My family in Italy live close to the seaside town of Grado, which is hugely popular with Austrian and German tourists as well as Italians. Every time I visit, I go back to the same gelataria and sample the new flavours. The last time I was there in summer I had a plum sorbet, which was very seasonal and very refreshing.
A splash of amaretto is added to the final churn of this ice-cream, inspired by the wonderous combination of plums and almonds.
- 230 g (8 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- ½ vanilla bean (or ½ tsp vanilla bean paste)
- 800 g (1 lb 12 oz) large ripe blood or mariposa red plums, stoned and roughly chopped
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp amaretto (or more or less, to taste)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Infusing time: 3 hours
Chilling time: 2 hours
Freezing time: 3 hours
You will need an ice-cream machine.
Dissolve the sugar in 250 ml (8½ oz/1 cup) water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Transfer to a heatproof jug and add the vanilla bean. Set aside in the fridge for at least 3 hours for the water to chill and the vanilla bean to infuse. When ready, remove the vanilla bean and dry for another use.
Heat the plums in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat until the plums soften. Set aside to cool a little, then slip the skins off.
Place the plum pulp in a food processor and pulse until smooth (it may be quite liquidy). You want to have about 650 g (1 lb 7 oz) of plum pulp. Transfer to a bowl and set aside in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours.
Place an airtight container in the freezer to chill.
Combine the plums with 300 ml (10 fl oz) of the sugar syrup and add the lemon juice. Pour into an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the mixture is well chilled beforehand, it should churn to the right consistency in about 45 minutes. Pour in the amaretto (as much or as little as desired – or you can even omit it) and give it a final churn.
Transfer the sorbet to the chilled container and place in the freezer. The alcohol increases the freezing temperature so it will take a little longer to set. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
If you leave it overnight to freeze, remove from the freezer 10–15 minutes before serving.
This recipe is from Italian Street Food. (Smith Street Books). Photography by Paola Bacchia.