Plum sorbet is a gorgeous pink dessert that also tastes incredibly good. Fresh plums are one thing but when they’re made into a fresh, crisp sorbet, they’ll make you rethink everything you know about stone fruit. #Instaworthy.
This plum sorbet recipe is going to change your summer stone fruit strategy. As lovely as fresh plums are out of hand, they’re equally stunning when roasted with sugar and spice and churned into this tartly sweet sorbet.
Curiously, roasting brings out the essence of the plums in a way that makes them taste even more like plums. (Yes, we know what you’re thinking. That plums are at their plummiest when consumed out of hand at the kitchen sink with juice dribbling down your arm. And they are lovely. But to understand what we mean you sorta have to try this sorbet and experience it for yourself.)–David Leite
Plum Sorbet FAQs
Can I substitute other fruits for plums?
Yes, you can absolutely swap things like pluots, nectarines, apricots, or a combination of your favorites in this sorbet recipe. Just be mindful that some stone fruits are sweeter than plums, so the fruits you use will affect your final results. Adjust the amount of simple syrup you’re using as needed.
Why must I roast the fruit before making the ice cream?
Gently roasting the fruits helps in a couple of ways. Roasting helps to break down the fruit into softer pieces, but it also releases the natural sugars and juices in the fruit, which greatly enhances the flavors in your sorbet. It’s a step that just can’t be skipped in this recipe.
Roasted Plum Sorbet
- Ice cream maker (optional)
For the roasted plums
- 1 3/4 pounds ripe red or black plums, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 small cinnamon stick
For the plum sorbet
- Roasted plums (see above)
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
Make the roasted plums
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and adjust the rack to the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet or a roasting pan with parchment paper or foil.
- Cut the plums in half. Don’t worry about removing the pits. Arrange the plums in the prepared pan, cut side up, and sprinkle with the sugar. Split the half vanilla bean in half lengthwise and cut each piece in half again. Tuck the vanilla pieces and cinnamon stick among the plums and roast until the fruit is very tender, juicy, and starting to caramelize at the edges, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the plums cool to room temperature.
Make the plum sorbet
- Grab a spoon and a halved plum and hold them over a bowl. Scoop the fruit from the peel and let the fruit and any juice drop into the bowl. (If you prefer a darker colored, tarter flavored sorbet, you can leave the peel intact.) Repeat with the remaining plums. Discard the skins along with the pits, cinnamon stick, and any vanilla bean pieces. Blend the plums until smooth with an immersion blender or in a food processor. If a silky smooth sorbet is desired, pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Pour the cold water into a saucepan and add the granulated sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 2 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat and add the roasted plum purée. Let cool to room temperature.
- Cover the plum sorbet mixture and place it in the fridge until chilled through, at least 1 hour.
- If you have an ice cream maker, churn the plum sorbet in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at least 20 minutes. Transfer to a resealable container, cover, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. If you don't have an ice cream maker, simply freeze the mixture in a shallow container, such as a roasting pan, whisking it every hour or so to break up the ice crystals. Once the sorbet is frozen, break it into manageable chunks, transfer it to a food processor, and blend until smooth and light. Place in a resealable container, cover, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
- When ready to dive into your plum sorbet, remove it from the freezer and let it rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes prior to scooping and serving.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Plums have always been a favorite summer fruit of mine and this plum sorbet recipe proved to be simple way to enjoy them as a sweet, lightly spiced, refreshing treat. I don’t have an ice cream maker but this recipe was easy enough to make without one.
The recipe states that the pits can be removed after roasting but I found it far easier to remove the pits from firm fruit than from the very soft roasted plums. My red plums were less ripe than desirable and quite tart. The amount of sugar used may need to be adjusted depending on plum quality.
If not using an ice cream maker, I recommend a dish that’s more wide than tall. This allows for more even freezing. I stirred my fruit about once per hour and the sorbet was completely frozen in 3 to 4 hours.
I also roasted extra plums later that night as an accompaniment to roast pork. That time I used of mixture of sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle on the plums and in addition to the vanilla bean I threw a few whole cloves in the pan. Whipping the roasted plums with a fork resulted in a consistency similar to chunky applesauce and eliminated the frequent stirring on the stove that applesauce usually requires.
I tried this plum sorbet recipe because my husband really likes sorbets even though I much prefer ice cream. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I would rank this high among any of the ice creams I’ve ever tried. It was absolutely delicious!
I used pluots instead of plums because when I went to the store that is all I could find and it turned out quite well. However, it was lighter in color—more pink. I chose to leave the skins in and I’m glad I did because it brings out the real fruit in the sorbet.
I chose to just use the whole vanilla bean since I figured any extra vanilla would only add to the sorbet. I scraped the seeds out after roasting and threw them in the puree, which gave it just a little more vanilla flavor.
When I went to chill the sorbet before churning, I left it overnight as I always prefer to be careful that it’s fully chilled. It makes it easier to make it the day before you want it and you can then churn it just before serving.
I churned it in a 1.5 quart ice cream maker for half an hour, thinking it would be plenty large. It worked, but was overflowing some at the end, so if you can make it in a larger bowl, I’d recommend it. It turns out very light and fluffy and expands more than I anticipated. Overall, this recipe is fantastic and I am excited to try it with other fruit. Peaches are the next on the list!
Plum amazing! This very simple recipe delivered the best sorbet I’ve ever made. Fresh fruit in season—exactly why I love making sorbet and ice creams in the summer. I think you could make this with any varietal of plum and have a similarly ethereal result. I found firm red plums (it’s still early, so later I hope to make this with Santa Rosa Plums as well).
The spicing is subtle and with the roasting develops a beautiful flavor. The simple syrup doesn’t interfere with that plummy flavor at all, it just brings it forward. I roasted and puréed the plums the day before, giving the sorbet mixture overnight in the fridge to thoroughly chill. It came out of the ice cream maker with an almost fluffy, marshmallowy texture. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Make space in your freezer for this sorbet, and plan on a repeat while plums are in season. It came out fluffy, a paler shade than the purée, flecked with bits of skin, which also gave a sweet-tart note of their own. If you have extra plums, I would roast them exactly the same way to serve with yogurt or fromage blanc or over homemade vanilla ice cream. Lush as the fresh fruit is, roasting is a flavor multiplier.
We enjoyed this plum sorbet during our first heat wave of the summer. The flavor is a little tart and I found it to be very refreshing. I churned the sorbet for 20 minutes in my hand-crank ice cream freezer, which I think was a little too long because some parts of the mixture were crumbly. However, I loved the flavor and will definitely be making this again.
The roasted plums weren’t terribly sweet. If I wasn’t using them for sorbet, I’d use them with oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, or pound cake. The recipe states that it serves 6 to 8. In our house, it’s more like 4 servings, but we are ice cream and frozen dessert fiends, so maybe in a normal household 6 servings would be reasonable. Once in the freezer, it took 4 hours to firm up completely. In order to scoop it for serving, it needed 10 minutes on the counter at room temperature for best results.
Originally published September 27, 2016
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Elizabeth and Lena Alvarez
This plum sorbet recipe is wonderful. Absolutely delicious. I heard “YUM!” and “In the top ten most delicious tastes of my life!” and “Is there more?” from my taste testers. And it’s gorgeous to serve.
We used black plums and the resulting sorbet was a deep, satisfying, rich dark pink with little dark speckles from the skin.
The roasted plums were caramel-y and wonderful and tart and full of vanilla-cinnamon scents. They’d be fabulous on their own with cream or creme fraiche or ice cream. We prefer our sorbet a bit mushy so we allowed it to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before eating. Highly recommended.