Plum Sorbet with Cardamom, Ginger and Vanilla

August  3, 2010
3 Ratings
Photo by AntoniaJames
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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.)
  1. 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.
  2. Pit and quarter the plums. Puree in a food processor until the pieces of skin are very small.
  3. Add the sugar syrup and pulse for a few seconds to mix. Add the cardamom and ginger and pulse four or five times.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the vanilla, if using, and process for a few seconds to combine. Taste again and add more, if you want.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Enjoy!
  9. 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)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • healthierkitchen
  • lapadia
  • lastnightsdinner
  • dymnyno
  • TheWimpyVegetarian

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

26 Reviews

healthierkitchen August 12, 2010
Yum, Antonia James! I can't wait to make this.
AntoniaJames August 12, 2010
Thank you! I hope you do, and that you enjoy it. ;o)
lapadia August 9, 2010
I love sweet and tart, beautiful if only the sun would shine up here in the PacNW!
AntoniaJames August 12, 2010
Thank you (somewhat belatedly . . . this one slipped by me somehow). Hope you've gotten some sunshine. We were overcast and chilly all day yesterday, and it's been unusually cool all summer here, with many more days staying cold and overcast until noon, so I (sort of) know the feeling. ;o)
lastnightsdinner August 6, 2010
What a lovely, elegant dessert. Love the combination of flavors here.
AntoniaJames August 6, 2010
Thank you! It is a great combination The sweet-tart flavor of the plums makes it all work, plus the fact all of the flavoring ingredients have about the same degree of strength/boldness. ;o)
dymnyno August 4, 2010
AJ, your sorbet looks gorgeous!! I think opinions about the weather are all's 86 up here and we think we are having a cold spell!
TheWimpyVegetarian August 4, 2010
We're about 20-30 degrees cooler than that, and no sun in sight as I look out the window. Makes for dreary days. Sounds like we should all be heading to your place!
TheWimpyVegetarian August 3, 2010
Brilliant!! We just got back home and I've been thinking of making plum sorbet and plum ice creams all week. I love the use of cardamom here. Just wonderful! I'm going to take a stab of making mine hopefully tomorrow.
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
Welcome back. Have fun with whatever you make today! Hope it's warmer up there, as it is cold, cold, cold this side of the tunnel!
TheWimpyVegetarian August 4, 2010
I've lost count of the mornings we've had to put the heat on to warm the house up a bit over the last month! We're lucky if the cold, drizzly fog burns off by early afternoon. Tahoe, on the other hand, was sunny sunny sunny with perfect temps!
themissingingredient August 3, 2010
Looks especially yummy on a hot day. It is a verry beautiful dessert!
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
Thanks! It hasn't been very hot here this past week or so, but even so, we've enjoyed this sorbet, and the others I've made. I went out of my way to find some organic burgundy plums, to give it that deep rich color. ;o)
Sagegreen August 3, 2010
What a gorgeous presentation! Love the glass, too, not to overlook that color and those flavors.
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
Thanks so much. I took about ten shots, and after the third or fourth, the stem of that glass started looking really smudged . . . but of course, I didn't realize that until the photos were uploaded. Alas, we live and learn. I did pick the shot with the best light refraction on the crystal. ;o)
Lizthechef August 3, 2010
Lovely photo and recipe!
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
Thank you, Lizthechef! Waterford on a matte black Steinway O makes just about anything look great . . . tried your plum butter recipe last night. Will add a comment to that recipe page. ;o)
WinnieAb August 3, 2010
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
Thanks, WinnieAb. I've been drooling over that photo of your hazelnut custard tart. . . . . ;o)
drbabs August 3, 2010
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
Yours looks and sounds so yummy, too! Been thinking for weeks about a sorbet using Prosecco . . . . ;o)
drbabs August 4, 2010
And I was thinking of using cardamom in mine, but my husband prefers cinnamon so i used it instead! Mind meld week!
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
I sometimes use both cinnamon and cardamom, but felt it would be just too much, with the ginger, and the vanilla. My plum jam usually has a touch of cinnamon and a tiny pinch of cardamom. The ginger tends to get lost in the jam cooking process, but I may try adding crystallized, next time . . . a great idea picked up from Lizthechef. ;o)
AntoniaJames August 3, 2010
Thank you so much, Sunchowder! I just posted a photo. I'm making myself a smoothie for lunch. Can't wait. ;o)
Sunchowder August 3, 2010
This looks really delish Antonia...and I have plums in my fridge....:)
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
Thank you, Sunchowder! It tastes delish, too, she said (modestly). ;o)