God’s Italian Ice
If you haven’t tried frozen grapes, I need you to stop what you’re doing, run to the grocery store, and buy a bag of the purple or green seedless ones. I’ll wait here.
You’re back? Great!
Now grab a pen and paper and write down these very specific instructions: Put the grapes in the freezer.
Seriously. That’s all it takes. And I swear to The Lord above that once these juicy fruits are frozen (say 3 hours from now), you’ll be munching on God’s version of Italian Ice. The grape’s flesh miraculously transforms into an icy cold, sherbet-like substance – perfect for snacking on when you’re fresh out of ice cream or plopping into a glass of tepid white wine or an ice-less cocktail when you want to chill it –stat – without watering it down.
My friend Brianne introduced me to a fancier version of the frosty snack about 10 years ago at one of our annual Christmas dinners. Each year, my girlfriends from high school and I gather at one of our houses, get all dressed up, each bring a dish, and try our hardest to act like mature ladies who just want to celebrate the holiday. But every year, somewhere between the crudité and the cookies, the champagne takes over, drags us to a late-night karaoke bar and forces us to belt out Genie in a Bottle as we spill drinks all over our Christmas sweaters.
But please, dear reader, don’t let my childish tales of failed Christmas parties from long, long ago distract you from the real story. Brianne’s fancy, frozen grapes are the star here. Dusted with confectioners’ sugar, they arrived at our dessert table 10 years ago looking like glistening Christmas globes and tasting like sugar-glazed angel food. And every year since, the frosty grapes have graced our holiday dessert table with their presence.
Brianne shared her recipe with me a few days ago, during a particularly steamy afternoon. I think these fancy grapes are the perfect make-ahead summer-time dessert. Serve as a cocktail party nibble on a warm summer evening or on a simple dinner party dessert platter with some hard, crumbly cheese and cold, fuzzy champagne. (But if you find yourself downtown at the end of the night with music in your ears and a mic’ in your hand, don’t say I didn’t warn
Prep time: Less than 5 minutes
Total time: About 3 hrs. (in the freezer)
1 bunch green grapes, rinsed
¼ cup, plus 2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1. Place rinsed grapes on parchment-lined baking tray (the grapes should still be a little wet) . Evenly sprinkle with ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar (use a fine-hole, mesh strainer for a super-even dusting); cover with plastic wrap. Freeze at least 3 hrs., or up to 1 week.
2. To serve, remove grapes from freezer; dust with remaining sugar. Serve immediately.
What I’m Drinking: Champagne