"You should make grape sorbet," Ben recently suggested when I put out a call for ice cream flavors. "You should really make grape sorbet."
He says, with the kind of feverish, delighted hunger usually reserved for our conversations on how much we miss halal street meat from our Midtown office days.
So when you make this and love it, thank Ben, because I was a little skeptical until I took my first bite. And then I realized how right he was all along.
The sorbet has only four ingredients, so seek out quality grapes that are rich and sweet on their own—the better they are, the better the sorbet. Small grapes like Concord or Niagra are lovely and plentiful right now. And since you have to strain the sorbet to remove the skins, varieties with seeds are just as easy to work with as those without.
When puréeing your grapes, blend only long enough to liquify the flesh—fast pulses are the best method. A short blend time will keep the skins and seeds intact, making them easier to strain out. Another note: this recipe calls for more sugar than other sorbets, which makes for a sweet, velvet-soft scoop that's just as full-bodied as any glass of wine.
Serve this sorbet plain as a palate cleanser or with a sharp, buttery cheese. A friend made the inspired suggestion of marscapone and candied ginger, which I look forward to trying with the next batch. Why not this one? Because the leftovers have all gone into a cocktail shaker with gin and lemon juice, a happy hour special that I highly recommend.
- 2 pounds (about 5 cups) rinsed grapes, such as Concord or Niagra
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Lemon juice to taste, starting with 1/8 teaspoon
Place whole grapes in blender or food processor and pulse just until they liquify but the skins do not break down, about 10 seconds. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a work bowl, pressing down on skins and seeds with a spoon to release juices; you should have about 2 1/2 cups of purée.
Whisk in sugar and salt until dissolved, then taste. If too sweet, add lemon juice 1/8th teaspoon at a time. Chill base in refrigerator until very cold, 2 to 3 hours.
Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer sorbet to freezer and chill until firm, at least 3 hours.
blender or food processor, ice cream maker
The best grapes for this sorbet are small flavorful ones like Concord or Niagra. You can use seeded or seedless varieties in this recipe. Only purée grapes long enough to liquify them, which will keep their skins more intact for easier straining.