When you live near a grape-growing region as I do, it’s easy to become fascinated with the flavors of different grapes. They are as intriguing to the tongue as wine, which is not surprising!

This is a delicate ice cream, totally dependent on the quality of the grape. Small or large, red or green, it will not matter; what you need is a bursting-with-flavor grape with a good-tasting skin. I favor seedless organic grapes with thin skins for this recipe.

Grape ice cream is a fleeting beauty; be sure to eat it within a day.

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tangerine, orange, or lemon, well scrubbed
  • ¾ pound stemmed seedless grapes with thin, tasty skins
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed ginger juice (from finely minced fresh ginger)

Method

  1. Put ½ cup sugar in a food processor. Grate a bit of fruit zest directly onto the sugar, more or less as the spirit moves you. Don’t grate any of the bitter white pith. Process for 30 seconds to infuse the sugar with the peel. Add the grapes and process until puréed.
  2. Scrape the mixture into a large, non-aluminum bowl. Stir in the half-and-half. Taste, then add sugar if and as needed until the mixture tastes a touch too sweet. Add the ginger juice by ½ teaspoons until the flavor rounds on your tongue. If the grape skins were thick or your food processor blade dull, sieve the mixture and discard the skins.
  3. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Ripen the soft mixture in the freezer with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface. Let soften slightly before serving.

Serving Suggestions: This ice cream invites a visual play of grape on grape. I like a small cluster of another variety of grape as a garnish alongside each serving. Blood orange slices or slivers of candied kumquat offer other interesting contrasts.

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