Along the Grapevine


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A Dessert of Wine and Roses

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This is a dessert I have been thinking about for some time, but had to wait for wild strawberries to be in season. It has taken me a couple of weeks to collect the berries, about half a cup which I picked every time I was out weeding, and popped them in the freezer until I had enough.

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This is a super light dessert – a perfect finale to a rich dinner. It contains wine, fruit and sugar. All sorts of variations could be tried, and strawberries are not essential – any other fruit would do. It consists of three simple parts: a mixture of unsweetened apple sauce and wine; a jelly made of rose scented geranium syrup with strawberries; some kind of garnish.

For the base I used apple sauce made from last year’s feral apples and a dry red wine. I mixed 1 part of wine with 2 parts apple sauce.

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The jelly was made from a simple syrup made from a ratio of 2:1 sugar and water mixture boiled with the addition of the rose geranium. Rosewater to taste is a possible alternative. I added the strawberries to the jelly and when set, cut it in small cubes. This is the sweet part of the dessert. Spoon applesauce/wine mixture into individual bowls alternately with cubes of jelly.

As a garnish, I made a granita from watermelon and more rose syrup. This was done by blending some fresh, ripe watermelon with syrup according to how sweet you want it. I processed it in an ice cream maker, but it can also be done just by scraping with a fork several times during the freezing process.

I am bringing this to Fiesta Friday #73, and hope that some of the guests will be inspired by this simple, delicious and romantic dessert.

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Related posts:

Olive oil ice cream with balsamic wild strawberries

Wild greens and strawberries with chocolate balsamic dressing

Wild apple and rose geranium jelly


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Marganita

This is turning out to be a great year for grapes, at least in Eastern Ontario. I have managed to cut down on the labour of picking them by putting stems and all into the food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, it is a great investment for around $20. You often see them in flea markets, and they do exist in some kitchen stores too. I use it for apple sauce, ketchup, grapes, tomato sauce, etc. and especially at this time of year, it is indispensable.

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In an effort to come up with more ways to enjoy this bounty of grapes, I made a margarita-like drink with some of the granita from yesterday’s post, and named the drink marganita. Definitely a success, and with this hot weather continuing at least for to-day, will have another when my day’s work is done. Here is the recipe.

Marganita

For each glass, mix in a blender,

1 oz. tequila

juice of 1/2 lime

2 ice cubes

1 generous Tbsp. granita

Pour into glasses which have been wetted and dipped in a mixture of chili pepper and salt. Garnish with lime zest.

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Wild Grape Granita

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Granita is the simplest frozen dish ever – just a mixture of fruit, sugar and water. It makes a refreshing snack on a hot day like today, can be used as a dessert, or served alongside cheese. I like to think of it as a gourmet popsicle.

There are plenty of recipes out there for granitas of all kinds of fruit, but the only ones for grapes I found were for cultivated grapes. The wild grapes have so much more flavour and colour, not to mention nutrition. Also, I have just too many grapes and felt it was time I experimented some more.

Method

1. Make a sugar syrup of 3 cups sugar and 1 cup water. Just mix these, heat and stir until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. Set aside to cool. If you don’t use all of it, you can put it aside for ice teas, lemonades, etc,

2. Remove the berries and put in a saucepan. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for about five minutes. Strain, discard seeds and skins, and return to the saucepan.

3. For 3 cups of juice, add 3 cups of sugar syrup and the juice of 1 lemon. Mix together and pour into a container with a lid to be frozen. Once it starts to freeze, break up the ice with a fork. Repeat this about every 45 minutes until the mixture is frozen right through.

Tip: Use a shallow container with a tight fitting lid. It will freeze much more quickly. Also, when adding the sugar, don’t add it all at once so you can test for sweetness. If you pick your grapes after the first frost, they will be sweeter than the ones I am using, so might require less sugar.