So I thought it was about time I added some of my favourite recipes to the ice creams & sorbets category. It was easy to pick a flavour as I had the most gorgeous, dark skinned and ruby red fleshed plums. They were screaming to become a beautifully smooth sorbet.
Sorbet is a frozen dessert made with fruit juices or purees and contains no dairy or eggs. Traditionally served during meal, between courses to freshen and cleanse the palette. As the main ingredient is fruit, it has to be the best we can get our hands on; it should be mature, seasonal and fresh.
Sorbet is one of the easiest frozen desserts to make. For a really good sorbet, as I said before, you’ve got to get the best fruit and you need to make sure to use the right amount of sugar. Since there isn’t any ingredients like egg yolks or starch to give it texture, sugar has to do it all by itself. When you add sugar to water it will have a lower freezing point which means that it will never get solid. That’s exactly how we want our sorbet to be, with a consistency that’s easy to scoop right out of the freezer. In professional kitchens a tool called a refractometer is used to determine there is enough sugar in the sorbet mix. But don’t just go in search of one as we can manage without. The general ratio is 4 cups fruit puree to 1 cup sugar, but this will vary slightly depending on the fruit you use and the sweetness of it. The amount of sugar can be lowered if the fruit is very sweet, fibrous or high in pectin. Too little sugar will result in a rock hard sorbet and too much of it will mean that it will never freeze to the consistency we desire. %20-%30 ratio should be ideal.
Sorbets made with fruits high in pectin (plums, apricots, peaches etc.), and the fibrous ones (banana, mango, fig, pear etc.) will have a creamy consistency very similar to ice cream. As the pectin and fibres in fruits ensure a thicker puree which helps with the texture of the sorbet. Fruits with high water content and little or no pectin/fibre, like pomegranates and watermelon, will produce a thin and icy sorbet that might need more sugar to achieve a better consistency. But the most difficult fruit of all has to be ‘lemon’, as it’s juice has no pectin and is very sour that it needs quite a bit of sugar.
Commercially/professionally made sorbets will almost always contain corn syrup or glucose as they ensure a very creamy texture. I personally add some honey to the mix but not so much that it will come through too much and effect the taste.
- 2 pounds red fleshed plums (blackdoris? not sure) pitted weight
- 2 Tbs brown sugar
- a pinch of salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 gr)
- ¾ cup water (180 ml)
- ½ cup honey (170 gr)
- a few drops of lemon juice
- 1-2 Tbs vodka
- Preheat the oven to 390 F (200 C).
- Place halved plums on a baking sheet, sprinkle with 2 Tbs of brown sugar and a pinch of salt.
- Cook in the middle rack for 20-30 mins until they soften and release their juices.
- Place the water and sugar in a little saucepan and bring to boil. Once the sugar is dissolved add in the honey and leave to cool.
- Puree the plums with a stick blender and pass through a fine sieve if you like it very smooth like I do : ).
- Mix the plum puree with the simple syrup, add in a few drops of lemon juice to balance the flavour and chill for 4-5 hours or overnight.
- Once your mixture is nicely chilled add in 1-2 Tbs of vodka and churn in your ice cream maker.
- When the sorbet is ready, place in a sealed container and in the freezer for a few hours.
- If you don't have an ice cream machine, pour the mixture in a wide dish and place in the freezer for a couple of hours or until a little frozen.
- Transfer the semi frozen sorbet in your food processor and whizz for 10-15 secs to break the ice chrystals and place back in the freezer. You can do this with a stick blender without the need to change the dish.
- Repeat for a couple more times for better texture.
It will keep in the freezer up to a couple of months if kept in a sealed container.