Dress up fruit for fabulous fall desserts
During fall and holiday entertaining, desserts often command the spotlight. For inspiration, use the beautiful, vibrant colours of autumn to inspire unique desserts.
Few fruits can match the taste or vibrancy of green, red and black California grapes. Buy one or buy them all and turn on the creativity. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Dip them in chocolate. Melt dark, milk or white chocolate in the microwave. Dunk single grapes or small clusters into the chocolate, then place on parchment paper to cool and set.
2. Get saucy. Simmer a quick sauce from port wine or balsamic vinegar enhanced with spices or herbs. Add grapes from California, let the fruit absorb the flavours and serve over ice cream, Greek yogurt or pound cake.
3. Treat taste buds to a fruit and cheese platter. Fruit and cheese is a delightful finish to any meal. Choose one or more colours of grapes for the centre of a decorative platter. Then select two or three cheeses with contrasting flavours and textures. Crackers and fig or apricot jam finish the gorgeous presentation.
4. Decorate the table with an edible dessert centrepiece. In a vintage bowl or on a festive tray, arrange large bunches of California grapes artfully and adorn with a shimmery bow. Accent a cookie platter with small grape clusters “frosted” with sugar for an extra festive touch.
Grapes in Port Wine Sauce
Serves: 6 (1/2 cup each)
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Rest time: 60 minutes
• 1 cup (250ml) Port wine
• 1 2-inch x 1/2-inch strip of orange peel
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 tbsp (15ml) honey
• 3 cups (1 pound or 454g) halved red or black seedless California grapes
1. Combine wine, orange peel, cinnamon stick and honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve honey. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup (80ml), about 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the orange peel and cinnamon stick and discard. Stir in grapes. Allow to sit, stirring occasionally, for at least an hour or up to two hours at room temperature, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.
3. Serve over ice cream, frozen yogurt or in a small dish on its own, with biscotti.
Nutritional information per serving: Calories 130; protein 1g; carbohydrates 22g; fat 0 g; cholesterol 0g; sodium 5g; fibre 1g.