Fresh Grape Sherbet Recipe

grapes

I’m really fortunate to have two friends, Mort and Jeanette, who live on a boat in the Seine.

When Paris gets crazy, as it does in September when everyone returns from their vacations, it’s a lovely respite to have a glass or wine on the deck and watch the world leisurely float by.

(Along with a few other things bobbing around in the mix of the river…)

But it’s a great escape from a bit of the madness of la rentrée, when everyone’s come back to Paris and although they’re initially in a good mood, as their tans fade, they slip back into the big-city mode.

And soon, I’m back to cursing the motor-scooters who cut me off—on the sidewalk, I’m making appointments with the kinotherapist to re-align my back after losing too many games of “chicken” with Parisians on the sidewalk, and I need to keep myself from throttling those people who sit in front of me at the movies and spent their time texting their friends on their flashing, illuminated cell phones.

And, worst of all, I’m coming to the realization that the stinky guy has returned, and is probably never, ever going to move.

Anyhow, last week I was in Mort and Jeanette’s neighborhood doing a fact-finding mission, tasting some much-heralded macarons. I wasn’t wowed, and when I showed up at the boat, they were making tea and had a big box of macarons from Ladurée for me. My teeth were still chattering from the sugary assault of those other macarons and I managed to resist, but I started picking at the big crate of wine grapes on the deck that they’d brought up from their home in Provence.

fresh grape juice

They weren’t sure what kind of grapes they actually were, but they had an intense, spicy flavor, and the skins were a gorgeous inky-purple. I sat there, plucking them off the stems and using my newest grape-seeding technique: forcing them through my diastema, then spitting the pips into the Seine.

When they asked if I wanted some to take home, as soon as I answered, “Yes!”, they were loading up a couple of bags for me. Or perhaps that was a subtle hint that they wanted their seed-spitting guest to leave.

cooked grapes

Indeed, that’s not a very efficient (or attractive) way to stem and seeds grapes and at home, I used my hands. But the best way to stem grapes quickly is to put the bunches in the bowl of a standing electric mixer, attach the dough hook, then turn the speed on to low. The hook will pull off the stems, which can then easily be lifted out.

That is, if you didn’t put your dough hook away since you didn’t use it very often, then forgot where you put it…ahem

Since I can’t find my dough hook, maybe next time, I’ll just bring them to le cinema with me. It’ll give me something to do while watching the film. And if I don’t know where to spit the seeds, I’ll just look for the flashing lights.

And aim in that direction.

grape sorbet

Fresh Grape Sherbet

About 1 quart (1L)

Technically, this is a sorbet since it contains no dairy, and sherbet is a term applied to fruit ices, which sometimes contain some milk or eggs. No matter what you call it, it’s very refreshing and uses only pure fruit, and is lightly-sweetened. Because it has so little sugar, once churned, it can get rather firm if left in the freezer. If it does, simply leave it out of the freezer until it becomes scoop-able again.

  • 2 1/4-pounds (1kg) fresh, flavorful grapes (such as Muscat, Zinfandel, Concord or a wine-making variety), rinsed and stemmed
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) light corn syrup or glucose (see Note)
  • optional: 4-6 tablespoons (60-90ml) rosé wine

1. In a large non-reactive pot, add the grapes along with the water. Cover, stirring from time to time, and cook until the grapes are soft.

2. Remove from heat and pass the grapes through a food mill with the attachment with the smallest holes. If you don’t have a food mill, press them through a fine-mesh strainer, which will take a bit of force. Different grapes will yield differing amounts of juice.

(I got 3 cups, 750ml, of juice from mine, which is good to know if you want to make this with high-quality bottled grape juice.)

3. Add the sugar, corn syrup and rosé, if using, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Chill thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Note: If you wish to omit the corn syrup or glucose, you can substitute an equal amount of mild-flavored honey or Golden Syrup, or an additional 3 tablespoons (45g) of sugar.

