Do you ever feel like you’re running as fast as you can, but you’re not getting anywhere? Well, that’s what book research on a tight deadline feels like, too. The hamster-effect [pun intended] that is microbial research has driven me to the fruit. No, I’m not considering an academic degree, I just want to tell you with authority why it’s safe to step away from the Clorox.
It’s also summer. Fruit is unavoidable. Last Friday, Doris the Goat trekked back over to my friend Liz and me, where the three of us picked blueberries side-by-side for hours and where Liz and I were still picking, and dropped a small, sweet plum into each of our hands. We’d already said our goodbye’s, but Doris wanted to be sure we didn’t miss the plum trees in our day of picking. Boy, am I glad she did.
That explosive plum literally disintegrated in my mouth as soon as my teeth pierced the skin; it also caused me and Liz to make a detour before heading over to the peach fields. I picked 4 quart bins’ worth and about 30 more plums that never made it into the bins, ones I consumed while standing precariously on a three-legged ladder with my head up a tree’s skirt.
Riding home in Liz’s car, I panicked a little. It seemed like I could never use nor eat that many plums. Fast-forward through a couple hot days in my kitchen: and then there was jam, plum crumble, and of course handfuls of fresh, local plums every time I passed within 5 feet of the fridge.
The heat wave enveloping the east coast right now wouldn’t grant me permission for more jam. So I sprang for sorbet.Owning David Lebovitz’s book, Ready for Dessert makes me feel like I’ve hit The Bigtime every time I open it. There are, of course, a few largely complex recipes that I have no patience for, but most of recipes in the book are simple enough and (gasp) modifiable.
That’s exactly what I did (i.e. latched-on to his most basic sorbet recipe and made it my own.) I’m not sorry; the results were totally delicious.
Plum ginger sorbet
yield 2-quart yogurt container full of frozen deliciousness
2lbs whole plums
1 cup sugar (I think you could use less if it’s a concern, somewhere between 1/2 and 1 cup will probably turn out marvellously; also, I used raw sugar)
2 tsp lemon juice strained
2 Tbs vodka
3 large slivers of raw ginger (each about the size and thickness of a silver dollar)
1. Pit plums over a large, heavy bottomed pot (so you don’t lose any juice!)
2. Add sugar, stir it around until it all dissolves and then put pot over med low heat to cook down the plums a bit. You can mash them with a potato masher to speed the process. The plums dissolve after exposure to heat, and you’ll be left with small chunks of shriveled skins*.
3. Add lemon juice and vodka, and don’t forget to taste it. Add more lemon if you’d like. Transfer mixture to a med-sized bowl.
4. Drop in secret weapon: raw ginger slivers, and place bowl in the fridge overnight (or for at least 8 hours.)
5. Remove and discard the three ginger slivers when you’re ready to churn it up in your ice cream maker (or stand mixer attachment, like me!) Taste it again; this is pretty much what your sorbet will taste like when frozen.
*My sorbet philosophy inlcudes chunks. If you’re a chunk-free sorbet-ista, I suppose you could add some sort of straining process.
There’s not much you could do to mess this up, which is precisely why I love it. Fool-proof sorbet.
I’d love to hear about machine-less sorbet methods, if that’s what you do. I got the mixer attachment ordeal for my birthday, so I never had to do it that way.