If you are familiar at all with my blog, or me, you are well aware that sweets are not at the top of any my “must have” food lists. I’ll always prefer savory to sweet. This does not mean however, that my steely reserve wears thin from time to time and I find myself craving some sort of sugary dessert. I love chocolate. I enjoy both cake and pie—carrot and cherry respectively. I will eat sweets. I just have to be in the right mood. The sweets in question have to be intriguing. The stars have to align.
The latter is especially true for ice cream. I am not really into ice cream— unless it’s…interesting. You’ll never catch me eating a bowl of plain vanilla or chocolate. Should I catch you engaging in such a mundane act prepare yourself for general mockery and disdain. I can’t help it.
Anyways, when I do get the infrequent desire for something cold and sweet I’ll often opt to make my own ice cream. I don’t live near any shop that sells interesting enough flavors, so I am left frequently to my own devices. Occasionally, when this happens I end up creating something that surprises even me, as was the case with this ricotta and roasted grape ice cream.
I was actually thinking about charcuterie,grapes, and cheese when it happened. I was in the midst of planning out five recipes for an Epicurious Instagram takeover. Once I got over the shock at being asked to do it I immediately went into panic mode; what would I cook? I racked my brain for ideas, fusion food opportunities; meals that I could add a “CRAVINGS” twist to.
Ultimately I decided I would do one dessert. Not because it would mix things up a bit and show people that I am capable of a wide ranged of dishes, but rather because I had an uncommon desire for something both savory and sweet. Oh, and I had this awesome bottle of Smoked Sugar Syrup by Glossop’s that I was dying to incorporate in a fall dish. If you haven’t read my Friday the 13th Cocktail Post where I rave about this stuff you should. It is a smoky syrup that lends a hint of savory, earthy flavor to drinks or sweets.
So the questions now was how to incorporate this syrup into my dessert. This is where the grapes and cheese came in. Ricotta ice cream topped with roasted smoked sugar grapes! The idea manifested as most of my recipes do. The specifics seem to surface out of nowhere. But suddenly I found myself mixing ricotta, cream and milk in a bowl in preparation for my ice cream maker.
The brown sugar was a last minute decision. I literally opened the cupboard with every intention of grabbing the white stuff, my hand momentarily suspended in the air as I noticed the brown sugar and without much more thought I grabbed it and added it to the mixture. Brown sugar has a depth of flavor and richness that I love and it just sounded like the best flavor to compliment the ricotta and grapes. I think it is was the perfect sweetener this ice cream but granulated sugar, honey, or agave syrup, would have been nice as well.
For the grapes I thought the flavor of red would be best. I tossed them in a bit of coconut oil and the smoked syrup. The addition of the thyme was another spur of the moment decision. I thought it would complement the ricotta and grapes without overwhelming any particular flavor.
The final product was beyond words! The creaminess of the ricotta ice cream, the subtle sweetness from the brown sugar, combined with the sweet and smoky grapes was infinitely more delicious than what I anticipated. Lightly sweet, subtly savory, an overall intriguing blend of flavors. This dessert is the epitome of what I seek in my ice cream. It’s ideal for fall and a far cry from the monotony of your average ice cream sundae.
I’m stuck in a perpetual summer here is Southern California and the ice cream was perfect on the hot afternoon that I made it. However, the addition of the hot roasted grapes makes this treat enjoyable on the coldest of nights! So don’t be deterred from making this if you are currently enjoying cooler weather! Also, if you are interested in a house swap please let me know. I’m done with this weather and would like to hole up in some remote, snow-covered cabin for the winter. Serious inquires only! 🙂
- Makes 4-5 cups
- For the Ice Cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- For the Grapes
- 3 cups red, seedless grapes (sliced or whole)
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. Glossop's Smoked Sugar Syrup
- 1 sprig of thyme
- Make the Ice Cream
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Pour mixture into your ice cream maker and mix according to your machine's instructions. Mine needed about 20 minutes.
- Scoop ice cream into an airtight freezer container.
- Freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.
- Make the Roasted Grapes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Combine grapes, oil, syrup, and thyme in a glass baking dish.
- Roast for 15 minutes or until grapes are juicy and bursting.
- Spoon over ricotta ice cream and serve immediately!