It's been a long time since I've posted a recipe here, but when I made this refreshing and fragrant sorbet the other day, I knew I had to share it. We usually get a generous bunch of concord grapes in our organic co-op every year when these incredibly aromatic and sweet grapes are in season locally--which is now.
I came up with this recipe around this time last year when we got concord grapes in our co op, but at that time I had made the smallest batch of sorbet to serve only two people,because I had eaten most of the grapes before getting around to making the sorbet. This year, I made sure I ate only a few of the grapes and used the rest to make the sorbet.
A ice cream maker provides the best results for sorbet. I recommend the Cuisinart ICE-21 that sells for $49 on amazon. I have the older ICE-20 model, but they look to be essentially the same machine. If you don't have an ice cream maker and don't want to invest in one, you can make the sorbet by freezing the sorbet in a shallow glass baking dish and repeatedly mixing it with a fork every hour or so as it freezes, but finished sorbet won't be nearly as smooth as the batch made in the ice cream maker.
Concord Grape Sorbet
1 1/2 lbs. concord grapes
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vodka, optional
Remove grapes from stems and rinse. Combine grapes, water and sugar in a non-aluminium saucepan over medium heat.
Bring grape mixture to a gentle boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The grapes will break down and the liquid should be slightly thickened, like a thin syrup.
Remove grape mixture from heat and pour into a fine sieve that's resting over a large glass bowl. Gently stir grape mixture, pressing gently with a large spoon to extract as much liquid and "pulp" from the mixture.
It helps to occasionally scrape the thickened pulp that will accumulate on the bottom of the sieve into the bowl. Press the mixture until you can't extract another drop. You should be left with a clump of grape skin, small stems and seeds in the sieve and at least 2 cups of thickened grape "juice".
Add the vodka to the grape "juice" and stir gently. You can omit the vodka if desired. The vodka will help keep the sorbet smooth and not "icy". It works because alcohol lowers the freezing point of the mixture, so the sorbet doesn't quite turn to solid ice in your freezer.
Pour the grape mixture into the freezer container of your ice cream maker and process for 15-20 minutes, or until the sorbet is the consistency of soft serve ice cream or a thick, smooth apple sauce.
Spoon the sorbet into an airtight container that can accommodate the sorbet with minimum head room between the sorbet and the lid. Again, having as little air as possible in the container helps prevent the sorbet from forming ice crystals on the surface.
Freeze in your freezer for a couple of hours for best results. Consume within 3 days for best flavor and texture.