New York State Concords have arrived at the Greenmarket and, judging by the run on the Buzzard Crest Vineyards farm stand at Union Square the other day, it’s not too much to say that the city’s grape-juicers, jam-makers, and PB&J artisans are all atwitter. The same goes for sorbet masters, like Otto pastry chef Meredith Kurtzman, who tempers the fruit’s musky, sweet-tart flavor with crushed fennel seeds in the recipe below.
Meredith Kurtzman’s Concord-Grape Sorbet
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 lb. Concord grapes
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of two lemons
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup simple syrup (bring 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water to boil, and cook until sugar dissolves)
1/3 cup water
In a coffee grinder, lightly pulse the fennel seeds (you want a coarse grind, not a fine powder); reserve. (1) In a large bowl, combine the grapes, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and ground fennel seeds, and (2) mash well with an immersion blender. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours. Remove from refrigerator, and stir in simple syrup and water. (3) Push mixture through a fine strainer or chinois into another bowl, discarding solids. Adjust flavor with more lemon juice and/or salt if necessary. Chill for at least 6 hours in refrigerator, then place in an ice-cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container, and place in freezer to firm up for 1 to 2 hours.