Related Links:

The Perfect Scoop (Amazon)

Making Ice Cream Without a Machine

Concord Grape Granita (Ms. Adventures in Italy)

Grape Foccacia (A Year in Bread)

Concord Grape Pie (New York Folklore)

Grape & Raisin Bread (Baking Bites)

Tips on How to Make Ice Cream, and FAQs

Making Fresh Grape Juice (Simply Recipes)

41 comments

  • Wow! This is so easy to do! Though I don’t have an Ice Cream Maker. Is there a way that I can still have a grape sorbet minus the ice cream maker?

    The weekend is just around the corner and this would be great to do…and eat.

  • what a gorgeous colour! I can imagine 20 different ways to serve this, too. I bet adding some herbal notes would help it to be a huge hit as an intermezzo.

  • David, this post could not have come at a better time! I have Edleweiss grapes growing around the perimeter of my vegetable garden and we just picked about 4 bushels this week. I was thinking of making a grape “saft”, but now that I’ve seen this recipe, I think I have to make sorbet.

    Thanks!

  • Laurence: The second link—Making Ice Cream Without a Machine, under the recipe, should help.

  • How about sandwiched between two chewy peanut butter cookies?

  • Now I know what I can do with all the grapes growing in the garden. I’ve been crushing them for juice but would rather some drink wine, and use the grapes for something like this!

  • ‘Drink some wine’.
    Not some drink wine. Oops.
    (and no, I haven’t been drinking!)
    :)

  • Wow….popping colors! The sherbet looks sooooo luscious.

  • David,
    I’m sorry about your back, hope that your back will be re-align after seeing your kinotherapist!

    Is it possible that “Jeanne” can perhaps try to help you to find your dough hook?

    Fresh Grape Sherbet sounds so good, it it still hot in CA sometimes. I have so many concord grape that ready to be harvest, this is just give me a good idea what to do with it.

  • Ok….the sherbet looks so delish! But the main reason I commented is that I have an unbelieviable prejudice for in movie texters! I loathe them! Our tiny little movie theatre here in town The Roxy just put up signs that all texters will be escorted out and I nearly did a dance in the lobby. So in long, thank you for making me feel like I am not the only person immensly annoyed by this!
    Amy

  • I do not get this one : “games of “chicken” with parisians” :)

    By the way, I have diastema too, but as you may know here in france it is said to be ” happiness teeth “, les dents du bonheur. . I’ve laugh a lot about the reference on the wikipedia page. If the diastema for women is a proof that they are lustfull, what to think about the men who have one then :D

  • That sounds (and looks) delicious! I’ve been noticing all kinds of grapes at the market lately… ’tis the season, I guess. And I love the KitchenAid idea – brilliant! Although my KitchenAid is safely packed away in storage at the moment. I’ll just have to get my grape/rosé sorbet fix somewhere else. Grom, perhaps?

  • I’ve been wanting to make something with grapes for ages but always felt it would be icy without some reduction. I understand the glucose helps combat iciness, is this true?

  • Nathan: That’s a big YES on that one…

    Brian: And yes, the corn syrup or glucose does prevent some of the iciness, as does the rosé, which is why I use them both. But I do offer alternatives for those who don’t use, or have access to, those products.

    Camille: I’m trying right now to book a ticket to Torino, to hit the “mothership!”

    Krysalia: Playing “chicken” is an American game where two people advance towards each other and the one who moves away first is “chicken” (a word we use for lâche.)

    Unfortunately the Parisians usually end up winning, but I’ve almost figured out how to beat them…

  • Your sherbet looks so pretty! I tried to make a grape sorbet with little champagne grapes a while ago. The color was really blah, so I added some purple food coloring to the mix. Ugh! It looked like murky black sewer water! It tasted good, but I knew no one would eat that ugly mess. Threw the whole thing out. :(

  • David, great use for grapes. I am going to give it a go.

  • Such a pretty color. Now I know what I can do with one of the six bottles I have of Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir Grape Juice. Thanks.

  • I usually have an instant crush on anyone with a ‘diastema’ though that is not a very sexy word, and the first time I’ve heard it called that. I have no idea why I think it’s so sexy…there’s no logic with it at all. But rest assured, you’re super cute in my book!

