Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Glenora Grapes

Do you cook or bake with grapes? I never have. I don’t know why, but I guess I’ve never thought of them as an ingredient. OK, I’ve gone so far as to toss them into a salad, but that’s about it. To me, grapes were for snacking.

Thanks to my gardener, there’s a Glenora grapevine growing on the arbor over our patio table. It’s about 3 years old now, and it provides shade and a romantic atmosphere for our alfresco meals. And for the first time, it’s providing loads of gorgeous purple grapes.


Glenora grapes are juicy and intensely flavorful, like grape bubblegum with a hint of spice, and they have a most satisfying snap when you bite down on them. In fact, they’re so good, they’ve sparked an attitude adjustment in this cook—grapes deserve to be the star of a dish, not just the fruit group in a sack lunch. They are every bit as good as any berry and ought to be treated with the same reverence in the kitchen. Though I can hardly resist eating them out of hand, I’m inspired to transform them into dessert. I made a grape consommé (which the husband insists on calling grape juice), but there are still lots of grapes hanging on that vine. I wonder what else I should make with them…Do you have any suggestions for me? And don’t you just love being inspired by ingredients?


Red Grape Consommé with Lemon-Honey Sorbet
Printable Recipe

For the sorbet:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey, preferably orange blossom honey
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1 2/3 cups water
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the consommé:
3 pounds stemmed red grapes
1 cup sugar

To serve:
1 cup blackberries

Make the sorbet:
Combine the sugar, honey, lemon zest, and water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool. Stir in the lemon juice. Chill over an ice bath until ice-cold. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn until frozen. Transfer to a container and freeze for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Make the consommé:
Combine the grapes and sugar in a large, heavy pot. Lightly crush the grapes using a potato masher. Heat to a bare simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool. Juice in a food mill using the finest disc. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and chill.

To serve:
Ladle the consommé into individual bowls. Add a scoop of the sorbet to each bowl and divide the blackberries among them. Serve immediately.

Yields about 3 ½ cups of sorbet and 1 quart of consommé, serving 8. I used leaves of lemon balm and jasmine blossoms for garnish in addition to the blackberries. The clarity of the grape consommé is, by far, best on the day it’s made.

6 comments:

anna said...

That looks great - beautiful color! I haven't tried baking with grapes before. Just couldn't get anything but table grapes where I'm from. But now I have GRAPE OPTIONS. I, being me, would definitely try an ice cream or sorbet. Or how about peanut butter ice cream with a grape granita? And then of course you could just make some incredible jam out of them.

Lone Acorn said...

I never had a grape sorbet before. What I had was a yogurt grape salad and a delicious grape chutney. This is a different option you gave. Will try it sometime. Thanks!

amy and ann said...

love your blog. I will definitely be back. I can't wait to explore with some of your ideas.
Check out the new blog I have started with a friend and fellow foodie/photographer.
see you soon.
ann

Sam@BingeNYC said...

Wow, the deep colour of your consomme is just incredible. Beautiful dish!

Hungry Dog said...

How beautiful! As for grape ideas, grape jelly...I think I saw a recipe for small grape cakes in an issue of Gourmet over the last year. Chicken with roasted grapes, that might work.

hannah | honey & jam said...

oh, your photos are stunning!

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