A few weeks ago, when the Rocking Rebel and I were meeting his family for a fun day at the zoo, my sister-in-law brought me a huge bag filled with grapes from her garden. They were gorgeous: dark blue, plum and juicy!
She brought me about 4 kilo’s of grapes, so I just knew I had to make something special with them instead of simply stirring them through my morning oats. I immediately planned to make a sweet, Italian grape bread, called schiacciata con uva, which Google-translates into ‘crushed with grapes’, which had been on my t-make-list ever since the Rocking Rebel first brought my attention to it. Apparently, it’s a specialty from Florence that is traditionally made during the grape harvest.
It was a massive – MASSIVE – fail! Even though the recipe clearly states that the grapes need to be deseeded before placing them between two layers of sweet bread dough, my bread came out way too wet and soggy and I had to throw the entire thing in the bin. Both the bread and the grape filling itself tasted great though, so I might try this recipe again with seedless grapes. Maybe if I don’t need to take the seeds out by cutting the grapes open, the juices will remain inside and the bread can cook properly…
I’ll let you know in due time!
Anyway, with the bread in the bin, I quickly needed to come up with an alternative recipe. I knew the grapes wouldn’t keep forever and my sister-in-law (thankfully) gave me more than enough to mess things up in the first round. But really, what can you bake or cook with grapes? I had never baked anything with grapes in my life! Needless to say, I had no idea.
So yeah, I did stir them through my oats, like I do all the time with grapes from the supermarket. But just as I was lifting the first spoonful of cinnamon oats with slightly warm grapes to my mouth, my next idea hit me: Cinnamon Ice Cream with Grape Ripple and Caramelized Oats!
And so easy to make!
Just start with some beautiful, juicy, purple grapes and turn them into a vibrant, flavorsome grape ripple syrup.
Which sounds more difficult than it is, really…
Just wash the grapes and throw them in a big pot with some sugar. Don’t bother drying the grapes, as the water will help the sugar to dissolve.
Bring the fruit to a rolling boil and skim of the scum with a slotted spoon.
Next, pass the grapes through a fruit mill and discard the seeds and skins. You’ll only want the juices!
Pass the grape purée through a sieve to make sure that even the smallest seeds won’t end up in your ice cream.
Place the syrup back on the stove and cook over high heat for another 10 minutes to cook the syrup down a little, then leave it to cool to room temperature on the countertop.
In the meantime, cook up some crème anglaise. I’ve adapted my recipe from Ice Cream God David Lebovitz, who has written several books on the subject. He likes to use more cream than I do, resulting in a richer ice cream, but I like to replace about one third of the cream with whole milk, for a somewhat fluffier texture.
Come to think of it, it’s quite arrogant of me to adapt a recipe written by the man I just called ‘Ice Cream God’…
Anyway, in a saucepan, combine some milk, cream and sugar, in whatever ratio your heart so desires…
Then whisk up 5 egg yolks with some more sugar and a little of the milk mixture…
… until the mixture is nice and frothy.
Scald the milk mixture and slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously to keep the yolks from scrambling.
This may be quite difficult when you want to take a picture of the process too…
Then add the mixture back to the saucepan and heat over low heat, whisking continuously, until it thickens into a crème anglaise and coats the back of a spoon.
Next, pour the crème anglaise through a sieve to make sure it’s completely smooth…
… and stir in a good amount of cinnamon.
How much cinnamon you like to use is completely up to you. I personally like a fairly strong, but not too strong cinnamon flavor. Just start with 3 teaspoons, leave the mixture to cool to room temperature and then place it in the fridge to chill. Check the flavor again right before you churn it into your ice cream maker or freeze it in a freeze-proof container. To me it seemed like the cinnamon flavor actually got stronger as the mixture chilled…
By the way, the cinnamon somehow makes the crème anglaise quite sticky and (sorry, I really don’t know of a better word to describe it) slimy. But don’t worry about that though… The final product tastes amazing and has a beautifully smooth, velvety texture.
As the ice cream mixture is cooling/chilling, proceed with the caramelized oats.
