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concord grape ice cream

(post, Elizabeth Stark)

primary-image, l

Concord grape ice cream packs a wallop of flavor. Vivid color with an explosion of impossibly saturated grape flavor, it is tempered only slightly by cream and lemon zest. Like Willy Wonka, but real. I love it for being seasonal and surprising. A clear light in the fall sea of orange, green and yellow foods.

I know what you're going to say--you don't have an ice cream maker. I suggest you pick one up before grape season is over.

Concord Grape Ice Cream with Lemon Zest

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups sugar (for more grown up flavor, use only 1 1/4 cups)
1 cup concord grapes, cut in half with seeds removed
4 egg yolks
a big pinch of salt
zest of one lemon

To meld the flavor of the skins and flesh, roast the grapes a bit. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While you are waiting rinse and de-seed the grapes. Sharpen your knife, and I promise that this takes only 12 minutes. Put the grape halves in a gratin dish or cake pan, and roast for 8 minutes or even less, until the juices are bubbling out of the grapes.

Meanwhile, combine the cream, milk, honey, salt, and half the sugar in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat. Put the yolks in a heat proof bowl and whisk in the other half of the sugar and the zest. When the cream mixture is starting to steam, whisk a cup or so, 1/4 cup at a time, into the eggs. The goal is the raise the heat of the eggs so they won't curdle when added to cream. When the eggs are tempered, add them to the cream and then whisk in the grapes and all of their juices. At this point my cream separated a bit and I think it had something to do with the acidity of the grapes. I ignored it since it didn't seem to affect the flavor or texture of the cream.

Pour into a large bowl and chill for a long time--3 hours at least. Then process according to your ice-cream maker's instructions, remove from ice cream maker and freeze for as long as you can. Three hours is ideal.