After a wet summer, we’ve had an amazing Autumn here in Niagara (or should I say “Indian Summer”?). The weather has been unseasonably and delightfully warm and dry all throughout the middle and end of October. With this warm spell, grape harvest is still in full swing in our local vineyards. And this year’s grapes are full, rich and heavy.
So, in celebration of this glorious season, I am sharing with you an old-school recipe that couldn’t be a better fit for this situation: a Grape Harvest Cake, from Moissac, France.
This cake has a unique layered texture, made of a generous soft crust topped with a cushiony meringue-like topping – with loads of grapes nested in the middle.
(I don’t think I have ever had a cake similar in texture before!)
The original recipe for this Grape Harvest Cake is traditionally made with Chasselas de Moissac. A delicate variety of golden table grapes, hailing from the little town of Moissac, in the south-west of France (half way between the beautiful cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse).
I have made the switch with red Concord Grapes from Ontario, and it worked perfectly. I am confident you can use whichever variety of table grape you might want (white or red), as long as they are fresh, plump and smooth.
Although at first, I was not sure what to expect from the cooked grapes, they turned out wonderful! Once baked, they became very tender and delectably sweet, with no acidity nor tannins. As sweet as candies, really.
A great rustic-looking Grape Harvest Cake from the French Vineyards that encompasses delicate textures and flavours…enjoy!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram.
For the crust
2 egg yolks
100g white sugar
A pinch of salt
½ lemon, zested
2 tsp baking powder
150g butter, at room temperature
750g grapes (red or white)
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp whole sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
250g sour cream
For the crust:
Ribbon together 2 egg yolks with the sugar, salt and lemon zest (if you need, see this video on how to ribbon egg yolks)
Once you have the right consistency, add all the flour and baking powder and mix rapidly (with a spatula or wooden spoon).
Add in the softened butter and mix until just incorporated (do not overmix)
Spread the dough in a greased 9” round pan. Take your grapes (that you’ve washed and dried off) and sprinkle them evenly on top of the dough. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Preheat your oven to 350F.
For the filling:
In a mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, vanilla extract, cornstarch and sour cream.
Whisk the egg whites until they reach a firm peak. Fold them gently into the sour cream mixture.
Gently pour and spread the sour cream “mousse” on top of the grapes.
Bake for 1h and 15 minutes (after 1 hour, check the cake and add a piece of foil on top of it, if you notice the top is browning too fast).
Let cool to temperature on a cooling rack before taking out of the pan.