White Chocolate & Fresh Ginger Ice Cream Recipe with Nectarines and Cherries

If you’re anything like me, you’re thrilled that the season for summer fruits is finally in full swing. I like nothing better than returning from my market with a basket full of fresh peaches, nectarines, cherries, and whatever other fruits happen to look best that morning. And since I’ve started plying the Parisian vendors with Brownies, I’m getting much-desired VIP treatment at the market, and more often than not, there’s a few extra treats thrown in too. It’s nice to know that Parisians can be bought for the price of a simple square of chocolate.

While others may prefer to cloak summer fruits in fancy desserts, when the temperature starts soaring, the idea of standing in the kitchen for a few hours crafting some overwrought concoction has little appeal. And to be honest, it’s kind of a no-brainer when it’s this hot and I can be trying on jeans surrounded by Parisian jeunes hommes instead.

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My appearance on a radio program recently prompted me to share two of my favorite summertime recipes: luscious White Chocolate and Fresh Ginger Ice Cream with Baked Nectarines and Cherries. During the summer I bake fruit all the time which doesn’t require standing over the stove. Invariably when I return from the market, I wasn’t able to resist anything, and I’m a hopeless wreck when confronted with everything so perfect this time of the year. But baking brings out the sweetness, softening fruits beautifully into this delectable compote, which is so seductively simple to spoon up with freshly-made ice cream.

For the baked fruit, I like to use light cassonade sugar, which is widely available in France. In the US, natural food stores and Trader Joe’s sell unrefined sugar, which is lighter than brown sugar but granulated and as easy to use as white sugar.

And since everyone gets their panties in a knot about making substitutions, yes, you can substitute 6 to 8 plums or fresh apricots for the nectarines, but be sure to use the larger amount of sugar since apricots get much more tart once they’re baked. They’ll also take less time to bake as well.

I know you’re going to ask about peaches (see, now you’re getting carried away…), but I find peaches soften too quickly and I prefer the tartness of nectarines. Plus nectarines don’t need to be peeled and really hold their shape much better than peaches. If cherries are out of season where you live, you can add a basket of fresh raspberries or blackberries when you take the fruit out of the oven, allowing the residual heat help them meld into the compote.

Lastly, some readers have asked me about ice cream makers so I’ve posted some tips in the previous entry if you’re thinking of purchasing one. They’re come way down in price in the past year and since I personally can’t imagine getting through the summer without homemade ice cream; you might think about making one your next purchase too.

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White Chocolate And Fresh Ginger Ice Cream with Nectarine and Cherry Compote

4-6 Servings

Is there anything better than warm fruit, slightly-sweetened, topped with a scoop of ice cream melting on top or alongside? The creamy-sweet taste of white chocolate pairs marvelously with the piquant bite of fresh ginger. Just enough to serve as a pleasant contrast.

White Chocolate and Fresh Ginger Ice Cream
About 1 quart (1 liter)

  • 3-inch piece (2 to 2 1/2 ounces) fresh ginger, unpeeled
  • 2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup plus 1 cup heavy cream (500 ml, total)
  • 8 ounces (230 g) white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 5 large egg yolks

1. Slice the ginger thinly, cover it with water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain away the water but return the blanched ginger to the pan. Add the sugar, the milk and 1 cup of heavy cream to the saucepan and re-warm the mixture.
Cover and steep for at least an hour, or until you are satisfied with the ginger flavor.

2. Put the chopped white chocolate in a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the ginger-infused cream mixture, whisking constantly as you pour in the warm cream. Pour the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the white chocolate, and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Discard the ginger. Add the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and chill thoroughly. You can set the bowl over an ice bath to speed it up.

5. Chill mixture thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Nectarine and Cherry Compote
Four to Six Servings

I prefer my fruit less-sweetened, but you can add the larger amount of sugar if you like. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, just add a few drops of vanilla extract.

4 nectarines
1 pound (450 g) fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 to 6 tablespoons sugar
optional: 2 tablespoons rum or kirsch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (190 C).

1. Split the nectarines in half and pluck out the pits. Put them in a 2-quart baking dish with the cherries. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the fruit.

