Choose firm tangy plums or pluouts with plenty of flavor—the kind that are a tad sour near the skin. The mellower oval French or Italian prune plums are not right here. The sorbet is delicious made with water, but if you have fresh, unsprayed old roses (the more the scent, the more the flavor, they say), or rose geraniums in your yard, by all means replace the regular water with water infused with their petals or leaves. Either way, a little bottled rose water adds an extra layer of rose flavor and scent. The color of the sorbet with vary from deep magenta to almost peachy, depending on your plums!
Halve, pit, and cut enough plums into 1 1/2 inch chunks to measure 3 lightly packed cups (21 ounces/575 grams). Put plum pieces into a saucepan big enough to hold them mostly in one layer. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice.
Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer covered, gently for 8 minutes. Off heat, stir in 1 1/2 cups of water (or rose-infused water).
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree as smooth as possible. Strain the puree using a medium fine strainer to eliminate bits of skin. Press on the solids and scrape the bottom of the strainer to capture all of the liquid. Stir in the rose water and a pinch of salt.
Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Taste and adjust the rose water, lemon juice, sugar, and salt if necessary.
Churn, following the instructions with your ice cream maker.
To make rose petal infused water: (Choose roses with plenty of scent for the most flavor.) Simmer 1 ounce (1 lightly packed cup) fresh unsprayed or organic rose petals with 2 cups water for 5 minutes in a covered saucepan. Strain the mixture, reserving the juice. Discard the petals. Use 1 1/2 cups of the rose liquid (adding water as necessary to make the measure) in place of water.
To make rose geranium leaf infused water: Pour a generous 1 1/2 cups boiling water over 1 lightly packed cup of fresh rose geranium leaves. Cover and let steep for at least 10 minutes—or as long as you like. Discard the leaves. Use 1 1/2 cups rose of the geranium leaf water in place of plain water.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).