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Homemade sorbet has been my jam this summer. With my son needing me to be dairy free (nursing mom problems), non-dairy ice cream being ridiculously expensive, and sorbet ingredients being so simple, it’s an easy go to when I’m craving a frozen dessert. This creamy plum blackberry sorbet is everything I love about plum sorbet and blackberry sorbet in one – sweet, tangy, and silky smooth, with only 5 simple ingredients.
Homemade Sorbet Ingredients
The best part about homemade sorbet is that sorbet ingredients are simple, like silly simple. All you really need is fruit, water, and sugar. You could even argue the water is negotiable depending on the fruit and whether you’re using juice or puree.
That being said, each ingredient does play a pretty key role, and it’s important to use each one in a proper ratio.
Fruit Puree or Juice
Fruit juice, or puree, is the flavor, the big component that literally makes your sorbet tasty. It also affects texture, which is why I generally prefer to use fruit that I’ve pureed over juices.
Because my homemade sorbet recipes use puree rather than juice, the sorbet mixture is naturally thicker and contains the natural pectin that exists in the fruit. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits and vegetables that when combined with sugar can thicken a mixture. That’s how jams and jellies are made for instance. Pectin can also made sorbet creamier! Plums are high in natural pectin, making it a natural combo with blackberries which are low, to create a luscious homemade sorbet.
I don’t know about you, but I like a creamy fruit forward sorbet, so I always start with fresh or frozen fruit that I puree and strain as the base and add water as needed to get the right flavor and viscosity for churning.
Sugar is essential in the freezing process. It inhibits the formation of large crystals (read crunchy icy dessert) and helps smaller crystals (nice creamy sorbet) form as your sorbet churns. Starting with a thicker puree base means I don’t need as much to make my sorbet as creamy, and can really let the natural fruit flavor shine.
Optional ingredients – Lemon
Look there are no hard or fast rules for sorbet (at least I don’t like to think so!). I’ve seen sorbet recipes made with ingredients like fruit preserves and they’re tasty in their own way! For my tastes, I usually add some lemon juice to my sorbet recipes. This plum blackberry sorbet, and my strawberry sorbet both use just a touch of lemon that brightens the fruit flavors and cuts the sweetness.
Making Homemade Sorbet
Sadly no matter how I’ve tried, making sorbet is not something I can start and eat within an hour. If you’re looking for a blackberry dessert you can make more quickly, maybe check out my pecan blackberry cake, for this recipe however, patience is key. But don’t freak out! It’s a lot of waiting, and almost no actual work on your part!
Step 1 – Make your Sorbet Base
Okay, actually…before you make your base, put your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer. I usually do this the night before so it’s ready when I am. However! If you forget, just pop it in when you remember, the base will keep in the fridge for 24 hours.
To make the base, just pop all your berries, sliced plums, and water in a blender or food processor. Puree until very smooth, in my ninja blender this is usually about 1 minute of blending on high. Then pour the puree through a strainer set over a medium saucepan to get rid of all the seeds and pulp.
Pro tip: The puree will strain much faster if you drag a rubber spatula back and forth across the bottom. This prevents seeds and pulp from clogging the mesh holes. Don’t forget to scrape the underside of the strainer when you’re done to get all the puree!
You’ve strained the mixture enough when you’re left with a thick, pulpy mixture of mostly seeds. Ditch the strainer to the sink, add your sugar and lemon juice to the pan and place it over a medium low burner. Then stir gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Pop it in the fridge! You want it to chill at least 1 hour, up to 24, to allow for proper churning and freezing.
Step 2 – Churn Baby Churn!
Once your ice cream maker base has frozen for the correct amount of time dictated by your manufacturer, and your sorbet base is cool, you’re ready to make some sorbet!
I find churning easiest for my personal model, a Cuisinart 1.5 Quart, if I assemble my ice cream maker and turn it on so the bowl is spinning while I ladle the sorbet base into it. This usually prevents less sorbet stuck to the sides. Easier cleanup, better yield, it’s a win win!
Then you really just let it do it’s thing! Mine takes between 15 to 20 minutes, and I just turn it off, pull out the plastic churn, scrape it clean, and empty my beautiful plum blackberry sorbet into some freezer safe containers. I’m a particular fan of these mini cups, they’re great for portion control and they’re adorable miniature ice cream tubs. Pop them in the freezer and let your sorbet chill out for at least an hour before eating, that’s it!
(I won’t tell if you just eat it right then and there too….)
Can I leave the Lemon Out?
Yes! Most of my taste testers preferred the sorbet with it, but my husband preferred it without. It’s a more intense sweetness without, but if that works for you, go for it!
DO I need an Ice cReam Churn?
SO ice cream and sorbet and gelato has been made for a lot longer than electronic ice cream makers have existed (and probably longer than hand crank ones too), so technically yes, you can. This requires you to place the sorbet base in a shallow freezer safe container and freeze, stirring it every 20 minutes or so for a few hours to break up the ice crystals manually.
I don’t do this because my $50 ice cream maker investment has been worth every penny. I’ve saved money on making rather than buying gourmet ice cream, and it frees up time. BUT, if you want to, go for it, and just be aware it will likely not be quite as creamy as it would be made with a churn.
How do I use Frozen Fruit?
Frozen fruit works great if thawed first. This just helps the blender extract as much juice as possible for the puree. If you try to blend it frozen you’ll need more water and that will dilute flavor. Just let the fruit thaw in the fridge, or gently warm in a pot before blending and following the remaining steps.
How long will it last in the freezer?
It’s never lasted this long but you can store them for 2 months without any loss of quality. After that the texture may be affected.
Eat and ENjoy!
Like I said simple right? Overall, you’re active for maybe twenty minutes? That’s a laid back recipe if I ever saw one! Plus you now have a freezer full of this beautiful sorbet you get to eat!
I hope you get a chance to make this before the summer ends, while plums and blackberries are still abundant and fresh, but if not, just pop into the freezer section, grab some frozen fruit and laugh at the $5 pints you won’t be missing. I’d love to hear what you think but until then, Happy Eating!
- 15 ounces blackberries
- 3 medium plums 10 ounces
- 8 ounces water
- 7 ounces white sugar 1 cup
- 1 tbs lemon juice 1 lemon, juiced
Freeze ice cream maker bowl according to manufacturers instructions.
Pit and slice plums into wedges. Place in blender with blackberries and water and blend until smooth.
Pour puree through fine mesh sieve set over a saucepan. Repeat until all the seeds and thick pulp have been strained out.
Place the strained puree over medium heat and add in sugar and lemon juice. Stir until mixture has warmed enough to dissolve all the sugar.
Transfer the puree into a bowl and cover. Chill in fridge for at least one hour, up to 24 hours.
When ice cream maker bowl has been frozen for necessary time and sorbet base is chilled assemble your ice cream maker and add in the base.
Let ice cream maker churn until sorbet is thick and smooth, time will depend on your ice cream maker, between 10 minutes to 20.
Either eat immediately (will be more like soft serve), or portion into freezer safe containers and freeze at least 1 hour before eating.