Concord Grape Cream Cheese Tarts

I was eating some grapes the other night, and thought that there must be something to do with these juicy orbs, rather than just tossing them into a fruit salad. I started to think what pairs well with grapes, I imagine cream cheese, yes…. like a bit of cheesecake.  My wheels started turning and I came up with this dessert.  Grapes are abundant and reasonably priced, feel free to use any seedless grape you enjoy.  Let’s  starts on these tarts!

Sweet Pastry Dough

  • 9 oz Flour
  • 4 Tblsp Sugar
  • Dash of Salt
  • 6 1/2 oz Butter (1  3/4  Sticks, cold)
  • 1 1/2 Egg Yolks
  • 3 Tblsp Water

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and butter until crumbly.  In a separate bowl stir together the yolks and water.  Pour into the flour mixture, only mix until combined.  Don’t overbeat, this will produce a tough dough.

Pat the dough into 8  Jumbo size cupcake tins.  Make sure to pat up the sides, get the thickness as even as you can, about 1/4 inch thick.

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 Prick the crust all over using a fork.  Freeze for 15 minutes.

Bake them in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, take them out and using the back of a spoon pat the crusts up the sides.

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(this dough tends to slide)  Now bake them another 10 minutes, until golden brown.  Let them cool completely.  While they are cooling let’s make the filling.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 2  (8 oz) Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 3 Tblsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp Corn Starch
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Juice and Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large Egg

Using the paddle attachment beat the  cream cheese until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.  This takes about 10 minutes, you want the cheese to be creamy with absolutely no lumps.  Slowly add the sugar, scrape down bowl.  Mix the cornstarch, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest together, then pour into the batter.  Scrape down the sides of bowl.  Add the egg, mix only until combined.  Using a 1/4  measuring cup pour the batter into the cooled crusts.

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Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, until set yet a little jiggly in the center.  Let them cool at room temp, then put them into the frig.  While these our cooling we will make the grape gelee, sounds fancy, but it is quite easy.

Concord Grape Gelee

  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 frozen Concord Grape juice concentrate (thaw and mix with 2 cans of water, not the recommended 3)
  • 1 Tblsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Bunch of seedless Grapes, cut in half

We will be using only 1 cup of the grape juice, save the rest for breakfast.  Take only 1/4 cup of the grape juice and put it in a saucepan.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the juice and let sit a minute. (this is considered allowing the gelatin to bloom)

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 Bring the juice and gelatin to a simmer, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved.  Take off the heat and stir in the remaining 3/4 Cup of grape juice and the lemon juice.  Pour into a stainless bowl and put in the freezer to set up.  Check on it every so often, and give it a swirl.  We are looking for the consistency of a pourable jelly.

Take the cream cheese tarts out of the frig, and using a spoon take out about 1 tablespoon or so of the filling.  We need room for the gelee.

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Pour the gelee on top with a large spoon, divide it amongst the 8 tarts.  Now place the halved grapes on top in a circular pattern.

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Cover lightly with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.  To depan them use a spatula and slide it around each tart.

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Quite yummy by itself, or dress it up with some grape sorbet.  I love the crunch of the pastry crust and the silkiness of the cream cheese filling.

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 The tang of the lemon shines through just enough to compliment the sweetness of the gelee and the grapes on top.  Now we have an alternative way to utilize grapes, forget the fruit salad and give this a try!  This is a way to use up your grapes, rather then letting them turn to raisins in the frig!  Enjoy!

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