Sugarplum Champagne Sorbet
This delicious sorbet is inspired by fresh summer fruit, good friends, and a surprise email from CBS.
First, the fruit. This week, Brooklyn farmer’s markets overflowed with tiny sugarplums, bite-size beauties with a concentrated sweetness and big plum punch. Hudson Valley grower Fishkill Farms explained they were Oishiwase plums, a delicate Japanese variety available just a few weeks a year.
I bought as many as I could carry. Twice. (“Um, are you a plum-a-holic?” they asked, only half joking.)
See, inspired by the plums, I had gone cowboy style on a plum sorbet, working off the general recipe for my successful Campari-Citrus Sorbet. Tasted great… except for the small fact that it wouldn’t freeze.
By batch four, I was rapidly losing hope. It was the latest in a string of kitchen frustrations that had me in a photo funk. On a long-distance call from India, my husband gently suggested a little patience – good things would come if I just kept practicing.
Two hours later, I opened my inbox to an email from CBSNews.com, asking if I could photograph a healthy recipe for their readers. The sorbet would be perfect.
I regrouped with Cooks Illustrated, and my friends swooped in with encouragement and backup ice cream makers. Together they did the trick. With a colder bowl and just one tablespoon of champagne, rather than the quarter cup I’d been using, the sorbet churned up smooth and creamy like ice cream. Cold, silky spoonfuls of pure plum.
So thanks to all those fine and funny folks that laugh with me at my kitchen chaos, give me feedback on my photos, and generally keep me going. There’s a pint of sugarplum sorbet with your names on it!
Makes 1 pint, serves 4
I first made this for CBS with champagne. But when I made one final batch as a thank-you for friends, I swapped in St. Germaine elderflower liqueur. Its delicate floral flavor makes this delicious summer sorbet even better.
5 cups very ripe sugarplums, pitted (~8 to one cup)*
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon champagne or St. Germaine
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
In a blender or food processor combine sugarplums and 1/2 cup water. Cover and blend or process until pureed. Press plum mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; discard pulp.
To make simple syrup: Mix sugar and water together in a small pan over a low heat, and bring up to boil until the sugar dissolves. Allow the simple syrup to boil for 4 minutes, remove from heat and cool completely.
In a large bowl combine strained plum mixture, champagne, and 1/2 cup of the cooled simple syrup. Continue to add syrup 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired sweetness, which will depend on the ripeness of your fruit.
Chill mixture at least 1/2 hour in freezer, until temperature reaches around 40 degrees (do not be tempted to skip this step!). Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Freeze for at least two hours to set before serving.
For an added touch, top small scoops of sorbet with a clove and sprig of mint or basil for an elegant, fresh-picked feel.
Note: If you don’t have sugarplums, any juicy plum should work, the riper and sweeter the better.