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Sorbets are cooperative.  They may be made days in advance of a lunch or dinner party and the ice cream machine does most of the work.

Sorbets are accomodating.  A single, brief set of steps produces all flavours.  If one fruit is not in season, another will do.  One cup of water or some other liquid, one cup of sugar and two cups of pureed fruit (strained or not) will turn into a good sorbet.  And adding some liquer, vodka–or rum, for those who like it– will not be amiss–it will only improve the sorbet’s frozen texture.

Sorbets lend themselves to experimentation.  It is fun to try different combinations of fruit, liquor and spices.

Notwithstanding their easy ways, sorbets are interesting.  A Parfait of Plum and Red Currant Sorbets with Vanilla Ice Cream and Ground Walnuts will not be a perfunctory end to an occasion.

Parfaits of Homemade Plum and Red Currant Sorbets, Vanilla Ice Cream and Sugared Ground Walnut Topping (for 6 people, and easily for more or fewer by changing the quantities of sorbet and ice cream mixture you make)

A Note:  Sorbet and ice cream mixtures have to have plenty of time to cool before they are frozen in the ice cream maker.  They also need at least a few hours to firm up in the freezer after they are processed in the ice cream maker.

Ingredients for Plum and Cassis Sorbet:

  • 1 cup of Sugar
  • 1 cup of Water
  • about 1 and 1/2 pounds of Dark Purple Plums, each one pitted and cut into several pieces
  • 1/4 cup of Creme de Cassis (Black Currant Liquer)

Ingredients for Red Currant Sorbet:

  • 1 cup of Sugar
  • 1 cup of Red Wine
  • 2 cups of Red Currants
  • 1 Stick of Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vodka

Ingredients for the Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream: 1/2 of the diplomatickitchen’s recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream is used to make the Parfaits.  The complete instructions for the ice cream are here in a previous post, but, for convenience, the ingredients for a 1/2 recipe are listed below:

  • 3/4 cup of Milk
  • 1/2 cup of Sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of Heavy Cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon of Vanilla

Ingredients for Sugared Ground Walnuts: Instructions for the Walnuts are here in the diplomatickitchen’s recipe for Hungarian Chocolate Crepes ~ Gundel’s style.

  • about 1 cup of Walnuts
  • about 1/2 cup of Sugar

Equipment:

  • a Blender or Food Processor
  • a Sieve (necessary for making the Red Currant Sorbet, and optional for the Plum)
  • a Pot with a heavy bottom
  • an Ice Cream Maker

Suggested Utensils and Glassware for serving:

  • an ice cream scoop
  • long-stemmed glasses
  • long-handled spoons

I.  Making the Plum and Cassis Sorbet

1.  Combine the sugar and water in a pot and dissolve the sugar, stirring, over medium heat.  Bring the sugar water to a boil and reduce it to about 1 cup of syrup.  Refrigerate it until it is cold.

2.  Puree the cut-up plums in the blender or food processor.  The Plum Sorbet in the photos is made from unstrained plums, but straining them is certainly an option.  Mix them with the cold syrup and add the Creme de Cassis.

3.  Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and make the sorbet.  

5.  Transfer the sorbet to a freezer container and firm it up in the freezer for at least a few hours–preferably longer.  If the freezer is a very cold one, the sorbet may become quite hard, even though it contains liquer.  In that case, take it out to soften for a few minutes before making the parfaits.

II.  Making the Red Currant Sorbet:

1.  Combine the red wine and sugar in the pot, and melt the sugar, stirring, over medium heat.  Bring the sweet red wine to a boil and reduce it to about 1 cup.  Add the cinnamon stick and chill the syrup in the refrigerator.

2.  Puree the currants in the blender or processor and strain them through a sieve into a bowl. 

3.  Mix them into the cold sweet wine syrup.  Add the Vodka.  (The Vodka doesn’t add flavour in this instance and isn’t supposed to..It doesn’t freeze and so improves the texture of the sorbet by making it less grainy).  Put the sorbet mixture into the ice cream maker and make the sorbet.  When it is done, put the sorbet in a freezer container and let it harden for a couple of hours or longer.  (Again, whether the sorbet needs a little time to soften before making the Parfaits depends on how cold the freezer is in which the sorbet hardens.)

III. Making the Vanilla Ice Cream:

The diplomatickitchen’s recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream is here.  A half-recipe of it will be enough for six Parfaits. 

IV. Making the Sugared Ground Walnuts:

The easy steps for making the Sugared Ground Walnuts are included in the diplomatickitchen’s recipe for Hungarian Chocolate Crepes ~ Gundel’s Style.  

V.  Assembling the Parfaits:

1.  To each glass add a scoop of Red Currant Sorbet.  Rinse the ice cream scoop and add a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream to each, and finally, a scoop of Plum Sorbet.  It’s good to begin with the Red Currant Sorbet and place the ice cream on top of it.  The Red Currant Sorbet has the most distinctive flavour of the three parts of the Parfait and the ice cream, melting and mixing with the sorbet below, mellows it just enough.

2.  Sprinkle Sugared Ground Walnuts over the Parfaits.

A Note:  Parfaits of Homemade Plum and Red Currant Sorbets, Vanilla Ice Cream and Sugared Ground Walnuts is served for Dessert in the Lunch Menu:  Lunch on a Winter’s Day.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

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