My husband—a native New Englander—insists that the time to eat ice cream is winter, not summer. So, now that there’s a chill in the air, he’s craving frozen treats. Since this is an excuse to pull out yet another gadget from the pantry, I am happy to oblige.
Sorbets are basically a frozen purée of fruit in simple syrup, with optional flavors added. The catch is that, since they’re fat free, they tend to freeze into a solid mass of fruit ice. Commerical sorbets contain stabilizers and emulsifiers to solve this problem, but the home cook has a simpler solution: booze. Adding just a single tablespoon of alcohol to a quart of sorbet before you freeze it will keep the texture scoopable by lowering the freezing point. If alcohol is a problem for you, I encourage you to experiment with adding egg whites instead—I’ve never tried it myself, but I’ve seen the technique described in Italian cookbooks.
This recipe is basically the one in David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, only re-written in a way that makes sense to me. It’s a great book for flavors, but for reasons that aren’t clear to me, I find his directions confusing (too much information, I think). Here’s a streamlined version:
Raspberry Plum Sorbet
1 pound plums
1 c. water
2/3 c. sugar (more or less, to taste)
3/4 c. raspberries (fresh or frozen; if frozen in sugar, add less sugar)
1 T agreeable alcohol (he recommends 1 t. kirsch; I used rum. Something flavorless, like vodka, will always work.)
1) Pit the plums, cut them in large pieces, and cook them in the water until tender. Add the sugar and raspberries; stir to dissolve the sugar.
2) Purée, then strain if the raspberry seeds or plum skims bother you.
3) Chill thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker.