Summer’s nearing its end, and that means it’s grape-harvesting time. I’ve had my grape vines for three years now, and this is the first year that they’ve born fruit, but boy did they make up for the two previous ones. I’ve been cutting bunches and bunches of grapes off the sagging vines, temporarily bent from the weight of the plump and dusty purple fruit, and have been using them up in all manners of things. From tarts to roasts to juice to vinegar, I’m covering all the bases with these guys. The vinegar will take a couple months to ferment, so I’m hoping that I do it right and it all comes out okay rather than turning to moldy mush (although from what I’ve read it just seems like I mash up a bunch of grapes and ferment them, then strain the solids out and ferment the juicy bits some more, which seems hard to mess up).
For this tart, I made a simple almond filling with butter, honey from the beehive, an egg from the chickens, some vanilla, and of course almond meal. I sprinkled some grapes on the filling in the pan, and the crust is just a simple normal pastry crust with a touch of allspice for some warmth. The tart came out perfectly, the crust and filling were buttery and wonderful, with a delightful hint of almond (not the hitting-you-over-the-head-with-it almond flavor you can sometimes get from using almond extract in things), and bright bursts of sweet and tart fruit flavor from the roasted grapes. I don’t know why folks don’t bake with grapes more, they taste damn incredible when roasted and add such a wonderfully complex and tannic flavor to baked goods, much in the same way that black cherries do. The next time you’re baking something, throw some grapes in it. I promise you’ll be happy you did.
About That FeedFeed Dinner…
And while this next bit doesn’t have anything to do with grapes or tarts, I did want to share it with you guys since I had so much fun doing it. This past spring I co-hosted a dinner from my cookbook, First We Eat, with FeedFeed at their amazing Brooklyn event space. Because I was helping host the event, I didn’t take enough pictures to include in a whole blog post on it’s own, so I figured I’d tag it onto this post for a little extra fun goodness to peek at 😀
I got to spend the day before and the day of the dinner prepping all the food with my friends Stephanie and Jeanette, (both of whom I befriended through Secret Supper in Portland, and both of whom ended up moving to New York last year), in the spacious FeedFeed kitchen space. It’s always hit or miss cooking in a new kitchen, but I have to say that roasting + baking in their space with its two ovens definitely sold me on the multiple-oven concept. If you’ve ever entertained people and needed to cook the main entree and bake dessert at the same time, you can understand how magical it is. IT. WAS. THE. BESTTTTT.
For the dinner itself, we served dishes from the spring chapter of the First We Eat cookbook, which included pea hummus on little pita toasts with chevre + microgreens, roasted asparagus crostinis with homemade preserved lemon cream cheese, snap pea salad with crispy goat cheese medallions, roast chicken with sherry-sautéed morels, mussels in tomato + white wine broth, and a brown butter sprouted grain cake with rhubarb buttercream. Simply Organic helped sponsor the event and I used their incredibly flavorful dried herbs + spices to prepare and season all the dishes (which was perfect because those are the spices I have at home that I used when developing the recipes for the book—YAY consistency!!)
My friends at the FeedFeed (I’m looking at you Kevin, Giora, and Julie!) invited an amazing group of foodies from around New York and I had the most incredible time getting to know them and also hanging out with the FeedFeed team leading up to the dinner itself. I’m hoping I’ll find my way back there again, it was so much fun being a guest in their space and helping to bring together this community of people who are all passionate about cooking, eating, and living well. So here’s to beautiful food memories, and I hope that this tart recipe helps create one for you, too!
Roasted Grape and Almond Tart
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon flake kosher sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 3 ounces unsalted butter cold and hard
- 1/4 cup ice water
Almond + Grape Filling
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2/3 cup almond meal
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup grapes removed from stem (if you are using large store-bought grapes, you should cut them in half
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and allspice until combined. Cut the butter into pea sized pieces over the bowl, stopping to stir every few minutes to coat the butter pieces in the flour mixture.
Use your fingertips to pinch the butter pieces and combine them with the flour until the mixture resembles the texture of damp sand. Add the water and stir to combine, then knead the dough with your hands for 10 seconds until it comes together. If the dough sticks together when you grab it and squeeze it in your hand, it's fine. If it falls apart, add another tablespoon or two of water.
Transfer the dough to a clean surface, pat it into a circle, cover it, and place it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the dough and transfer it to a greased 9-inch tart pan, trimming off any excess edges. Use a fork to poke holes all over it and set it aside.
Almond + Grape Filling
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and honey at medium low speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the almond meal and beat until combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.
Empty the filling into the tart pan, and evenly distribute the grapes across the surface of the filling. Place the pan in a baking sheet and then place the baking sheet in the oven (that way any melted ghee or tomato juice that might drip out of the pan won't start burning the bottom of your oven).
Bake until the top of the tart is golden brown and the grapes burst and wrinkle slightly, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.