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.
- 1kg damsons
- 4 tbsp water
- 250g sugar
- 130ml 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.