Making sorbet is truly simple these days with the inexpensive ice-cream machines now available. The trick to making a smooth and creamy sorbet is in the ratio of liquid to sugar. Too much liquid and an ice block results. Too much sugar and a slushy results. If you’re using canned fruit, buy the unsweetened kind. Unsweetened canned fruit is sweet enough on its own so additional sugar is not necessary.
The addition of wine or spirits is another way to ensure your sorbet will not freeze rock hard. However, too much wine or alcohol will produce a slush rather than a sorbet. Add just enough to impart a perfume and enhance the fruit flavors.
If the sorbet is too hard right out of the freezer let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before scooping it. The sorbet should be smooth and creamy, not crunchy, when it melts on your tongue. Optimally, sorbet is best served within 12 hours. Though it will keep for several weeks in the freezer the fruit flavors will start to fade after a week. Sorbet doesn’t stand a chance of sitting in my freezer for a week and I’ll bet it the same for you.
If you don’t have an ice-cream machine simply pour the mixture into a flat metal cake tin and freeze it for 2 hours. Crush the ice crystals with a wooden spoon until its smoothe or whirl it in a food processor for a few seconds. Repeat this process a couple times and check for texture. It should be a creamy not crunchy spoonful of fruity ice. Scoop the sorbet into a freezer safe container with a tight fitting lid and freeze until ready to serve.
The addition of dried fruit stewed or steeped in hot water will intensify the fruity flavors and add sugar. So 5 or 6 dried plums (prunes) stewed with 4 to 6 fresh plums will produce an intense plum flavor and because dried fruit is very sweet the amount of sugar can be reduced.
The recipes below are simple, inexpensive and do-able any time of the year.
Port Plum Sorbet from Canned Plums
- 2 cups canned dark plums with juice (14 oz can)
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 Tbsp Tawney Port wine
Pit the plums if necessary. Puree plums with juices and port wine in a blender. Freeze in ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop the finished product into freezer safe containers and continue to freeze for 1 or 2 hours. This is excellent with a scoop of French vanilla ice-cream and almond tuilles.
Port Plum Sorbet from Fresh and Dried Plums
- 6 fresh plums
- 6 dried plums (pitted prunes)
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp Tawney Port wine
Place plums and prunes in water over medium high heat, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, simmer until plums are soft and liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes. The pits should come away from the plums easily, if not continue stewing. Let cool, remove pits from plums. Pour the plums, prunes and stewing liquid into a blender, add sugar and wine. puree until smooth. Chill the puree and freeze with or without an ice-cream machine.