KitchenWise: Serve Grape and Cranberry Crisp at Thanksgiving
For many of us, the menu for Thanksgiving is etched in stone. We eat the same dishes every year because we love every one of them. But what about switching it up a little by swapping in a Grape and Cranberry Crisp for the more traditional apple, pumpkin or pecan pie?
“Eh,” replies The Husband. “Grapes are so boring. Wouldn’t the crisp be tastier made with raspberries or blueberries?” I calmly note that grapes turn into a whole different fruit when they’re cooked, much more intensely flavorful than in their raw state. Also, fall is grape season, which isn’t true of blueberries and raspberries. Best of all, the grapes in this dessert require no prep — no peeling or coring or slicing. Just a quick rinse and they’re good to go.
Plus, this recipe is almost wantonly customizable. What kind of grape to use? Any seedless grape of any color will do. Don’t like pistachios? Roll instead with one of your favorites, including walnuts, pecans and almonds. Not a fan of dried cranberries? Dried cherries, apricots, or even raisins (aka dried grapes!) will do nicely. Allergic to gluten? Replace this recipe’s flour with one of the gluten-free brands available at most supermarkets. Finally, I happen to have teamed up the grapes with raspberry jam, but you’re welcome to substitute any of the jams or jellies now sitting in your refrigerator.
If indeed this dessert busts into the lineup for the Big Meal, you can prep both the grape filling and the topping ahead of time. Just be sure to let the filling cool before pouring it into the pie plate. Then top it with the crisp ingredients and park it on the counter until it’s time to pop it into the oven.
I promise you’ll be thrilled to discover the delights of cooked grapes — as even The Husband, ever a skeptic, was.
Grape and Cranberry Crisp
Start to finish: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
3 cups seedless red or green grapes or a mix
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam or currant jelly or apricot jam
3 tablespoons orange juice, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pistachios, almonds or walnuts
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a medium saucepan combine the grapes, jam and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir, reduce it to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the grapes are very tender and start to burst, about 10 minutes. In a bowl whisk together the cornstarch, lemon juice and remaining tablespoon orange juice. Add the mixture to the grapes, in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 seconds, stir in the cranberries and pour the mixture into an 8- to 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and blend it in using your hands, until the butter is broken into small pieces the size of peas. Stir in the oats and pistachios and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the grape filling. Bake in the center until the crust is golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then serve with the ice cream.
Nutritional information per serving: 252 calories; 124 calories from fat; 14 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 23 mg cholesterol; 41 mg sodium; 31 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 21 g sugar; 3 g protein.
Editor’s Note: Sara Moulton is host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows including “Cooking Live.” Her latest cookbook is “HomeCooking 101.”