Concord Grape Swirl Ice Cream

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

Homemade ice cream bursts with the sweet-tart flavor of concord grapes in this recipe from acclaimed pastry chef Karen DeMasco. Serve with Brown-Butter Cake with Concord Grapes.


For the Grape Jam and Syrup

  • 15 ounces Concord grapes (about 3 small bunches or 2 ½ cups stemmed grapes), stemmed

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vitamin C powder (optional, to brighten color)

For the Custard

  • 9 large egg yolks

  • 2 cups milk

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 12 tablespoons sugar

  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped, bean and seeds reserved

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Make the Jam and Syrup: Mash grapes with sugar and vitamin C powder, if using. Cover bowl and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerated overnight.

  2. Transfer grape mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened and grapes burst, 5 to 10 minutes. Strain liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Set sieve over another bowl and, using a plastic bowl scraper, press the grapes through the sieve to remove seeds and skin and create a jam. You should have about 1/2 cup liquid syrup and 3/4 cup grape jam. Cover and transfer both bowls to refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

  3. Make the Custard: In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar until pale yellow; set aside.

  4. In a large saucepan, whisk together milk, cream, remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, vanilla bean, and seeds. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as mixture begins to rise up the sides of the pan, remove from heat.

  5. Whisk 1 cup of the hot milk mixture slowly into the reserved egg yolk mixture; whisk to combine. Slowly whisk egg mixture into saucepan with remaining hot milk mixture; whisk in salt. Transfer custard mixture to a large bowl; cover and chill until very cold, at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

  6. Add grape syrup to chilled custard and whisk to combine; strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids.

  7. Transfer grape jam to a large metal bowl and transfer to freezer; freeze until firm but not solid.

  8. Transfer custard to an ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to bowl with semifrozen jam and fold with a rubber spatula to combine. Transfer to an airtight container and keep frozen until ready to serve, up to 5 days.

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