A few years ago, I decided to try to replicate the fabulous grape nut sherbet that I have only ever tasted at Farr's Ice Cream in Ogden, Utah.
I am emphatically NOT talking about Grape Nuts ice cream, the bizarre (yet also blah) New England dessert made with Grape Nuts cereal. I'm talking about a refreshing, bright purple fruit sherbet studded with walnuts. It was my grandmother's favorite flavor of ice cream, and there was often a quart of it in her freezer, right next to the Cool Whip.
I called Farr's but they couldn't, or wouldn't, help me. So I tried numerous internet recipes for grape ice cream and sherbet with results that ranged from the passable to the positively vile. Most called for Welch's grape juice.
Then, last year, I bought some fresh concord grapes and made a sorbet recipe out of Claudia Fleming's beautiful book, The Last Course.
This was IT! This was my grandmother's beloved Farr's grape sherbet. All it needed was some walnuts and maybe a little milk. (My memory of Farr's sherbet is that it is slightly creamy.)
I was speechless with happiness because I had achieved my goal; my children were speechless with happiness because it was so incredibly delicious.
Yesterday, I saw concord grapes at the Marin Farmer's Market so I bought a couple of pounds and decided to try Alice Waters' recipe (Fruits) for Concord grape sherbet. How did it measure up to Fleming's & Farr's?
Not even close. Waters calls for simmering the grapes in hot water, which robs them of their vibrant flavor. The sherbet tasted nice enough and was a pretty pink color, but it wasn't the grape sherbet of my nostalgic dreams.
Fortunately, I saved some grapes and am going to make a batch of THAT tonight.