Stuffed Desert Grapes
BHARA ANGOOR MITHAI

-Recipe from Yamuna mataji

        Large black grapes and cheese are made for each other, both for taste and appearance. In this version, pepper and saffron bring warmth to the cheese. While living in South Cornwall with acres of garden and orchard at my disposal, I sweetened the cheese with fresh mashed figs, crushed and drained raspberries and wild dewberries. In New York, I love to use strawberry farmers cheese from Ben’s Cheese Shop. As finger foods for entering, these stuffed grapes look wonderful set out on a bed of geranium leaves. On a dinner menu, arrange 2 or 3 grapes in a cluster and set them on a fresh vine leaf.

Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 25 minutes
Chilling time: 3-4 hours
Serves: 3or 4

Freshly made cheese or farmers cheese (about 3 ounces/85 g)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) superfine sugar or
         Sugar-free apple butter
1/8 teaspoon (0.5 ml) freshly ground pepper
teaspoon (1 ml) good quality saffron threads
4 ounces (115 g) large firm desert grapes

1.    Place the cheese on a smooth countertop or marble slab and, working with the heel of your hand, knead and bray the cheese until it is creamy smooth without a trace of graininess. Sprinkle in the sugar, black pepper and saffron, and knead until the ingredients are blended. Place in a bowl and chill until firm.
Alternatively, fit a food processor with the metal cutting blade. Break the cheese into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Combine the cheese, sugar, pepper and saffron in the work bowl and process until light and creamy smooth. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and chill until firm.
2.    Slice the grapes lengthwise about three-quarters through and remove the seeds with the tip of a knife. Stuff each grape with the cheese filling; smooth the edges and wipe the grapes clean. Chill before serving.