I am lucky enough that both my parents and in-laws grow quite a lot of their own fruit and vegetables so in exchange for the odd pot of jam or bag of apples and pears from our own garden we often receive a carrier bag full of whatever has been newly harvested. Most recently it has been potatoes, pears, runner beans and damsons; the latter I deliberated for a while as to what I wanted to do with them, it was going to be either jam, gin or sorbet. In the end seeing as I had just made a big batch of blackberry jam I opted to combine the other two options and make damson and gin sorbet.
Damsons are a small plum-like fruit with an intense, astringent flavour that lends itself very well to cooking. This sorbet has one of the most gloriously deep red/purple colours I have ever seen, and the flavour is rich and sharp; the gin means that it stays fairly soft-serve in the freezer and it adds a boozy tang (this one is definitely just for grown-ups). The tartness of the sorbet means that it works incredibly well with sweet, creamy desserts such as meringue, whipped cream or cheesecake, I made a sort of Eton mess with the sorbet, some softly whipped cream, crushed meringue and raspberries, it was heavenly.
Damson And Gin Sorbet
- 1 kg damsons
- 4 tbsp water
- 250 g sugar
- 130 ml water
- 5 tbsp gin
Place the sugar and 130ml water in a pan, heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil and simmer for four minutes then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Damsons are near impossible to stone so to get rid of the stones, place the damsons and 4tbsp water in a separate pan and cook gently until the damsons have softened and broken down. Press the fruit through a sieve or chinois to get rid of the stones, take your time and really scrape it through to get as much fruit puree as possible.
Mix together the damson puree, sugar syrup and gin, cover and refrigerate until completely cold then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.