I try to avoid featuring obscure ingredients (though I know some of our favorite flavors are harder to find in areas without so many diverse markets). Today, however, I'm highlighting a variety of grape I've only found in two places: If you can find them, get your hands on some Thomcord grapes.
As a kid, I loved grape jam. Ordinary green and red grapes were such a disappointment in comparison. Eventually I found some Concord grapes at the market, but the seeds are a deal-breaker for me. Enter Thomcord grapes, a cross between Concord and Thompson. They have all the sweet, jammy flavor with none of the seeds. I shared some with friends the other day who said they're like grape candy. They're tiny, a great size for packing in lunch boxes, and they pop with flavor when you eat them. By the handful.
The Thomcord season here just started a few weeks ago. My favorite grape stand at the market offers four or five varieties, but it's the Thomcords that draw a crowd. Get your hands on some if you can! I failed to capture their beautiful purple color in the photo below: Trust me. Gorgeous.
Thomcord Grape Tart
You can substitute Concord grapes if you can't find Thomcord grapes, but you'll need to remove the seeds. Red grapes or Zante currants (champagne grapes) might work nicely, but I haven't tried it.
8 ounces gingersnap cookies (or graham crackers)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces plain, non-fat Greek-style yogurt
8 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar grated zest from 1 orange
2 pounds Thomcord grapes
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare the crust, pulse cookies in a food processor until ground to fine crumbs. (Alternatively, you can put the cookies in a sealed, plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin.) Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and stir with a fork until well combined. Press crumbs into a pie plate and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Let cool completely.
To prepare filling, In a large bowl, blend the yogurt, cream cheese, sugar, and zest until smooth. This is easiest to do with a mixer, but you can do it by hand. Pour filling evenly into cooled crust and smooth top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
To prepare the topping, put the grapes into a saucepan over medium heat. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until grapes begin to split and release their juice. In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour cornstarch mixture into saucepan and stir until juice thickens and becomes clear. Let cool. Spoon topping over the filling shortly before serving.
i've always loved concord grapes. but i just discovered thomcords this year at the vallco farmer's market! i love them. i just wish they were bigger like concords!
That's where I'm getting my fix too. :) I like the size, but getting the stems out can be a minor nuisance. Still not as bad as seeds!
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