Last week one morning instead of working, I grabbed a bucket, a hat, and long sleeve shirt and went out to seek my treasure. Just look what I found!
I’d like to talk about the idyllic setting of the berry patch, but I can’t. These berries came from a stand of canes right beside a busy Maryland highway near my house. So the whole time I picked, cars and trucks kept whizzing by. I just kept picking though, and collected almost 1 1/2 quarts in an hour.
To celebrate my good fortune, I created this Blackberry-Plum sorbet. It’s about as close as I will ever come to catching the essence of summer in a bowl. Sweet-tart, vibrant, intensely fruity, and utterly refreshing, it was just perfect for savoring in the shade of my deck.
High Summer Blackberry-Plum Sorbet
There are two good reasons to add plums to a blackberry sorbet: They are a clever way to stretch the berries when you don’t have enough. Even more important, underripe, unpeeled plums have a lot of pectin, which helps keep the sorbet pleasantly smooth in texture and readily “scoopable” even when stored a week or more.
Tip: If your berries are extremely tart, you may want to increase the sugar by a tablespoon or two. For best texture, don’t reduce the sugar to under 3/4 cup.
3 cups blackberries
2 medium underripe, tart red or black plums (unskinned), pitted and chopped
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (yellow part of the peel) or 4 or 5 lavender flower heads
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Thoroughly stir together the blackberries, plums, 1 cup water, sugar, and lemon zest (or lavender flower heads) in a large, non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, then adjust the heat so the mixture boils gently until the berries and plums are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat; let cool.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 24 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing down hard to extract as much pulp as possible. Process the strained mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place in a storage container and freeze, airtight, until firmed up at least 2 hours, and up to a week.
Makes 1 generous quart.