Making muscadine ice cream
It’s muscadine season. Muscadines have long been a favorite of mine. As a child, I spent many afternoons running through a tangle of grape-studded vines chasing cousins and devising my own seed-spitting games in my grandmother’s yard.
And despite the yearly ritual of eating handfuls of muscadines until my belly ached, I’d never eaten muscadine ice cream until I was a teenager. My first taste of this sublime treat was at Callaway Gardens.
Last week when I smelled the heady fragrance of muscadines wafting from my CSA bag, I knew it was ice cream time — one last treat to celebrate the fleeting summer.
Here’s my recipe. I include the skins in my ice cream for a little texture and added color. (The skins also contain high amounts of resveratrol, which is believed to lower the risk of heart disease.) They do soften slightly in the cooking process, but remain toothsome. If you prefer, strain the skins out just before placing the mixture in your ice cream freezer.
Muscadine and toasted cinnamon ice cream
- 8 oz. muscadines, well washed and picked over
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups half & half
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream, divided
- Squeeze muscadine seed pockets and juice out of the skins into a bowl. Toss skins into the bowl, as well. Add 2 cups of half & half and set aside.
- In a dry skillet, toast the cinnamon on medium-low heat for several minutes until fragrant, stirring continuously.
- Heat the muscadine-cream mixture over medium heat just until it starts to bubble. Stir continuously and use the back of a spoon to mash the grapes during cooking to extract maximum flavor. Immediately remove from heat and set aside.
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Strain the warm muscadine cream into the egg yolk mixture a ladle at a time, stirring immediately after each addition.
- Pull about 1/4 cup of the muscadine skins from the strainer, making sure that no seeds remain, and give them a rough chop.
- Combine the chopped skins, the toasted cinnamon and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Add to the custard mixture.
- Return this mixture to the pan and heat over medium heat until slightly thickened (about 8-10 minutes). Stir frequently.
- Once thickened, remove the custard from the heat and add the remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream.
- Once combined, cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cut a few holes to allow steam to escape since your mixture will still be warm. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
- If you prefer to omit the skins, strain them out just prior to freezing in your ice cream maker.
Jenny Turknett, Southern and Neighborhood Fare
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team.