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Sugarplum Champagne Sorbet

July 26, 2010

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, 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!

Sugarplum Sorbet
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

Simple Syrup
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.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2010 3:47 pm

    this is great! congrats!
    great recipe and photos:)

  2. July 26, 2010 5:17 pm

    Wow! This looks so fantastic!!! I love plums…thank goodness for summer!

  3. July 26, 2010 8:48 pm

    Congrats! Your perseverance made for a beautiful and tasty sorbet! Love the photos! Btw, I also get excited about fresh fruit too which makes my hubby laugh (He’s from the Hudson Valley and grew up picking fruit in his own backyard)

  4. July 26, 2010 9:42 pm

    So beautiful, I love it Liz!

  5. July 26, 2010 10:09 pm

    Oh my!! beautiful presentation. Those sound so refreshing!

  6. July 26, 2010 10:26 pm

    This is soooo gorgeous. I hope you will consider submitting it to ~Kathy

  7. July 26, 2010 10:45 pm

    Oh, those pictures are beautiful!
    Thanks for leaving a comment so that I could find your space.
    And that Sugarplum Sorbet makes me wish we had an ice cream maker in the house, hmm who do I know with an ice cream maker …

  8. July 26, 2010 10:48 pm

    Such stunning presentation!!! and gorgeous photos!

  9. July 27, 2010 12:50 am

    Persistence pays off! Congratulations on being contacted by CBS. The sugar plum sorbet looks divine Liz! (and totally refreshing!)

  10. July 27, 2010 2:15 am

    Your photography is absolutely beautiful! Just lovely.

  11. July 27, 2010 2:30 am

    That looks so refreshing && beautiful pictures.
    I’m having a giveaway on my blog, participate here

  12. July 27, 2010 2:41 am

    Wow! what a cute presentation.

  13. July 27, 2010 4:52 am

    How exhilarating! Congratulations – well deserved recognition!

  14. July 27, 2010 6:13 am

    What a beautiful presentation! I love your photos…and the sorbet sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing

  15. July 27, 2010 2:59 pm

    delizioso il tuo blog,:)

  16. July 27, 2010 7:10 pm

    Awesome!!! What a serving suggestion! perfect and sooooo inspirational😀

  17. July 28, 2010 12:04 am

    this looks SO beautiful and creative! GORGEOUS photos.

  18. July 28, 2010 7:01 pm

    Liz, your photos are absolutely gorgeous – I love every single one of them, esp the first and last ones!!!!!!!

  19. July 29, 2010 12:46 am

    Oh my god. These look so amazingly delicious. And I wonder if I can hit the Brooklyn farmer’s markets in time to get some sugarplums of my own.

  20. judy permalink
    August 3, 2010 7:48 pm


  21. August 5, 2010 4:52 am

    Love, just love the last photo!

  22. August 7, 2010 10:03 pm i want!😀

  23. August 10, 2010 10:23 pm

    Bravo to you! Great work in the CBS request, your work is just beautiful. This sorbet is no exception. And even though it’s winter here, and howling with rain outside, that icy treat remains very tempting in your photographs!!

  24. September 2, 2010 3:17 am

    great photos!!! i put you in my blog list so i can come back as often as i can:) you are my inspiration

  25. October 9, 2010 5:09 pm

    Ohhhhhh, it’s really really cute!!!!!! Your pictures are very nice as well!!!!!!:)

  26. October 9, 2010 10:32 pm

    Nice blog and very nice photos!! Thanks for sharing. Marta

  27. November 2, 2010 11:45 pm

    Excellent composition on those photos, I feel I can taste it just by the looks of it!


  28. PIYUSH JAIN permalink
    November 5, 2010 11:49 pm


  29. October 24, 2012 6:58 am

    great photos


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