Damson Sorbet – Recipe

damson sorbetIt’s a great year for plums. They’re literally dripping off the trees, and bumper harvests are even being left to rot on the trees in kent. If plums are booming, that’s certainly also true for their cousins, damsons and sloes, as I discovered on a recent sojourn through the country lanes of Kings Norton. Fortunately I had come prepared with tupperware galore, so filled my boots with plenty of both. The sloes came in handy for my ‘very early sloe gin’, but I was left with a pound or so of damsons – too many to eat, but not enough to make the effort of jam-making worthwhile. Sorbet it had to be then. Many sorbet recipes call for egg white to help keep the smooth texture, but I thought I’d experiment without. It takes a while to complete, so plan to be home for a good 3 hours. If you want a less-involved sorbet, the ‘quick plum sorbet’ from Jamie at Home is good, and would work equally well with damsons. Anyway, here’s what I did…


500g damsons

120g granulated sugar

300ml water

a slug of gin (optional)


Cut the damsons roughly in half, but don’t bother taking out the stones. Put them in a pan with the water and sugar and boil rapidly for 5-10 mins until tender, and the flesh is falling off the stones. Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the pan contents into it. Push the damson-flesh through the sieve with the back of a spoon until you’re just left with a pile of stones and skins. Do this thoroughly, for about 5-7 mins – you’ll notice the difference in flavour. Add the gin, and whack this in the freezer, setting your timer for 30 mins. After 30 mins whisk the mixture like a crazy thing for 30 seconds. Pop back in the freezer and re-set your timer for 30 mins. Repeat as before 3 more times, until you get to 2 hours. After another 30 mins, get an electric whisk out and buzz it for 5 mins on max. Pop back into the freezer and leave for at least an hour before serving.

A delightful early-autumn pud, hope you enjoy it.

Very Early Sloe Gin – Recipe

sloe berriesIt was only after I got back from a long walk out to The Peacock, having gathered a box-full of sloes and with a thirst for G&T, that I discovered in Richard Maybe’s ‘Food for Free’, sloes for making sloe gin are best “after the first frost”. Oh well, I wouldn’t want to see them go to waste, so here is what I did with them…

I started by pricking the skins of each sloe with a skewer (a painstaking task with 750g of the things) to mimic the effect that the frost has in breaking the skin open. This will help the gin soak through the sloes and draw out all the flavour.

pricking skins of sloe berries

Next I added to the sloes Continue reading Very Early Sloe Gin – Recipe