Monday, August 31, 2009
It's a bountiful month for vegetable harvests, but here in central Alabama, it's a transitional time for fruits. Gone are the blueberries and blackberries of the hot summer sun. Enter muscadines, the untouted, undervalued American grape. Perusing the farmer's market Saturday with dessert on my mind, I saw only cardboard pints of lonely muscadines.
Fortunately, for last month's birthday I received an ice cream maker, and I've been dying to crank it up for a few weeks. I walked away with two pints of muscadines in my hands, dreaming of their transformation into icy refreshment.
Eating a muscadine is fun. First you bite a hole in the thick skin, then you suck out the pulp while extracting the seeds with your tongue. Eating muscadine sorbet, a much simpler prospect, is divine. Once blended, the muscadine skin lends a neon pink-purple hue to the sorbet, thanks to their dark skins. It's actually fairly breathtaking. And the taste is like pure, freezing-cold muscadine essence, which you actually miss a bit when you're managing the skin and seeds and pulp all at once.
I'm sure this will be just one of many future ice cream posts, but it may well end up as my favorite.
2 pints of muscadines, halved and seeded
1 c water
1 c sugar
Heat water and sugar together, stirring occasionally, until clear. Cool.
Blend muscadines in blender for a few minutes at high speed, until totally liquefied. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer.
Whisk half the simple syrup (that's the sugar water) into the muscadine juice. Taste for sweetness, adding more simple syrup if desired.
Spin in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.