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.


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.

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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