome here anytime. He shares such great recipes and I enjoy reading his posts. Never thought to use plums in a gelato but I love the idea!

  11. Captain Greg's gelato sounds wonderful! What a great way to use plums in the summer, and so refreshing!

  12. Can Captain Greg stop by over here sometime when he's not busy. I'm making this tonight with some Satsuma plums. Can't wait. I'm sure Liv killed it over there.


Your comments make our hearts sing!