6 ounces of cream cheese or goat cheese – room temperature
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup dried Door County cherries
Substitute dried apricots, cranberries or figs if cherries are not available
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
12 grape leaves (found in jars), rinsed and patted dry
additional leaves may be needed depending on their size
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 toasted French bread slices
- Place the room temperature cheese is a bowl.
- If the dried cherries are too dry, plump them up by placing them in a bowl and covering them with warm water for 10 minutes. Strain and pat dry. (You can also plump them in ruby Port, Grand Marnier or Cassis if you want to add more flavor!)
- Toast the nuts by placing them in a 325 degree preheated oven until brown – about 5 minutes.
- Add the nuts, dried fruit and mint to the goat cheese. Mix to combine.
- Lay the grape leaves on a flat surface. Place a mound of filling in the center of each leaf. Fold leaves over the cheese to create little packages. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
- Brush the leaves lightly with olive oil. Grill the grape leaves on the outer edges of an outdoor grill for 1 to 2 minutes, or until mixture is soft when touched. If an outdoor grill is not available, you can grill them in an indoor grill pan or sauté them. Use a small amount of olive or grape seed oil in the pan, heat on medium, then add the grape leaves, turning them to sauté or grill on all sides.
- Serve warm with slices of French bread.
Grape leaves can be found in many specialty food stores or Greek food stores. They are sold in jars and packed in a brine. Remove the grape leaves from the jar and rinse them prior to using. Pat them dry. If not using all the grape leaves at the same time, wrap the unused grape leaves in a damp paper towel and store in the refrigerator.