Just a heads up: this stuff is ridiculously addictive! So don’t leave it to sit on the countertop for too long, or you might end up eating the entire batch before the crème anglaise has chilled!
The magic all starts with some butter, brown sugar and salt.
Let it cook into a golden, but grainy caramel…
… and stir in some oats.
Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and bake…
… until beautifully golden, delicious and addictive!
This stuff would also make a great crumble topping, by the way…
Once the ice cream has churned fold in half the caramelized oats.
To assemble, pour one third of the grape syrup in a freeze-proof container, add half the ice cream mixture, the second third of the syrup, the remaining ice cream and the remaining syrup.
A bit like building a lasagna…
Marble the ripple syrup and the ice cream with a knife, cover with a lid and place in the freezer for a few more hours.
Sprinkle with the remaining oats before serving! The oats in the ice cream gives it a great chew, while the caramelized oats on top are deliciously crunchy! I can’t say the grapes are really the star of this dessert, but the grape syrup is absolutely a wonderful, exceptionally flavorsome and fruity addition to the warm and spicy cinnamon ice cream.
Best breakfast ever!
- 400g (or 13½ ounces) blue grapes
- 35g (or 3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 360ml (or 1½ cup) whole milk
- 360ml (1½ cup) whipping cream
- 150g (or ¾ cup) sugar
- big pinch of salt
- 5 egg yolks
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 60g (or 4 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) unsalted butter
- 100g (or ½ cup, loosely packed) brown sugar
- generous pinch of salt
- 80gr (or ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons) rolled oats
- Wash and stem the grapes and add them to a large pan. Mix in the sugar with a wooden spoon. If your grapes were dry before you added them to the pan, add 2 tbsp of water. If your grapes were still wet from washing, don't add any more water.
- Over medium-high heat, heat the mixture, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, crank up the heat and bring the grapes to a boil. Cook the grapes for 5 minutes (without a lid) or until the fruit has softened. Skim off the scum with a slotted spoon.
- Once the fruit has softened, pass them through a food mill and discard the seeds and skins that are left behind. Pass the grape puree through a strainer to get rid of any small seeds, then pour it back into the pan and bring it to a boil. Leave to cook over high heat for 10 minutes. Set aside and leave to cool to room temperature.
- In a large saucepan, combine the whole milk, 120ml of the whipping cream, 100g of sugar and the salt. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar with a little splash of the milk mixture. Pour the remaining cream in a medium-sized bowl and set a strainer over the top. Scald the rest of the milk mixture, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- While whisking continuously, slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Once all the liquid has been added, pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Gently heat the mixture over low heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon.
- NOTE: To test whether the crème anglaise is done, dip a spoon in the mixture and run your finger through the custard down the back of the spoon. If the path you've just created with your finger holds its shape, the custard is done. If you are unsure about this step, you can use a sugar thermometer. The crème anglaise should be done once the mixture reaches a temperature of 80°C (175°F).
- Take the crème anglaise of the heat and pour it through the sieve into the prepared bowl. Add the cinnamon and mix everything together with a whisk or rubber spatula. Leave the custard to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Preheat your oven to 160°C or 325°F (standard oven setting). In a small saucepan, combine the butter with the sugar and salt. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Take the pan off the heat, add stir in the oats.
- Spread the oats onto a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, give the oats a good stir with a fork, rotate the baking sheet to ensure even baking and leave the oats to bake for 8 more minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool completely.
- Start assembling as soon as the ice cream has churned (or, if you are freezing without a machine, has frozen). In a small bowl, stir together the freshly churned ice cream and half the oats. Store the remaining oats in an airtight container until serving. Add half the ice cream mixture to a freeze-proof container and top with half the grape syrup. Add the remaining ice cream, top with the remaining syrup and use a knife to marble the ice cream and grape syrup. Cover the container with a lid and freeze for at least four hours or until ready to serve.
- Twenty minutes before serving, take the ice cream out of the freezer and allow to soften in the fridge or on the countertop. Top with the remaining caramelized oats.