Plums are an interesting fruit, aren't they? The best ones are a study in contradictions: sweet and tart; juicy and yielding beneath a taut skin. And there are so many varieties - my farmstand market had five or six at last count.
My son loves plums, particularly the purplish black ones with the deep red interiors. So, in an effort to encourage my teenager's enthusiasm for snacking on something that is so blatantly good for him, I went a little overboard and bought way more than could be consumed in a reasonable amount of time, even by a perpetually hungry teenage boy. Unfortunately, plums don't stay at the peak of ripeness forever. And a plum on the downward side of ripe is something of a turnoff - they have a tendency to get mealy and that's nobody's idea of good eating. (Well, except for our resident guinea pig, who was transported with delight at having a plum all to himself.)
So, faced with a couple of extra pounds - told you I went overboard - of really nice but rapidly aging plums, I decided to make sorbet. (You know what they say: If life hands you plums . . .) Why add ginger? Because ginger is just such a great complement to plums. Don't believe me? Check out the ingredient lists on some of those Asian-style salad dressings.
You can peel the plums, of course, but this requires blanching them and who wants to do that? Besides, leaving the peels on results in the most amazing color. Instead, just sieve the plum puree to remove the larger pieces of skin. You'll be glad you didn't waste the time blanching and peeling. Enjoy!
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and quartered
6 to 8 purple plums
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
Pinch kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons honey, optional
1. Make a simple syrup flavored with ginger: Combine the water and the sugar in a small saucepan and add the ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let boil one minute, then remove from heat. Cool syrup completely in refrigerator or over an ice bath. Remove and discard ginger pieces.
2. Pit and slice plums. [Recipe note: You should have about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of plum slices.] Place plum slices in food processor with syrup, lemon juice, and salt. Process until pureed. Taste at this point. If too tart, add honey to taste and process again to combine. Pour through a wire-mesh sieve to remove larger pieces of skin.
3. Chill plum puree for a couple of hours. Pour into ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. When finished, place in chilled freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid. Freeze at least 3 hours before eating.
Makes about 1 quart