Granny Smith Apple Sorbet with Muscat Wine and Grappa

Sorbetto di Mela Verde


Superlatives are always suspect. If you want to be credible you should scrupulously avoid them, but I am going to use them anyway now. This is the most exhilarating and deliciously fresh sorbet I know. What makes it so is the felicity with which the ingredients act upon each other. The Granny Smith and the grappa both have bite, but grappa isn’t all bite. It is packed with the aromatic esters of the pomace, the grape skins left over after making wine, from which it is distilled. The honey is all suavity with its characteristically musky aftertaste. The muscat wine brings its own soft touch and the scent of peaches and apricots. None of these qualities stand apart but all coalesce to produce this sorbet’s unique, scented, zephyr-like refreshment.

If you have all the choices in the world, the wine you would use would be the low-alcohol Moscato Naturale d’Asti, a shyly sweet muscat from Piedmont. Only slightly less desirable, but far more available, is Asti Spumante, which you must beat lightly with a fork or a swizzle stick to drive away some of the bubbles. If you must look for something else, there are California moscatos and other sweet wines, as well as a number of similarly off-dry German wines. Do not use an intensely sweet wine in the late-harvest, Sauternes, or Beerenauslese category.

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  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • The freshly squeezed juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 cup muscat wine
  • 2 tablespoons grappa

An ice cream maker


  1. Peel and core the apples, and cut them into pieces about the size of a walnut.
  2. Put the honey, sugar, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil over low heat. Cook down to a syrup half its original volume.
  3. Put the apples, the honey and sugar syrup, the lemon juice, the muscat wine, and the grappa in a food processor and puree to a creamy consistency.
  4. Freeze to a very firm consistency in your ice cream maker. Serve when done or transfer to suitable containers and store in the freezer.