Hi! It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? I’m terribly sorry about that. I’ve been awfully busy. I finally got an internship! It’s at a very fancy, new-ish little restaurant and I’m enjoying it immensely. Even though it’s only twice a week it is, unfortunately, cutting severely into my free time lately. Not to mention my last couple of weekends have been pretty crazy. Things are going to continue to be a little nuts as I get myself organized to host next month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge and get ready to go back up to Maine for Thanksgiving, so I decided not to participate in Cupcake Hero, Iron Cupcake OR Daring Bakers this month. I need all that OTHER free time (all 12 minutes of it) to figure out what cookies and candies I’ll be making for the holidays.
This is something I made, like, three weeks ago. There’s still some in my freezer because I made a full recipe, which I rarely do these days. But I had egg yolks to use up after my adventures making hot chocolate macarons, so I went with it.
If you follow me on Twitter you may vaguely remember me mentioning this. It was inspired after a trip to the Union Square Green Market on a soggy, blustery day. I was cold and thirsty and contemplating a cup of hot apple cider when I caught a whiff of something. Something warm, spicy and delectable. Not apple cider…hot spiced Concord grape juice.
It was the perfect thing to warm me up against the icky wet chill, and the next week I bought a box of the grapes themselves. I had no idea what to do with them, but had to figure out SOMETHING – they contained many seeds and were not all that fun to eat on their own. I decided to recreate that warm, purple taste in frozen form.
Yeah, I know. Counterintuitive. But I think it works. It won’t warm you up but it sure will make your tastebuds happy.
Spiced Concord Grape Ice Cream
- 2 1/4 cups (fresh squeezed if possible!) Concord grape juice
- 1-2 small cinnamon sticks
- About 10 juniper berries, slightly crushed
- About 10 white peppercorns
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- Pinch salt
- 1-2 Tbsp neutral or complimentary alcohol (optional)
- Food coloring, if desired
Place the juice, cinnamon, juniper and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat, cover and steep for 1-2 hours. Strain out the spices and measure 2 cups of liquid. Return to saucepan with the cream and sugar and heat over medium-high. In the meantime, beat the yolks with the salt until lightened. Once the grape mixture boils, gradually temper it into the yolks a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once combined, return to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the alcohol and any food coloring you wish to add (I found that the color was very pale and almost a grayish red, so I added some blue and red to pump up the color – I would have added more but worried about the yellow of the yolks just making it look yucky) and let chill overnight. Churn in an ice cream maker or follow my easy instructions to machine-free ice cream. Freeze until hard and scoopable.
I know what you’re thinking. Juniper berries? Yeah I don’t have a good answer for you there. I’m pretty sure the only spice they used in the juice at the market was cinnamon, but I happen to have juniper berries and I never know what to do with them, so I threw them in. They certainly didn’t hurt, though I’m not sure how much I could really taste them. The pepper is just to up the spice factor but it doesn’t make the juice overtly spicy, just…spiced. Hence the name.