I’m going through a grape phase. I seem to be craving grapes a lot in the last few weeks. The sweetness, the texture, the way they pop in your mouth when you bite them. They’re like nature’s candy.
Last weekend, I went to our local farmer’s market and given it’s Autumn here, grapes are in abundance and at their best. So I bought a bag of grapes from a farmer where they looked particularly plump and delicious. He was generous with his grapes. So generous that I could barely hold the bag. How would I eat all of these grapes before they started going furry?
Cook with them.
There are not a lot of recipes around for dishes with cooked grapes which made me think maybe grapes aren’t very good cooked. But I decided to crack on and I’m glad I did. They are great cooked and this free-form tart that I made called a crostata in Italy was a perfect way to showcases these beautiful grapes.
I put a layer of frangipane on the base and it was a perfect, creamy and nutty complement to the grapes. You can substitute most other fruits in this tart, like berries, apples, pears rhubarb, peaches, nectarines, figs – so whatever season it is in your part of the world, please have a go at making this tart with fruit that is in season in your area. Today I used grapes and it was ace.
Serves 8 per crostata
What you need:
For the pastry – makes enough for two crostata’s
- 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 225g cold butter, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup ice water + 2 tbsp extra if necessary
For the frangipane – makes enough for two crostata’s
- 75g butter, softened
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 100g almond meal
- 4 1/2 cups of grapes – any type, seedless are best
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar + extra for sprinkling over tart
- 1 tbsp corn starch/corn flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp water
- 1 large egg yolk
What to do:
Start by making the dough. In the bowl of your stand mixer put in the flour, sugar and salt and whisk together to combine. Add the butter and using the paddle attachment, beat until the butter are in small pieces and the dough looks like breadcrumbs. Add the ice water and beat on low-speed until it comes together. Add more water if the dough looks really dry, but only 1 tbsp at a time. Take the dough out of the mixer and push into a disc and wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
Preheat oven to 200C/400F
While the dough is chilling, let’s make the frangipane. In the stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Slowly drizzle in the egg and beat well until fully combined. Fold in the almond meal.
In a separate bowl combine the grapes, sugar, corn starch, vanilla extract and water.
Take the dough out of the fridge. Split into two pieces. Roll out the dough into a roughly 11 inch circle.
Spread the frangipane in the centre of the tart, leaving a 2 inch border.
Pile the grapes on top of the frangipane. Fold the pastry roughly over the grapes to form a tart.
Using a pastry brush, glaze the pastry with the egg yolk and then sprinkle with the sugar.
Bake for 35-45 mins until pastry is a light golden brown.
Enjoy with some cream or ice-cream.