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Plum Watermelon Soup With Lemon Balm Ice Cream and Toasted Blueberry Pound Cake

Plum Watermelon Soup With Lemon Balm Ice Cream and Toasted Blueberry Pound Cake

I must start this post with shout out to my dad that has nothing to do with the recipe and story below. A couple of weeks ago, my awesome Papa took pity of my completely DIY portfolio page created a few months back and asked if I could please shop around for a professional hosting site and he’d help. After pouring over countless forums, domains, templates, I decided to go with Photobiz (and no they are not paying me to say how great they are). They’re affordable and super pro. Once I had uploaded my pictures, the revamped portfolio was up and running almost overnight! Thanks dad!

It never fails. Every summer here, I want to be there. I know I have been in South Carolina long enough to handle the scorching summers but I really think that unless you are born and bred here like Bill, there is a "heat acceptance gene" missing in most of us. Actually, the humidity is the bigger problem. It wilts you the minute you step out the door and it looks like I do not have the "A/C acceptance" gene either.

What to do to keep fresh and refreshed? Eat a serving or two of this Plum and Watermelon Soup with a scoop of Lemon Balm Ice Cream and a couple slices of Toasted Blueberry Pound Cake. I am a soup kind of gal. Hot, cold, room temperature…I just love soups but I admit I would have never tried to make this if it had not been for Asheville, and our dinner at Zambra.


We were full to the brim and when dessert arrived we all thought "I can’t anymore". Then came chef Adam’s rhubarb – watermelon soup and basil ice cream. The only thing heard at the table was the rattling of our spoon against the bowls. What I could not get enough of was the side of toasted black sesame pound cake he served the soup with. What a brilliant addition! I put it all in the dessert memory bank hoping to make it for us one hot summer day.

This day came with Bill’s birthday and I figured it would be a perfect ending to his "birthday dessert feast" of lemon donuts, goat cheese tarts, chocolate covered marshmallows and cupcakes. I took full advantage of all the wonderful summer produce around here and used watermelon and tart plums (to mimic the tartness of the rhubarb), lemon balm from our garden to infuse a simple vanilla bean ice cream. Bill’s mom often goes blueberry picking in the wee hours of the morning and loves to give us a few buckets full. They were put to good use in a pound cake that Bill loves all year round.

When it gets passed 95F, I have no desire to turn the oven on and if I must, you can bet it better be quick and for something as good as blueberry pound cake or apricot financiers! But I could not resist the idea of thin slices of pound cake slowly toasted in the oven to be served with the soup. You don’t even need to make soup to fall in love with the idea or the taste. It’s just plain fun! We had leftover soup after the party and we had the remainder as cold shots one hot afternoon. Perfect!

Toasted Blueberry Pound Cake - Plums

One year ago: The Transatlantic – Chocolate and Salted Butter Caramel
Plum – Watermelon Soup With Lemon Balm Ice Cream And Toasted Blueberry Pound Cake:

For the soup:
1 cup (150gr) watermelon, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup ripe plums (160gr) (about 3-4 depending on size), cut into 1-inch pieces
zest and juice of a lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar

For the ice cream:
4 egg yolks
1 cup (100gr) + 2 tablespoons (25gr) sugar
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split open and seeded
1/3 cup chopped fresh lemon balm (can use lemon verbena, basil, mint, etc..)

For the cake:
1 stick (113gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (120gr) powdered sugar, unsifted
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup (155gr) flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup (60ml) buttermilk (or whole milk)
1 cup (145gr) blueberries

Prepare the soup:
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree until very smooth. Refrigerate until very cold. (how hard was that?!)

Prepare the ice cream:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and one cup of sugar until pale and thick. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk, heavy cream, vanilla bean and lemon balm to a simmer, without letting it come to a full boil. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg yolks mixture while whisking to temper the egg yolks. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of spoon. At this point you have made a custard sauce, also known as "creme anglaise". Let cool completely and refrigerate until cold.
Once the custard is cold, strain the vanilla bean and lemon balm and process the base according to your ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions.

Prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center. Slightly coat a loaf pan with cooking spray, place it on a baking sheet and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and powdered sugar on low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the buttermilk and mix well until combined. Turn the mixer off and fold in the blueberries by hand. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (tend with foil midway if the top seems to brown faster than the cakes bake). Let cool completely and cut very thin slices of cake. Place them on a parchment paper line baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown.

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LizNoVeggieGirl August 20, 2009 um 6:40 pm

Aww, love the shout-out to your dad 🙂

No matter how full you may feel at first after a meal, there's ALWAYS room for an exceptional dessert – great soup, ice cream, and cake!!

