Black-Plum Sorbet With Honey and Thyme

To make a sorbet is to perform alchemy, to transform a perfectly ripe, sweet piece of fruit into a distillate of itself. These are lofty words for a simple process, which boils down to making a plum purée and a honey-thyme syrup, mixing them together and freezing the whole thing. The pinch of ascorbic acid, or vitamin-C powder, is there to prevent browning of the fruit. As always when it comes to sorbets, use the best fruit you can find.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup, plus 1 tablespoon, granulated sugar
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ pounds very ripe black plums (approximately 6 plums)
  • Pinch of ascorbic acid (vitamin-C powder, or simply pulverize a vitamin-C tablet using a mallet)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey

    8 to 10 servings

    Preparation

    To make the syrup:

    1. Dissolve the sugar in 1/2 cup water over medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and add the thyme sprigs, pressing them under the surface of the syrup. Allow them to steep for 1 hour.
    2. Meanwhile, peel and pit the plums, chopping them coarsely as you do. Combine the plums, about 1/3 of the skin, the ascorbic acid and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
    3. Remove the thyme sprigs from the syrup and stir in the honey until dissolved. Pour 1/2 cup of the honey-thyme syrup into the plum mixture and process until blended. Taste the mixture; it should be sweet, but not intensely so. If plums were underripe, you might need to add a little more syrup. Pour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before churning in an ice-cream maker. Set up to finish in the freezer.

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