Skip to main content

Lina Caschetto’s grape "cheesecake,” crispy oat cookie, vermouth and grape jelly

THOMAS GIRARD/The Globe and Mail

The first time I ate grapes in France is seared into my memory. I had arrived in Paris at the height of grape season, a fresh-faced, naive, young(er) Canadian who had simply forgotten (or never known) what real grapes taste like. The markets were bursting with local varieties, many of which I had never even heard of. I carefully selected a beautiful bunch of Muscat grapes, their skins as black as the night sky.

Their fresh bright-green stems looked nothing like the dried brown stalks I was used to plucking this fruit from. It was love at first bite: sweet-yet-fresh juice-filled orbs with snappy, tannic and textural skins worth chewing on. One thing did require getting used to: the (gasp) seeds! But while they are a bit annoying, I've learned to eat around them, because it's worth it. Fresh French grapes are the real deal and I wouldn't trade them for all the seedless grapes in the world.

This recipe was inspired by my love of French grapes, my love of cream cheese and my love of cheesecake. Feel free to substitute Concord grapes for the Muscat – any smaller red seedless variety will do, if you must. There are a number of steps, but you can do some of them in advance.

Vermouth and grape jelly

1 1/2 envelopes gelatin

1 cup white grape juice

1/2 cup cold water

5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white sugar

1/2 cup cold sweet vermouth

Crispy oat cookie

1 cup flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine salt

14 tbsp softened butter (1 3/4 sticks)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

2 1/2 cups whole oats

'Cheesecake' filling

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup icing sugar

1 cup (250 grams) cream cheese

Grape glaze

1 cup sugar

1 cup red wine

1/2 cups white grape juice

1 tbsp lime juice

Assembly

30-40 small fresh Muscat or Concord grapes, cut in half lengthwise

Lime zest, microplaned

Method

Vermouth and grape jelly

Bloom gelatin in the cold water.

Boil grape juice, add the gelatin and water to dissolve. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add cold vermouth and whisk to combine.

Pour onto medium sized tray and cool in the fridge until firmly set, about 4 hours.

Scrape from tray into rough chunks and store in an airtight box in the fridge until ready to serve. This can be made a couple days in advance.

Crispy oat cookie

Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Cream butter and sugars in a mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well mixed.

Gradually add dry ingredients and then stir in the oats until just combined.

Roll the cookie dough into 6-centimetre-wide logs and wrap with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge until ready to bake – the dough can be made up to a week in advance.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F. Cut 1-cm-thick cookie slices and bake from cold on a parchment-lined tray until golden and crispy, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Cool completely on the trays before storing in an airtight box until ready to serve. Cookies can be baked a day ahead.

'Cheesecake' filling

Beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy and creamed together in the mixer. Add the cream cheese and fold through with a spatula until combined. Place in a piping bag and store in the fridge until ready to use. Best when used the day it is made.

Grape glaze

Heat sugar, red wine and grape juice in a small pot over medium-high heat until reduced by half. The mixture should be thickened and shiny. Add lime juice and stir to combine. Adjust with more lime juice if too sweet or too thick. Cool and store in the fridge until ready to use. Allow to come to room temperature before using.

Assembly

(4 small bowls)

Glaze the grapes in a small bowl with some of the glaze, stir until coated.

Spoon 2 to 3 spoonfuls of jelly into the bottom of each bowl.

Dollop 5 to 6 generous dots of the cheesecake onto the jelly. Place one cookie on top of the cheesecake. Dollop 5 to 6 more dots in a round on top of the cookie. Spoon the grapes evenly over each bowl. Garnish with lime zest.

Serve immediately.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter