Tuesday, September 20, 2011

French Vanilla Grape Swirl Ice Cream

This is the recipe I really, really wanted to enter into the grape cooking contest. I wanted it to be spectacularly grapetastic. It wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was fantastic – very smooth, creamy, incredibly decadent - it just wasn’t grapey enough.
It was originally called Concord Grape Swirl Ice Cream. My problem may have been that I didn’t use Concord grapes. I used Sovereign Coronation grapes because that is what my dad grows. I am thinking maybe they don’t pack the flavour punch of Concords. Oh well, regardless, the ice cream that resulted is more of a French Vanilla Grape Swirl Ice Cream – so that is the name we are sticking with.
By the way, the winner of first place in the grape cooking contest that I was attempting all these recipes for was Grape Ice Cream. It was a beautiful dark purple color and must have tasted amazing!
French Vanilla Grape Swirl Ice Cream
3 cups stemmed grapes
1/2 cup sugar
7 egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups half & half
12 Tbsp white sugar, divided
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
¼ tsp coarse salt

Make the jam and syrup: Mash grapes with sugar. Cover bowl and let sit at room temp for an hour (or can be refrigerated overnight).
Transfer grape mixture to small saucepan and bring to boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer approx 10 minutes. Strain liquid through fine mesh sieve into a bowl, this is the “syrup”. Set sieve over another bowl and, using plastic bowl scraper, press the grapes through the sieve to remove seeds and skin to create a “jam”.
You should have approximately 1/2 cup syrup and 3/4 cup jam.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. (Can be up to overnight)
Make the custard: In a large bowl beat together egg yolks and 6 tbsp sugar until pale yellow, set aside.
In a large saucepan, whisk together cream, half & half, remaining 6 Tbsp sugar, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring mixture to a boil over med-high heat. As soon as mixture begins to rise up the sides of the pan, remove from heat. Remove bean pod from cream and reserve for another use.
Very slowly whisk ½ cup of hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. DO NOT do this too fast or your yolks will curdle! Continue to add in hot milk a little at a time until completely combined. Whisk in salt.
Cover and chill custard until very cold, at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
Add grape syrup to chilled custard and whisk to combine. If desired, strain through fine mesh sieve.
Transfer grape jam to a large metal bowl and transfer to freezer. Freeze until firm but not solid. (I put it in the freezer while the ice cream was in the ice cream machine and it seemed to be firm enough.)
Transfer custard to ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer ice cream to a large bowl and fold in half-frozen jam with a spatula. Transfer to airtight container and freeze.
I know, I know....it’s a pain in the butt. It is worth it though if you are looking for the smoothest vanilla ice cream on the planet. I would love to try this again minus the vanilla bean and using Concord grapes as the recipe originally called for. I have learned that using vanilla bean seeds instead of vanilla extract totally changes the flavour. I was told by my father that using Concord grapes would change the taste as well as make the color much deeper purple.
Oh well, this version still looked pretty and tasted great. Just not the award winning GRAPE recipe I was looking for. It did go very well served with the Winemaker’s Grape Cake I blogged about yesterday.

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