  • I’m guessing that if I were to make this with regular grapes I should use a lot less sugar? (since wine grapes tend to be more tart)

  • I’m a sucker for sherbet – I have red flame grapes growing in my yard, I made a gelatin with them, which was nice, but I think this would be even better!

  • So, I’m dying to know how you are nearly winning the game of chicken with Parisians. I’ve tried and usually end up losing too. The sherbet looks great, I can’t wait to try it as I love cold treats and dairy is a no go.

  • David> oh I see what kind of “game” it is, then. May I offer a piece of advice that worked well for me in paris ?

    when you walk, as most people do, you probably tend to look at the knees of the people around you, I mean : not higher.

    Without being aware of this (more or less), when you’re on a trajectory about to bump into someone you make some brief eye contact, and the people do this on you too. it’s a way to evaluate each other. While walking staring at the knees, the eye contact coming from the other people in front of you makes them think that… well… you’re weak, less determined than them to go straight. (in a subconscious way of course :D).

    The tip I would give would be to walk but keeping your eyes in between the eyes of the people in front of you, looking at their nose, or at their front for example. you’ll see that suddenly, they will be the ones that move away :). by doing this, you just appear more determined than they are. I know this seems simple, but this little tricks changes everything when you do it consciously, and noticing the results is pretty amazing.

    Well, if you happen to find someone that stares the faces of the people too, you’ll probably end up in front of this person with no one wanting to move :-}
    In that case what parisian do is the best option : juste look at this other person in the eyes, take a annoyed face, sigh strongly and say ” PARDON” (sounding as a sarcastic “are you still there ?”) … it’s quite effective :)

    Well, I’ve tried almost everything, but found that looking them in the eye means they’re up for a challenge. Now I just stop, and pretend that my mobile phone is ringing, then they have to swerve around at the last minute…another tactic I use is if I’m coming back from yoga, I hold my rolled-up mat in front of me, horizontally. That really clears the path!-although I can’t carry my yoga mat around with me all day…can I? -dl

  • This looks delicious! I’m just beginning to try my hand at sorbets, and since I don’t have an ice cream maker, I’m practicing the old school, stirring-the-ice-every-hour method. This worked well for my blueberry & wine sorbet, but a little less so with others.

    I need an ice cream maker, as your frozen treats look divine!

  • The sherbet looks divine and makes me laugh when I think of the ‘lime sherbet” I always enjoyed with my grandpa . . .but although it was completely tacky and made of probably horribly awful things (condensers, stabilizers, and nary a real lime in sight), I still smile, because it puts me in mind of him . . . .

    I read the link back to the original description of your neighbor, and like the others, all I can say is OH MY GOD (and by the way my Italian husband mocks me MERCILESSLY when I am on the phone with my American friends, because he says it’s ALL I say, repeatedly, ad nauseam, etc. . . . I mean I can’t hear them for him mocking OH MY GOD in the background).

    Incidentally he (Italian husband, nor your stinky neighbor) is Torinese, and we’re headed to Torino on Monday . . .so to the mothership it is!!!! Will write back with full report (actually his cousin’s girlfriend’s brother works for Grom in Turin and won some trip to Paris last year for being the top seller but the trip itself was a little comedy of errors).

    And I’m sure Mort and Jeanette will invite you back. I can only imagine that your spitting technique is full of wit and charm!!!

    Thank you for bringing that wit and charm into our lives daily with your blog. I am serious, life has been a little cruel lately but I always enjoy coming to “visit” you. Thanks for all that you put into this blog, your writing, your photography, and your recipes.

  • Thanks Krysalia! I’ll be sure to use your tips! I’ve gotten the annoying ‘Pardon’ before, and returned the sarcasm with a dirty look-so bad, but yes, it is a game of the subconscious cues

  • OMG, I would have never thought of making a sherbet with grapes. Wonderful!

  • Yum, I didn’t think this sounded at all appealing until I saw the photos…

  • The last photo of the sherbet made me want to lick the screen :) I find your stories amusing, and your recipes and pictures are mouth watering, I will definitely come back for more :)

  • Oh my goodness, this looks so delicate and decadent. It is practically melting off the page into streams of flavorful sticky goodness. I want.

