Grapes. Actually let's go with, GRAPES! I feel like grapes don't get the recognition they deserve. They are all too often an afterthought. Sure, they are fermented into a tipple of the Gods, they are iconic in a PB&J and they compliment cheeseboards impeccably. But, rarely do grapes take center stage in the dessert department. So, I am shining the spotlight directly on them with this Roasted Grape Goat Cheese Tart.
Grapes are almost an evergreen fruit as they are easily accessible most of the year. In fact, the California Grown table grape season runs from May through January! I use this beautifully illustrated seasonality guide from California Grown to me visualize when grapes are available and what other produce to pair them with throughout each season.
In the summer you can always find a stash of grapes stowed away in my freezer. I love having them at the ready for those scorching hot days when all I crave is something fresh and cool. Come fall, I highlight grapes in my Spiced Up Grape Apple Pie, which is basically the flavor of fall baked right into a pie. This just shows you how versatile grapes are. They are delightful fresh but they can get down with some heat and can swing from sweet to savory.
Some fun grape facts that you may not know:
- California grows 80 varieties for fresh grapes. But most of us think of them as 3 categories; Green, Red and Black.
- Turns out that climate in the Coachella and San Joaquin valleys is ideal for table grapes with hot sunny days and crisp cool nights.
- California leads the nation in production of table grapes, growing over 99% of fresh grapes in the U.S.!
- The Golden State has been growing grapes for more than two centuries and continues to be the leading agricultural state in the nation.
- You can't beat those plump and juicy, sun filled Grapes from California so be sure to use this handy guide to track down California Grown grapes where you live!
I developed this Roasted Grape Goat Cheese Tart around my appreciation for the simple and beloved table grape. I wanted to share a new way to think about grapes, by roasting them. This elegant tart may look all kinds of fancy but it's actually quite easy to make. It breaks down into 3 simple components that get layered together into an elegant and easy treat.
3 components of the Roasted Grape Goat Cheese Tart:
- Brown Sugar Shortbread Shell
- The simple, press in brown sugar shortbread crust is a buttery, crisp base with a sweet hint.
- It comes together in minutes and looks flawless when made in a removable bottom tart pan.
- Whipped Goat Cheese Filling
- The smooth and creamy filing is made with earthy goat cheese, lightened up when whipped with tangy Greek yogurt.
- Honey naturally sweetens things with a splash of vanilla to round it out.
- Orange zest balances the tangy filling with brightness giving it a sophisticated essence reminiscent of a creamsicle.
- Roasted Red and Black Grapes
- Combining grapes with orange slices, orange juice, olive oil, sugar and herby thyme allows the grapes to take on a whole new persona as they roast together in the oven.
- The grapes go from juicy fresh to complex and jammy with deep, naturally sweet and syrupy flavors.
- They take on the richness of the olive oil, the brightness of the orange and herby-ness of the thyme while still boasting their juicy sweetness.
The Goat Cheese Filling is an easy mix of whipped goat cheese, Greek yogurt, honey, orange zest and vanilla. The filling gets whipped together until smooth, then poured into the cooled tart shell. The filling needs at least a few hours to set up in the fridge before cutting. I like to top it with a bit more orange zest before chilling. To roast, combine the grapes with sliced orange, orange juices, olive oil, sugar, and thyme on a baking sheet. Toss to combine, then roast. So easy. The roasted red and black grapes with the orange slices come out of the oven looking like stained glass. They should just begin to break down, barely burst and start to shrivel.
This Roasted Grape Goat Cheese Tart has a sophisticated sweetness that skims the border of savory. The goat cheese is rich with a bit of funkiness that serves as a beautiful base to the syrupy sweet roasted grapes. And, the thinly sliced oranges get candied as they roast in the oven and make for a stunning garnish. And the final finish, top with a few tendrils of fresh thyme to make it extra fancy and fresh.
I am thrilled to give grapes the notoriety they deserve with this gorgeous Roasted Grape Goat Cheese Tart. It's fancy without being fussy and elegantly indulgent. This stageworthy tart shines bright in the limelight.
This post was proudly made in partnership with California Grown. All opinions are my own. It makes my heart happy to be able to share my fondness for California Grown food and I thank you for supporting me and the brands that I love.
Once the Goat Cheese Filling has set and the Roasted Grapes have cooled, gently spoon the grapes over top of the chilled tart. You can add all of the grapes at once to the whole tart. Or slice the tart first and top each slice individually. Be sure to garnish with some of those stunning candied orange wheels and some fresh thyme too!