2. Mix in the sugar and rum or kirsch, if using.

3. Turn the nectarines so they’re cut side down, arranging them in an even layer with the cherries and tuck the vanilla bean underneath.

4. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, opening the oven door twice during baking so you can jostle the baking dish to encourage the juices to flow. The fruit is done when a sharp paring knife easily pierces the nectarines.

5. Remove from oven and serve warm, or at room temperature with a nice scoop of the White Chocolate and Fresh Ginger Ice Cream.

Storage: The compote can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

20 comments

  • I too buy too much fruit but I just can’t bring myself to use the oven down here in Italy where we are in the middle of a heat wave. But I’m really tempted!

  • Love the post and am of course drooling all over my keyboard. But, um, dude–”soaring and devastating heat????” Maybe your little sidebar thermometer melted and is malfunctioning, because right now it’s reading a balmy 75F! (Oh crap, it’s the middle of the night there, isn’t it? Okay, maybe it was hotter earlier. I’ll give you that until I come back and check tomorrow’s forecast. It’s 95F in the shade here today, humidity 80%.)

  • David, I was just coping the ice cream reciepe to my shopping list and noticed:

    “1 cup plus 1 cup heavy cream (500 ml, total)”

    which I think is a typo. :) Please feel free to delete this post.

  • Oh, you tease! I was just moping around yesterday about not having an ice cream maker, and this is like salt in my wound. If I had one, I would be on this in a heartbeat. But I do have an oven, and (luckily?) no heat wave in sight to dissuade me from turning it on!

  • hello david. it’s jeunes hommes, not jeaunes hommes.

  • Well, you just gave me the dessert for my next dinner party , David. I’m one of the six people in the world who don’t eat chocolate, so white chocolate ice cream? IM THERE.

    I blew the budget and bought the Lungarotti – at600 bucks. Best kitchen investment I ever made. This weekend, it was raspberry, apricot and brandied cherry. How did I live without it?

  • Les jeunes hommes didn’t get out of your head, did they? If you need any help… ;-)
    Lovely entry, as always. The Nectarine and Cherry Compote reminded me the option of a Nectarine Cobbler.

  • Thankfully I don’t need to buy an ice cream maker because I have you. Now that it’s hot out, get on that would you? I like chocolate, and anything with nuts in it.

  • wonderful, i especially love the compote recipe. i got plenty of crisps and pies but it’s nice to have something that focuses so intently on the fruit, and this particular pairing is so clever

  • Just made some of the ice cream this weekend (by hand, mind you) – smooth, gorgeously creamy – frankly very sexy flavour/texture combination – added bits of fresh chopped ginger as well. In other words, thank you! It was lovely. Everyone loved it. Need to try absinthe cake as well -

  • Is there a way to format your recipes into card-like versions? So that when I print it out, I don’t have to have all of the ads with the recipe….plus, it doesn’t waste paper….
    Thank you for your consideration.

  • Hi Allison: To add a print option at this point would be I’d have to go back and reformat all the recipes, which would take a considerable amount of time! There are websites that offer a place to drop in a URL, which will print out sites and recipes using less paper. You can look on Google to find one.

  • Hi. I’m curious as to why you blanch the ginger.

  • To kill the enzyme that causes custards to curdle.

  • Hi David,

    I just bought The Perfect Scoop and I was wondering if I could make your recipe for ginger ice cream without eggs. I have the same question for many of the recipes- I eat eggs, and have no problem with them in my ice creams, but a few members of my extended family don’t eat them. Is there some formula for omitting the eggs- do I have to add anything to the recipe then?

    Thanks so much,

    Janki

  • Janki: You could re-do the recipe using the proportions for the vanilla ice cream, without eggs, infusing the blanched ginger in it. Happy churning!

  • Hi David,

    This is quite simply the best ice cream I have tasted. I added a bit more ginger than you had suggested (as I love the taste of ginger). Thanks for the recipe.

    Vidya

  • hi david,

    just wanted to thank you for another amazing recipe; i made this for a dinner party last night and everyone went crazy for it!

  • Forgive me for being thick but when you say steep do you mean take the mixture off the heat? In which case is it still warm when you add it to the eggs? Thanks