Phoo-D August 20, 2009 um 6:52 pm

Your new portfolio is breathtaking! Love the look and feel. If the man in orange is Bill then his nickname is well deserved…I think he would give George Clooney a run for his money! The dessert soup sounds marvelous and perfect for August.

The Short (dis)Order Cook August 20, 2009 um 6:54 pm

I think I'd rather be "there" too. It's not that I don't love summer (NY is not quite as humid as SC, but it can be pretty bad), but I would still love to be in such a gorgeous place!

Bill is a lucky guy to get such a beautifully-presented spread. The soup is very creative and I feel refreshed just looking at it. I love pound cake and the idea of adding fresh blueberries makes me very happy. The ice cream is incredibly creative as well.

I'd definitely make room for this dessert.

Irina@PastryPal August 20, 2009 um 6:55 pm

Funny, being from Russia, everyone expects me to be carefree when it comes to freezing temperatures. I think no matter where you're from, you're still uncomfortable when it's too hot or too cold. 🙂

I love the idea of treating the pound cake almost like a cracker, with those thin slices.

Olga August 20, 2009 um 6:57 pm

omg, I get to be the 2nd commenter?
I can't figure out how you do such awesome photos.

I tried following your one post about white paper/fabric. But my fabric tends to get wrinkly and the paper gets dirty.

Can I not achieve the same awesome photos w/just a point/shoot Cannon?

Alexandra August 20, 2009 um 7:06 pm

mmmmm, so summery! It's recipes like this one, that make me stave off my constant yearn for autumn!

I love the photo of the sliced and blueberry toast! fantastic idea, in slicing them so thin!

Ash August 20, 2009 um 7:21 pm

Great recipe and wonderful shots!!

montague August 20, 2009 um 7:28 pm

you are *truly* an artist of food. the colors, flavors and combinations you evoke are just amazing!

Rosa's Yummy Yums August 20, 2009 um 7:44 pm

Plum and watermelon, that's an original combination! As usual, your creation is stunning and so tempting!



Hilda August 20, 2009 um 9:22 pm

Dis, le monsieur avec le verre de vin ce ne serait pas ton Papa par hasard? Merci Papa d'Helene pour le beau portfolio! And really interesting combination, I would not have thought of pairing watermelon with plums at all.

Hilda August 20, 2009 um 9:22 pm

Dis, le monsieur avec le verre de vin ce ne serait pas ton Papa par hasard? Merci Papa d'Helene pour le beau portfolio! And really interesting combination, I would not have thought of pairing watermelon with plums at all.

Julia @ Mélanger August 20, 2009 um 9:35 pm

I will have to file this lovely idea away for a few months…..when summer descends on me and I too am subjected to unrelenting sub-tropical heat and humidity! URGH. It's so pleasant here in 'winter' (29C/85F on the weekend! – but dry), but summer can be nasty. 35C and 98% humidity. I don't even want to think about even going into the kitchen. Even though I'm a native to the sub-tropics, if it's any consolidation, I don't get used to it – I just look forward to winter, every day! 🙂

Simones Kitchen August 20, 2009 um 9:43 pm

It looks lovely and summery. And thanks for the tip on the portfolio site! I've been looking to find a good one too, so this might be something worth looking into!

carolina @ patagonia gifts August 20, 2009 um 10:03 pm

oh my goodness! this must be heaven! glorious recipe!

p.s.: I'm giving away a gold leaf necklace. don't miss it!

anna August 20, 2009 um 10:18 pm

Ohh look at those little plums! I think I'll have to make this. The store downstairs stocks so many fruits and it's so very hot out!

CarrieZ August 20, 2009 um 11:34 pm

The combination of fruits makes my mouth water! Especially the lemon ice cream and blueberry cake. Love the pictures as well 🙂

maybelle's mom August 20, 2009 um 11:52 pm

Ah, i always find it hard to find room for dessert after a dinner (can't plan ahead.) But, these are so lovely I would make room.

Becky Vayo August 21, 2009 um 12:05 am

What a beautiful new look…simple and chic. You have been an inspiration to me in so many ways (I was inspired to go to pastry school and start my own blog because of you). Thanks for your passion and the beauty you bring to others.

Cannelle Et Vanille August 21, 2009 um 12:20 am

oh so perfect for the scorching summers we endure in the south! you read my mind with this one!

Cherie August 21, 2009 um 3:32 am

I just love how thin the pound cake slices are:)

A Bowl Of Mush August 21, 2009 um 4:16 am

Okay, this combination is the best dessert in the world!
Everything looks wonderful!

Nutmeg Nanny August 21, 2009 um 4:33 am

Wow what a meal! Everything looks fantastic!!!

