SMAM: You Can Eat Dessert!

January 18, 2013


Yup. Dessert. It’s on the SMAM menu.

Rejoice, lover s of all things sweet! You can have dessert and not hate yourself for it later. Double-dog promise.

The Bad News: this dessert does not contain chocolate. Sorry.

The Good News: this dessert contains something better than chocolate: Wine! Shake your collective bootys in celebration, readers!

Even better News? The wine in this dessert does not get boiled or flambeed, so the alcohol content is still in there, in its original form. You did know that, right? That if you cook the wine in a recipe, the alcohol evaporates? ‘Tis true.

This light and lovely dessert comes from Laura Calder, the host of the cooking show “French Food at Home.”  I know that a lot of French food is a dieter’s worst nightmare, but not this recipe. Laura likes to mix things up and serve a wide spectrum of dishes on the Fat-o-Meter, which is why I like her.

I also like her because she’s not completely freaking annoying to watch. She doesn’t say things like “yum-o” or “flavortown” and her tits aren’t hanging out as she stirs her sauce and she can utter a sentence without saying “y’all.”  In fact, while I was watching her show one afternoon, Awesome Stepkid Ro walked into the room and paused a bit to observe. It’s kind of a bonding thing with us; he’ll stumble into the living room when I’m watching a cooking show and stay a while. And then we’ll completely trash talk the chef on said show. It’s good fun.

This time, though, he narrowed his eyes in premature scrutiny, took a good look and then said, “Whoa. This lady’s actually kinda normal.”

High praise, indeed.

In the episode, Laura cooks lunch for friends and wants to keep things light. You don’t want mid-day food coma, right?

This dessert delighted me. It’s so pretty and playful (it was even prettier on the show because Calder used both red and green grapes in her version; I only had green).  Who doesn’t return to their childhood when served a jiggly, gelatin-based dessert? It just makes you smile.

Calder served her grape and wine jellies with a nice, fat dollop of whipped cream, which was lovely but not good for the ass, so I had to settle for a bit of the fake stuff. But I imagine that it would be far tastier with the real deal. I’ll try it that way when SMAM is over and let you know.

Serve this dessert in good conscience and good spirit. It will put a grin on your face just looking at it.



Grape and Wine Jellies

serves 4

recipe courtesy of Laura Calder


1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons water

1 cup sugar

2 cups white or sparkling wine

small grapes, either green or red or a mixture of both

whipped cream, lightly sweetened


In a small dish, combine the gelatin and water. Set aside to soften.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the wine and sugar. Whisk it until the sugar just dissolves, making sure that the mixture doesn’t boil. Remove from heat.

Stir the softened gelatin into the wine mixture and whisk until dissolved. Cool to room temperature.

In 4 small ramekins or tea cups, place the grapes on the bottom in an even layer. Pour the wine mixture over. Cover the ramekins and place in the refrigerator for 4 hours or longer.

To unmold, run a sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin and dip the bottom in hot water for a few seconds. Unmold and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Samantha Angela January 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

Laura Calder is the best! I didn’t realize her show made it to the American Food Network now. That’s awesome.

I really like Michael Smith too. He’s totally normal and really informative (but kind of boring if we’re being honest).


Contemporary Troubadour January 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

I had a moment of total deviousness and imagined making wine jellies (sans grapes) to consume during labor in the hospital. Per the tour we took on Monday, they are strict about restricting your diet to just clear liquids, but Jell-O counts. Of course, ALCOHOL while still physically attached to a baby would be a really, really bad idea …


TKW January 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm


Do it!!!! You rock.


BigLittleWolf January 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

You always make me hungry (dammit).

I’m putting “gelatin” on the shopping list. (Don’t think I’ve ever bought gelatin!)

This week has been all about chicken soup (stomach distress)… but this looks light and enticing, my talented friend.


TKW January 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm


Hope you feel better soon!


Arnebya January 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I really can’t form anything coherent to say after looking at this, so I’ma just say mmmmmm.

@Contemporary Troubadour: I still don’t get the whole only clear liquids during labor thing but I’ll just turn my head away as you put these in your purse.


Contemporary Troubadour January 19, 2013 at 8:58 pm

I know, right? My OB was totally cool with my nibbling on real food but the hospital wasn’t. Largely because the majority of the women who deliver there opt for some kind of anesthesia (narcotic, epidural, etc.), and the anesthesiologist then gets to dictate what you do and do not put in your mouth since there’s that whole risk of aspirating what you might vomit if you need a C-section after all is said and done …

I’m going to avoid the drugs if I can, so maybe they’ll be a little more lenient.


ayala January 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I am shaking my booty ;)


Velva January 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm

This post is proof why the French are not fat- We eat their rich foods, and they eat this (smile).


elizabeth January 20, 2013 at 6:49 am

Laura Calder is definitely on the Nigella side of the cooking-show-host spectrum, but I could never fully get into her show when we had the Cooking Channel because she did have this slightly annoying air of twee smugness, but her recipes did always look pretty tasty. I’ll have to see if I can find some of her episodes on the interwebs.

This looks…unexpected. But also pretty tasty.


Jaimie January 20, 2013 at 8:54 am

I love you and ASR’s version of bonding!!!


Absence of Alternatives January 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

An upscale version of Jello shot to usher us out of the college nostalgia and into proper adulthood? You are the best!


suzicate January 21, 2013 at 5:21 am

I have a difficult time passing up dessert even if it doesn’t involve chocolate!


Barbara January 21, 2013 at 5:45 am

Absolutely adore wine jellies! I make one with grapefruit and grapes. And put candied ginger in the whipped cream…which I KNOW you aren’t eating right now! :)


Tiffany January 22, 2013 at 6:09 am

Full-fledged wine?? I’m in! What is this “normal food host” that you speak of? I thought they were all annoying as hell. I may have to check her out.


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