  • As kids sporting incoming adult teeth we all had diastemas and I recall that some of my neighbors became accomplished and very accurate squirters. I did not (can’t whistle loudly with my fingers either).

    I’ll echo others who have noted the really beautiful, saturated colors in the accompanying photos.

  • Steve: A while back (actually, when I was in my twenties…) someone told me that having a diastema meant prosperity.

    As I, and Madonna, approach our fifties, I’d say it seems to be only be a truism for women. Drat!

  • What’s it like living in France and being named ‘Mort’? Do people give you a wide berth?

    Ha-ha! I don’t know, but I snapped this pic a while back, which links the two… -dl

  • All the best people have diastema ;-)

    Although, this just in: “Diastema is sometimes caused or exacerbated by tongue thrusting”

    !!!! :D

    Love the grape sherbet – that colour is truly amazing.

  • a quick question about the note section of the recipe. I’ve noticed that the USA has a love affair with corn syrup / glucose (isn’t it the same thing?). Here in Oz, we don’t tend to use it at all and it can be difficult to find (ie only certain supermarkets stock it). I only use it when I need to increase the sugar content of my ice cream without also adding sweetness as table sugar provides.

    So, is the conversion you’ve used above (1ml syrup to 1.5g sugar) the standard conversion when you want to modify these two ingredients in recipes?

  • Just want to say The Perfect Scoop has changed my life. I had an ice cream maker I bought on sale that sat unused for many years, then I took your book out of the library and I’m now the Sorbet Queen. (After renewing the library copy and messing it up a bit, I now own my own copy). (Also had to replace the gel ice cream maker with a reconditioned compressor model)

    I have tried many of your recipes and then improvised my own, today I have some leftover squash soup and I have this idea that if I sort of combine it with your apple sorbet recipe and some whole foods lite coconut milk and some curry powder, it may turn into a pumpkin curry sorbet – I may add raisins as well…. hmmm.

    Anyway today I made your concord grape sorbet with grapes I splurged on from NYC union square greenmarket and I am sure to horde it, it is amazing.

    Thanks so much, looking forward to seeing you at City Bakery.

  • Hi David,

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I made it last night and my family enjoyed it. I did not have an Ice cream maker but when I decide to buy one shall surely look at the points that you have mentioned. Great site!

  • I don’t quite understand how this is different from just frozen Concord grape juice with added sugar and water. Indeed, I followed this recipe and then made it again with canned Welch’s grape juice. Not one of the 12 people who test-tasted could tell the difference. But the juice version was much much cheaper and much less work.

    And although I followed the direction with the strainer for my taste test, I don’t understand the reasoning for such manual labor. Why not just put the grapes in a juicer, or even a blender or food processor and then strain it for pure juice? Does using a food mill or forcing each grape through a strainer really make better juice? I don’t know anyone with a food mill but almost everyone has a blender.

    Regardless, this was delicious. But it was even more delicious with less work!

  • Hi Brianna: You could use pre-made grape juice, which is why in the recipe, I indicated that and the quantity one would use. However since this is a recipe for “fresh” grape sherbet that I made when someone gifted me a huge amount of fresh grapes, that’s the focus of the post.

    I use a food mill since a blender or food processor would break up the seeds, which can make the juice quite bitter. (Which is why wineries and juice-makers use a press.) A food mill is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment, but those without could certainly improvise.

  • David-

    I don’t know if you’re still watching the comments on this, but if you’re using seedless grapes, is there any reason not to use a blender or food processor? Is it better to avoid the skins?

  • Elizabeth: I don’t recommend anything with a blade since the seeds are bitter and if you cut them up, the juice will likely take on some of that unpleasant bitterness.

  • Yes, but I’m using seedless grapes, so I’m not concerned about breaking up seeds. (I have some incredibly flavorful seedless black grapes sitting in the fridge right now, but my family isn’t eating them fast enough!)