Tej August 21, 2009 um 4:51 am

Great inspiration as I head to Vermont – I am hoping the blueberry farm down the road is still harvesting – the cake looks amazing. I love the idea of different herbs for the ice cream – thank you!

cindy* August 21, 2009 um 6:45 am

i've been out of town and this is the first chance to see the new page! lovely!

and that soup…calling my name 😉

Sunshinemom August 21, 2009 um 7:29 am

I linked up to your new photography site. Looks excellent:). Good your Dad pushed you:)

adeline August 21, 2009 um 7:55 am

You gives me hunger.
I write this recipe. Thank you !
Good day

Diana Strinati Baur August 21, 2009 um 9:03 am

I so cannot believe I just found you. Your blog posts literally make me want to take a running dive directly into my computer. I am going to be back here. Often. Often.

♥peachkins♥ August 21, 2009 um 9:40 am

the Lemon balm ice cream sounds very refreshing. love your photos!

Dominique August 21, 2009 um 10:11 am

Ce nouveau portfolio est superbe… je ne me lasse pas de regarder tes photos. tu m'inspires beaucoup! J'aurais aimé prendre des cours avec toi, mais la distance…

petite nyonya August 21, 2009 um 10:50 am

Have been silently following your blog for a while and I think it's about time I tell you that it's AWESOME. Your photography and recipes are all wonderful. Look forward to more.

Sha August 21, 2009 um 11:50 am

I have to say that I LOVE the new design of your blog.
I want to make and enjoy this cake with thin slices as you did 😉

Unknown August 21, 2009 um 12:55 pm

Great refreshing recipe!
Very needed also here in Bologna, Italy, where we use the same ingredients of South Carolina: scorching heat and crazy humidity, well mixed together.
If it'll continue the same also next week be assured that I will "steal" your idea, I already thought about a couple of variations 😉

Valérie August 21, 2009 um 1:49 pm

Oh, what a great idea! I've been living on gazpacho this week, but a cold dessert soup is brilliant!

Dodie @AshevilleTravel August 21, 2009 um 3:02 pm

Mmmm! That rhubard-watermelon soup with basil ice cream is one of those happy food memoments that will stay with me for a long time. Thanks for bringing it back to life on your blog. Now, I wish summer would hang on just a little longer.

Lori August 21, 2009 um 4:12 pm

I am in Knoxville right now visiting my brother and his wife. I am definitely wilting. I think you are right. I think people raised here are naturally acclimated.

Meanwhile, there is some watermelon here in the fridge…. hmmm.

Patricia Scarpin August 21, 2009 um 4:36 pm

I have never tried sweet soups, Helen, but I know I'd love this – watermelon is such a favorite of mine!

vicki (simply hue) August 21, 2009 um 5:45 pm

Hi Helen, I love the new design of your blog and your images are delicious (as usual)!

Marian August 21, 2009 um 6:53 pm

¡¡exquisita ¡¡

como siempre ,gracias por la receta ;besos

mycookinghut August 21, 2009 um 8:18 pm

This looks really fresh!
Love your new blog design!

Jen Yu August 23, 2009 um 1:01 am

The new portfolio looks great (I thought the old one was nice too). I see you included a picture of Missy Pout-Face. Ha ha! Your dad is so sweet 🙂 Must say that toasting thins of pound cake is a brilliant idea. Sounds like a delightful combination with the soup! Can always count on you for a sweet take on anything. As for that heat gene… I was born and bred in southern VA and I cannot abide by the heat. Not one bit 😉 I must be defective! *snort*

Rasa Malaysia August 23, 2009 um 5:51 am

Hey Helen – I have a bunch of blueberries that I am trying to get rid of, your recipe comes in handy! 🙂

Trissa August 23, 2009 um 11:47 am

I love the way your new blog looks!

browniegirl August 23, 2009 um 5:24 pm

Your new page looks fantastic…so clean and pretty. This soup looks absolutely sublime. I cannot wait for summer hehe xxx

a tasteful garden August 24, 2009 um 1:47 am

gorgeous photography and wonderful styling… especially the pound cake shot.

Engineer Baker August 27, 2009 um 11:56 pm

I think that no matter where I am, I would love to be where you're from – so gorgeous! And yes, after spending a summer in S. Carolina, I believe you have to be bred for that sort of humidity. I wilted after about 5 minutes outside! But I'm sure that with that dessert, I'd feel refreshed in no time 🙂

emily September 4, 2009 um 5:08 pm

Wow, the thin slices of cake is SUCH a smart idea with this fruit soup! I made a strawberry watermelon balsamic soup last month (first time doing a cold dessert soup) and something like the cake sounds like a fantastic addition.

Also, your portfolio is gorgeous! I am jealous, of the design and the photography skills.

One last note – I grew up in NC and I still cannot deal with the heat. Do not feel bad – if there is such a gene, it's not in all of us Southerners.

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