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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grape Puree Put to a Good Use




My daughter-in-law has been adding to her already busy schedule the making of grape juice and grape jelly, thanks to a proliferation of grapes ripening on their back yard fence. She cooked up a huge pot of grapes for her first batch and allowed them to drain through a colander. This yielded over a gallon of juice, but the pulp left in the colander looked too good to discard. Being a frugal cook after my own heart, she put this pulp through her food mill to strain out the seeds and skins and gave me over five cups of the result.

Hmmm...

I first googled "grape puree recipes" and found mostly pie fillings. All looked good, but I really didn't want to get that elaborate with my experiment. Instead, I started in a similar direction and ended up with a dessert that was closer to a bar cookie than a fruit crisp, my original intent. Probably the only change that I will make with the remaining puree is to add a little more sugar, as these grapes were really quite tart.

Wild Grape Bars

Filling
2 c grape puree
2/3 c sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t mace

Crust and topping
1/3 c butter, softened
1/4 c oil (this could also have been made with 1/2 c butter, omitting the oil)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 c oatmeal
3/4 c chopped walnuts

1. Filling: In a very large microwave-safe bowl, stir the sugar, spices, and cornstarch together until the cornstarch is thoroughly mixed in. Gradually add the puree and stir until smooth. Place in microwave and cook for about 6 minutes at power level 5 (medium), stirring occasionally, until the mixture is bubbly and thickened. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Crust: Cut sugars into the butter and oil until evenly mixed. Stir in the flour and cinnamon. Add the oatmeal and nuts and continue to stir until the mixture is evenly crumbly. (A large fork is the best tool for this mixing.)





3. Spread all but about a cup or so of the crumbs in the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan and press so that the crust is firm and even. Spread the filling over the crust and then sprinkle with the remaining crumbs.

4. Finish either in the oven or the microwave:

A. Cook in the microwave for about 20 minutes, at medium power, until bubbly around the edges. OR

B. Bake at 325 for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the top is slightly golden.


Alternative uses for the filling:

Add a little water to reach desired consistency, and use as a syrup for pancakes, over ice cream, etc.

Slice or chop a few apples into a pie pan, cover with the grape filling, and then add a crumbly top for a grape-apple crisp.


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