I used my blue handle secataurs to sever the fruit from the stem, careful not to cause any damage to the leaves. I had counted them before, many times, there were sixteen bunches in all. They started as tiny green specks, sometimes hiding under cover of the leaves. With time they became plump and then changed color to purple. The girls in my office got daily briefings, from conception to maturation, with pictures, in different lightings.
I held the basket of grapes very carefully, brought it in my kitchen, and was busy giving them a nice wash, just like a new mother would , to her infant. ‘Why did you buy such tiny little grapes, Mashi?” exclaimed Buri, my teenage niece. “They are organic grapes and I grew them in my garden”, I defended. Unaware of the hurt feeling I was tending to, she asked, “Are they atleast sweet?” “There are different varieties,” I cleared my throat, ‘These are a bit tangy,” I added. At this time she tore a couple of them from one bunch and vollyed them to the direction of her mouth. The grapes made a perfect landing. I heard a crunch first followed by a loud “Ew, it has seeds!”
My grapes are small, tangy and seeded, I said to myself. They have grown in my USDA 2a garden with minimum care. They are not “Concord’, “Cabernet Sauvignon’ or ‘Merlot’, they are “Valiant’. Staying true to their name, they come back year after year, surviving the minus thirtyfive C winter. To me they are no less than Shiraz, Pinot Noir or Petit Sirah.
What do I cook with these grapes, I pondered. As I type in the words grape recipes, I got Gazpacho, Gelato, Salad, Galette. My eyes were drawn to the open window, where I saw only red and yellow leaves. The combines and swathers in the farmer’s field were put away after a busy last few days. As far as the eyes could see, the hay bales were neately arranged. ‘Your days are gone Gazpacho and Gelato,” I said to myself. Grape salad sounded too plain to me. Surely these grapes deserve much more than being added in a salad. Galette, sounded interesting . I have never ‘Galetted” anything before. Looked very crispy from outside, with a gooey goodness within. Galette it is, I’m going to make a grape galette.
I followed the recipe from “Chatelaine” magazine, August 2013 with some changes.” “The autumn leaves ,flies past my window”, Diana Krall’s raspy voice was playing on my ipod. I started measuring the flour..
All purpose flour 11/4 cup
Granulated sugar 1Tbsp
Salt 1/4 Tsp
Unsalted butter 1/2 cup cold, cubed
Ice water 4 Tsp
Lemon juice 1 Tbsp
Packed brown sugar 1/2 cup
Cornstarch 3 Tbsp
Salt 1/8 Tsp
Grapes seeded 4 cups
Almond slivers 1/2 cup Dry roasted
Icing sugar 1 Tbsp
Mint leaves 2 or 3, shredded ( optional ) to garnish.
Take the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix it with the flour till crumbs form. Add ice water and lemon juice, bring the dough together. It should not be sticky.
Position the rack in the bottom of the oven. Preheat it to 375 degrees F. Lay a large piece of parchment paper on the counter. Sprinkle lightly with flour. Dust the rolling pin with flour. Roll the pastry on the parchment into a circle about 12′ wide. The edges can be uneven. Transfer the parchment and pastry to baking sheet.
Combine brown sugar, cornstarch and the salt in a bowl. Dry roast the almond slivers and add them in. Tumble fruit mix onto centre of pastry forming a 10′ circle. Fold pastry over, just to cover the edge of the fruit. The centre of the pie should not be covered with pastry. The edge will be uneven. Lightly brush pastry with water then sprinkle some sugar.
Bake till pastry is golden and mixture is bubbly, about 35 – 40 mts. I garnished with slivers of mint leaf. Enjoy either with icecream or with a drizzle of sugar.
1. Deseeding the grapes took a long time.
2.I had to take help from black seedless grapes, as my “Valiant” grapes did not yield four cups as the recipe asked for ( Shh….)
3. Mum’s sister is addressed as ‘Mashi’.