I often put just a hint of cardamom and cinnamon in my plum jam. Cardamom holds up well to the bold flavor of plums, so here's a sorbet recipe that uses not only cardamom, but an assertive counterpart, fresh ginger. A bit of vanilla adds a pleasant depth, but is optional. As I do when making jam, I use a combination of slightly underripe and fully ripe fruit. A couple of burgundy plums -- the ones with the black skin and dark red flesh -- give the sorbet a good, rich color. This recipe doesn't call for much sugar, so add more to taste, if you don't like it quite so tart. How much you need will depend on how tart your plums are. There can be a lot of variation in the sweetness of plums, so use your judgment. This mixture, frozen or just kept in the fridge (for up to a day or two) makes a splendid smoothie with vanilla or plain yogurt. Aren't the flavors of summer wonderful?! Enjoy!! - AntoniaJames —AntoniaJames
Test Kitchen Notes
This is a lovely, adult sorbet. The ginger, cardamom and vanilla are assertive but the plums hold their own. I used a combination of black and red plums and the dark flecks of skin melted right in to the smooth, fuchsia sorbet. - Kristen —The Editors
1 1/4 pounds of plums, any variety
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
2-3 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional) (Please see note, below.)
Make a simple syrup using 1/4 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of boiling water. Drop an ice cube or two in it, and let it cool in the refrigerator while you prepare the fruit.
Pit and quarter the plums. Puree in a food processor until the pieces of skin are very small.
Add the sugar syrup and pulse for a few seconds to mix. Add the cardamom and ginger and pulse four or five times.
Test and add more cardamom, ginger or sugar -- just add a few tablespoons of granulated sugar and process for another minute or so, if you need more sweetener -- to taste.
Add the vanilla, if using, and process for a few seconds to combine. Taste again and add more, if you want.
If using a frozen dessert maker, proceed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Midway through the process, taste test again and add more cardamom or ginger, if necessary.
You can also just put the sorbet in a large covered bowl in the freezer, and whisk it well every hour until it's frozen. Before freezing, you should whirr it in your food processor for an extra minute or two, to add more air, which will improve the texture.
N.B. About four months ago, I was introduced to the wonders of Mexican vanilla here on food52, in Texas chicki's recipe called "Aunt T's Vanilla Pudding." It has utterly transformed my take on vanilla extracts. Mexican vanilla (the one I use, in any event), has deep woodsy notes. Its strong flavor holds its own in this recipe. If you can get Mexican vanilla, for this or any other recipe, I encourage you to do so. If you can't get it, use the best Madagascar vanilla you can find. ;o)
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)