- 1½ pounds seedless grapes (about 3 cups), off the vine
- 1 pint strawberries (about 2 cups), quartered
- 2 tablespoons honey, divided
- 6-8 sprigs thyme
- 3 small lemons, zested and juiced, divided
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1 (12-inch) French baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction
- mint leaves, for garnish
This recipe proves that you only need a handful of fresh ingredients to create a dish that will please a hungry crowd. My unexpected love for roasted grapes was inspired by Sheldrick Holmes, my mentor and the owner of the Grail Café in Chicago. The simple combo of sweet Champagne grapes and creamy mascarpone will bring a new world of flavor to your appetizers.
Technique tips: Keep all the components (bread, roasted fruit, mascarpone spread and garnishes) separate and allow guests to build their own toast. Treat yourself and reserve any leftover roasted fruit for a fun and delicious topping for ice cream.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.2.
In a large bowl, toss together the grapes, strawberries, 1 tablespoon of honey, thyme, the juice of 1 lemon and ginger.3.
Place the fruit onto a large baking sheet, place it into the oven and cook for 35 to 40 minutes. Once finished, remove the thyme sprigs and lightly smash the grapes with a fork.4.
In a medium bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese, remaining tablespoon of honey, the zest and juice of the remaining lemons, nutmeg, black pepper and almonds.5.
If serving immediately, spread a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese onto each slice of bread, top with the roasted grapes and strawberries and garnish with balsamic reduction and mint leaves. If preparing ahead, store the mascarpone dip and roasted fruit separately, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. Assemble up to 1 hour before serving.