Monthly Archives: September 2014

Concord Grape and Ricotta Pie

Everyone remembers enjoying Concord grape juice and peanut butter and Concord grape jelly sandwiches as a child.  Although these are two of the most comforting ways to appreciate the sweet yet tart grape now available in farmers’ markets, there are so many other preparations – chutneys, jams, pies…

I detected the unmistakable fragrance of Concord grapes at a farm stand this weekend and could not resist buying a bunch.  As I still had some ricotta in the refrigerator from recent ravioli making, I decided on a Concord grape and ricotta pie.


3 eggs

1 pound ricotta

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup Concord grapes, halved and seeded

Zest of one lemon

Ricotta Pie Batter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 inch tart pan or pie dish.  Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and then mix in the ricotta, sugar, salt and vanilla.  Fold in the grapes and lemon zest.  Pour and smooth the batter into the tart pan, and bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Garnish each slice with additional grape halves and lemon zest.

Concord Grape Pie

Drop a few grapes into a glass of Prosecco to celebrate autumn with this Concord grape dessert.

Summer Eating Test

Enjoy this food trivia challenge from my September issue of The Judicial Palate!

Summer Eating Test

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association. Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2014.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Sardines – The Tastiest of Small Fish

Sardines are underrated.  Not only are these tiny fish packed full of nutrients, including Vitamin D and protein, but they are also tasty and meaty.  Whenever I see them in a fish market, I buy them.  Although I have scaled and gutted them myself, my preference is to have the fishmonger do it for me.

My favorite preparation is an easy one.  Simply rinse the sardines under cold water and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.  Grill them whole – this should only take a few minutes per side, depending on their size.  To serve, top with freshly squeezed lemon juice and season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.  For a light appetizer, garnish with fresh herbs or serve over shaved fennel.


Some End of Summer R & R – Raspberries and Ricotta

I have been back in the classroom for two weeks, yet I am trying to soak up every last bit of summer, including summer berries.  This easy dessert incorporates raspberries, my favorite berry, and ricotta, one of my preferred cheeses.

Simply scoop some ricotta into each dessert bowl and gently blend in a small quantity of honey.  I used honey infused with lemon from a local farmers’ market.  I also drizzled a bit of chocolate infused olive oil on top of the ricotta, but you could substitute with some chocolate shavings.  Top with a few raspberries and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I purchased some delicious pâtes de fruits (fruit jellies) in Tout Sweet Pâtisserie.  The Negroni flavor is most interesting with its ingredients of blood orange, grapefruit and Campari.  So, for a little bitter to balance the sweet, I placed a few of these tasty jellies on the side.


Ricotta and Raspberries 1

Pineapple Custard

Although Labor Day is behind us, there are several weeks remaining in summer to enjoy some refreshing desserts.  This weekend, inspired by the newest addition to our kitchen – a pineapple corer – I prepared a pineapple custard.  After coring this tropical fruit with ease, I decided to incorporate it into this light dessert.


2 cups whole milk

3 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup pineapple cut into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the milk in a saucepan until it is warm – do not bring it to a boil.  Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Pour the warm milk into the mixing bowl containing the other ingredients, whisking gently while pouring.  Then stir in the pineapple.

Pour the custard mixture into ramekins (the above quantities filled four of my ramekins).  Then place the ramekins in a large Pyrex baking dish.  Create a water bath by pouring enough hot water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover the entire baking dish with aluminum foil, but not tightly, as the custard may puff up a bit.  Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick into the custard and it comes out clean.

This custard is at its best if you allow it to set for several hours in the refrigerator before serving.

When ready to plate, top each ramekin with additional slices of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.  My favorite maraschino cherries are those from Tillen Farms – free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.  These cherries from the Pacific Northwest are a rich, deep red and are a perfect complement to the sweet yet tart pineapple.

Pineapple Custard

Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer with this tropical dessert!