Nothing signals the beginning of autumn like the return of Buzzard Crest Vineyards and its obscure Finger Lakes grapes to Greenmarket. Del Posto pastry chef Brooks Headley likes to freeze a seedless variety, like Jupiter or Lakemont (or Canadice, Mars, Himrod—take your pick), until the grapes transform into what he calls “frosty sorbet bombs” encased in skins with “an almost–Gray’s Papaya–like snap.” The whipped-cream-cheese garnish is flavored with wild fennel pollen for an Italian-cheesecake effect.
Brooks Headley’s Frozen Lakemont Grapes With Whipped Fennel-Pollen Cream Cheese
2 bunches Lakemont grapes
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch kosher salt
4 oz. crème fraîche
1/2 tsp. wild fennel pollen (available at Kalustyan’s)
(1) Arrange grapes in a single layer on a sheet pan, and freeze for 3 hours. (2) Soften cream cheese in a mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. (3) Add remaining ingredients, and whisk until fluffy. Chill for 30 minutes. Top with frozen grapes, and serve immediately.