Friday, September 9, 2011

Turning to grape sorbet to fight early fall's heat

As I write this, it’s 34 C (93.2 F) outside.
   This may seem like nothing to those of you in some parts of the world, but where I live, Saskatchewan, at this time of year, early September, that is quite hot.
   I’m actually looking forward to cooler weather so I can start making heartier dishes, soups and stews. If I made them now, I simply wouldn’t enjoy them as much as I would on a crisp, cool evening.
   For now, I’ll have to look to dishes and desserts that attempt to strike a balance between summer and fall, like Fresh Grape and Champagne Sorbet (click for the recipe) from Bon Appetit magazine.
   Grapes are at their best right now, in early fall. They’re plump and juicy, just waiting for attention in supermarkets. Sorbet, of course, is a terrific hot weather cooler. The two come together to make a delicious dessert.
   I offer one consider-it-seriously tip for this recipe.
   After the grapes are puréed in a blender, you may want to strain the purée in a fine-mesh sieve, a direction not called for in the recipe.
   No matter how much the grapes are blended, small bits of skin will remain in the purée. My husband and I didn’t mind the skin bits in the finished product, but I guarantee there are those who will be bothered by it.
   Straining the bits of skin out of the purée before proceeding with the recipe should definitely help avoid any fussy complaints later on.
   Four cups of red seedless grapes are puréed in a blender.
   Champagne or sparkling wine, sugar (I used Splenda instead), thawed frozen grape juice concentrate, water and cinnamon are combined in a bowl and 1 1/2 cups of the purée is added. The mixture is stirred until the sugar dissolves.
   The mixture is processed in an ice cream maker. I processed it for 20 minutes, at which point is was an icy liquid. I poured it into an airtight container, and put in the freezer. It needs to freeze for at least four to six hours.
   The sorbet is served, offering a cooling sensation and nod toward fall.

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