Grapes with Gorgonzola and Caramel Crunch
I don’t care what anybody says, these are just the best flavour combination ever. Juicy, sweet seedless grapes wrapped in creamy and salty gorgonzola rolled in a coating of caramel crunch, heaven. It’s as simple as that. I can pop a chilled one of those into my mouth any time. It’s refreshing (the grape) sophisticated (the gorgonzola) and salted-caramel sweet. I rest my case (I am a lawyer, it’s a habit).
I used to make them with roasted almond crunch before, more savoury flavour, but now I am making them with the caramel crunch. I serve them as an appetizer or with a cheese and fruit plate after dinner or top an endive and radicchio salad with a couple of them. If you venture to make them, be sure to serve them chilled so make them early in the day to allow them to cool and the cheese to firm up.
I had a lot of caramelized nuts and other caramelized crunch left over (in the freezer) from the truffle making adventure the other day so I thought I’d make this recipe and roll the grapes in this crunch. The product I used today is by Dufflet NUTT-e caramel almond pistachio wafers I bought at Urban Fare or you can use any caramelized nuts that you can buy at good bakeries or grocery stores. Of course you can make your own caramelized nuts.
How do I make them? well, it is a little messy as you have to use your hands to roll the grapes in the cheese and then in the caramel crunch, so you have to wash your hands a few times in the process. Not the end of the world:). I grind the caramel wafers or caramelized nuts, mix the cream cheese with the gorgonzola in a food processor and take the grapes off the stems. Line everything in bowls (French term: mis en place or “put in place”). The grapes have to be dry for the cheese to stick to them. Drop a few grapes into the cheese bowl then with your hand coat the grapes with the cheese. Drop the cheese coated grapes into the caramel crunch. When you have enough grapes in there use a spoon to turn them around and coat them with the crunch. Now they are not sticky so with clean hands roll them to make sure they are coated nicely all around. Place on a tray that fits in your fridge. When you have finished rolling all the grapes you intend to use place in the fridge and let chill.
Eat the same day, because of the sugar in the crunch coating they may begin to weep if left too long in the fridge. Still good though. Enjoy.
One box caramel-nut wafers or 1 cup ground caramelized nuts
2 cups red seedless grapes, stems removed, or as needed
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
1-2 tablespoon cream
Wash the grapes and dry completely. You can lay them on a cookie sheet and leave uncovered for a while to dry. If the grapes are wet the cheese won’t stick to them easily.
Place caramel wafer or caramelized nuts in a food processor and process until ground but nor powdery. It should be ground into small pieces. Place in a bowl.
Place the softened cream cheese, gorgonzola and cream in the same food processor and process or pulse a few times to combine the cheeses. Remove into a bowl using a spatula.
Drop the grapes into the cheese mixture. With clean hands mix to coat the grapes with the cheese and drop the grapes, a few at a time, into the crunch mixture.
Roll the cheese coated grapes, a few at a time, in the caramel crunch using a spoons at first to coat each grape with the crunch on all sides. With clean hands roll each grape to make sure it is covered on all sides.
Lay prepared grapes on a tray that can fit in your fridge.
when you finish rolling all the grapes refrigerate them until well chilled, a few hours.
Serve chilled, in a bowl or arranged into a cluster of grapes pattern on a wooden board.