I guess this is the weekend to shower Marcella w/ praise. While she isn't really known for her desserts, her black grape gelato from Essentials is rapturous. Juicy tartness balanced by sweetness and tannic finish, all mellowed by a whisper of cream. Luscious and complex, a red wine enthusiast would be seduced.
The recipe is simple: Heat 2/3 c. of sugar and 1/2 c. water over med. heat til sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Process 1 lb. of washed and stemmed black grapes through a food mill. Make sure to use the insert w/ the smallest holes to catch the seeds; a food processor is NOT a suitable alternative. Combine grape puree w/ simple syrup and cool. Once cool, whip 1/4 c. heavy cream til consistency of buttermilk. Blend w/ grape mixture, chill thoroughly, and then churn.
I had 1.5 lbs. of organic Concord grapes so increased everything by 50%. Quality of grapes is key here, so don't even try this w/ subpar grapes. I noticed some seeds and skin were floating around in the puree after milling, so I strained those out.
Photo of fresh grapes w/ one peeled so you can see flesh:
Photo of strained puree mixed w/ simple syrup:
Photo of gelato:
The intense mauve color is gorgeous and not really captured by my photo. I was skeptical about the addition of cream since I've found that cream can obscure fruit flavors, but that wasn't the case here at all. Texture was smooth and creamy w/ a tiny bit of iciness reminiscent of ice milk. Not a negative trait here. I can't see much improving this, although I may have to try a drizzle of bittersweet chocolate tomorrow...
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