By the middle of August, we couldn’t remember how it felt not to stick together. Knees and elbows pasted. At night we’d climb to the roof with our five-gallon buckets, splashing our feet as we watered the strawberries. We lit candles under gibbous moons.
You said once that you don’t need to tell me that you love me because you show me every day. I let it go, because I, too, am better at feeling without talking. Y porque todavía no sé las palabras, aunque estoy tratando de aprender. I made you this to remind you of home. Ciruelas tan rojas como mi corazón, solo un poco más frías.
There’s an ingredient in the list you may not expect and may object to on principle. Sorbet is a delicate balance of chemistry and physics, and the corn syrup in this recipe is there for a reason: Sugar plays a key role by lowering the freezing point of the liquid to create a creamy texture. Corn syrup, which is highly viscous and less sweet than sugar, helps to keep sorbets from becoming icy. The amount in this recipe works out to be less than a teaspoon per serving and is worth the sacrifice.
Test Kitchen Notes
Recipe excerpt from Fruit Cake by Jason Schreiber. © 2020 by Jason Schreiber. Used with permission by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. —The Editors
- Prep time 20 hours 30 minutes
- Cook time 15 minutes
- Serves 8 to 10
- For the Roasted Plums
firm-ripe red or black plums, pitted and quartered (about 570 grams)
(80 grams) granulated sugar
- For the Horchata Sorbet & Assembly
1 1/2 cups
(267 grams) white jasmine rice, uncooked
(13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
(212 grams) granulated sugar
(63 grams) corn syrup
(7.5 grams) ground cinnamon
(1.5 grams) coarse salt
(186 grams) coarsely crumbled graham crackers (gluten-free, if desired), for serving
- Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C) with a rack in the center position.
- Toss the plums with the sugar and salt and arrange them, skin sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the skins loosen and the flesh is very soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Toss them around a bit toward the end. Scrape the plums and their juice into a medium heatproof bowl, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In another medium bowl, combine the rice with 2 cups (500 milliliters) cold water. Cover and refrigerate overnight, too.
- The next day, with clean hands, remove and discard the skins from the plums. Use a fork or a potato masher to break up any large chunks of plum that didn’t fall apart in the oven, but leave some pieces for texture. Keep chilled.
- Transfer the rice and water to a blender and purée on high speed until the rice is almost completely dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag into a large bowl and squeeze the bag to recover as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. (If you’ve used a high-speed blender, there will be almost none.)
- Return the rice milk to the blender. Add the coconut milk, sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Purée on high speed until the sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds. Chill the sorbet base for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- While you wait, line a 10x5-inch loaf pan with a double layer of plastic film or freezer paper, leaving about 2 inches overhanging the sides of the pan to create a sling. Spread about a third of the roasted plums and their juice in the bottom of the pan and scatter a quarter of the graham cracker pieces on top. Place in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 1 hour. This serves the dual purposes of pre-chilling the pan and guaranteeing you’ll find a spot for it in the freezer later.
- Freeze the sorbet base in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be prepared to work quickly to assemble the cake the moment the sorbet is ready.
- Spread about a third of the horchata sorbet into the pre-chilled pan. Scatter another third of the plums and quarter of the graham crackers on top of the sorbet, then quickly layer with another third of sorbet, the remaining plums, and another quarter of the graham crackers. Top with the final third of sorbet and the remaining graham crackers. Immediately transfer to the freezer and chill for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
- When you’re ready to serve, use the sling to pull the cake out of the mold. It may be helpful to let the cake warm up slightly if it appears to be firmly stuck in place. (You can dip the pan in a bowl of warm water if need be.) Invert the cake onto a serving platter and remove the sling. Use a sharp knife to cut crosswise into slices and serve immediately. Store in the freezer, wrapped, for up to 2 weeks.