Slow Roasted Grapes with Ricotta and Honey

This recipe idea came to me from a cookbook I love from a bakery in Seattle called, Macrina.  They have a roasted grape tart .  So I knew I wanted to take that concept and do something as an appetizer and immediately thought of Ricotta cheese and honey.  The idea was to slow roast the grapes to concentrate the flavors.  So as I sat enjoying a glass of wine with my friend Jenn we did what we always do and talked about food.  I told her my idea for this and we talked about what other flavors might compliment the grape during roasting process without overpowering the grape (lemon zest and juice, honey, salt, and fresh thyme).  I still felt like maybe something was missing when Jenn came up with the idea of adding some whiskey for a complex depth of flavor.  I loved it and that’s how this recipe became complete.  An idea…, a glass of wine…and a good friend.

Truly I love the way it turned because it’s well balanced and has that concentration of grape flavor I was going for. Oh and it pairs really well with the honey and Ricotta cheese.  I did add a tiny pinch of Fleur del sel finishing salt on top of each piece before I served it, which I recommend, but if you don’t have any don’t let that stop you from making this delicious small bite.  And best of all the grapes can be made up to a couple of days in advance and stored in the fridge so this is a quick and easy one for entertaining.

  1. Preheat oven to 275 and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In medium bowl add the honey whiskey, honey, lemon zest and juice, salt and whisk together.  Add the grapes and let them soak up some of the liquid, gently mixing with a rubber spatula to combine.
  2. Place the grapes on the baking sheet in an even layer and pour all the juices from the bowl over the grapes, it will absorb as it bakes.  Remove the thyme from the sprigs and scatter evenly over the tops of the grapes.  Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes.   Remove and let cool on the parchment on a cooling rack.  Refrigerate until ready to use and then bring to room temperature.
  3. Spread a heaping teaspoon of fresh ricotta on each slice of crostini then top with 1 teaspoon of roasted grapes.  Assemble all the crostini and then sprinkle a tiny bit of finishing salt across the tops, garnish with lemon zest and then a drizzle of honey.  
3 cups seedless red grapes, cut in half (approximately 1 lb)

6 Tablespoons honey whiskey (Jack Daniel’s Tennessee honey), 1 50ml mini bottle

2 Tablespoon honey

4 teaspoons lemon zest, plus more for garnish

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

8 sprigs fresh thyme

1 ½ cups fresh whole milk Ricotta cheese

Drizzle of honey

Sprinkle of fleur del sel (finishing salt), optional

Lemon zest

Crostini or fresh bread

*Serves 6 – 8
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