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Sara's Secrets: Quick Grape Crumble

I can never resist a fruit crisp or crumble recipe. This one, however, suffers from a case of "How many grapes?" The proportions are way off — so much so that I find it hard to believe that anyone actually prepared this recipe before it found its way into the finished book.

The ingredients list calls for "2 cups seedless red or green grapes." Which are first cooked in a saucepan with jelly and port before they're ever baked in the oven. When I first read the recipe, I thought, "Hmm. That doesn't seem like enough grapes." But I went ahead and measured out 2 cups, then cooked them as instructed in the recipe. The yield, after the grape filling had boiled and thickened, was a scant 1 cup. Which is then supposed to be placed in a 1-quart or 8-inch baking dish, and covered with about 2 cups of streusel mixture.

How a recipe with proportions that are so clearly off makes it into a cookbook, I don't understand. I doubled the amount of grapes, and still felt as though they weren't quite enough to have a good balance between fruit and topping. 5 cups of grapes is the amount you need to make enough fruit filling to cover the bottom of an 8-inch dish.

I've adjusted the amounts for some of the other filling ingredients as well; the amount of cornstarch called for to thicken 2 cups of grapes will suffice for the increased amount, since it WAY overthickened the filling with the lesser amount of fruit. The end result is a tasty example of a fruit crisp, although it's not the best rendition of this type of dessert that I've ever tried. Jacques Pépin's Shortbread-Raspberry Gratins still hold pride of place as my favorite quick fruit crumble.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

5 cups seedless red or green grapes, or a mixture
1/2 cup red currant jelly
1/4 cup port wine, muscat, Sauternes, or other dessert wine, OR grape juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
To serve: vanilla ice cream, yogurt, or crème fraîche, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the grapes, jelly, and wine or juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the grapes burst, about 10 minutes. Whisk together the cornstarch, lemon juice, and water. Add the mixture to the grapes and stir until the mixture thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the filling to a shallow 1-quart baking dish or 8-inch round pan.

In a food processor, pulse the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add the oats and almonds and pulse once or twice to combine. Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the fruit filling and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is golden. Let rest at least 30 minutes before serving.



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