Our cardamom grapes wrapped in blue cheese and pistachios are an easy and elegant way to add a touch of sophistication to your next gathering. They combine the distinct flavor of blue cheese (also called bleu cheese, in a nod to France), a warm hint of cardamom and the contrast of salty, crunchy nuts with a surprisingly sweet and juicy center.
Nobody has to know that these impressive looking little balls are so easy to make! Simply choose your favorite red, green or black seedless grapes. Then roll them in a mixture of softened cream cheese and blue cheese. Blue cheese has a distinct flavor, a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a powerful aroma. Also, feel free to experiment with other cheeses like soft goat cheese, gorgonzola or Roquefort for different flavor combinations.
Next, roll the balls in a bowl of finely-chopped and salted pistachios. We have added a secret ingredient to our nut mix: cardamom. This spice may sound exotic, but you have probably enjoyed it in baked goods along with cinnamon, cloves and other holiday spices. Cardamom pairs well with both sweet and spicy foods and can also be found in many Asian dishes. It has a spicy, herbal and citrusy flavor.
If you don’t have cardamom in your spice cabinet and are in a pinch, substitute equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger or cloves instead. Or, create even more interesting combinations by using different types of nuts like walnuts, cashews or almonds, or coating them in spiced, smoked or candied nut pieces.
These grapes are a perfect appetizer, or would also be a great garnish when placed atop a fresh salad and served with blue cheese dressing. They are pair beautifully with wine and crackers on any party table, and they would also be a welcome after-work nibble.
No matter the occasion, these grapes pack a combination of complex flavors in one tiny package and are sure to be a hit!
Cardamom grapes wrapped in blue cheese pistachios
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 ounces blue cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup pistachios, roasted, toasted and salted, ground to a fine grind
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon dried cardamom
- 1 large bunch of grapes, washed, dried and stems removed
- Blend cream cheese and blue cheese together in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and well-blended.
- Place pistachios in a small bowl. Add salt, cardamom and mix well.
- Take one grape at a time, dip in cheese mixture and coat, using your hands to spread the cheese on the grape.
- Place the cheese-wrapped grapes in the nut mixture one at a time, then roll around to cover all sides with nuts. Set aside.
- Continue this process until all grapes are coated with cheese and nuts.
- Place the grapes on a serving plate, and chill until ready to serve.
- Place a small skewer in each grape, place on a platter and serve at room temperature.
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