- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Fresh fruit is a delight to eat as is, but sometimes a little dressing up can give a certain flair to a simple dessert.

This quick recipe calls for broiling a combination of banana and grapes that have been topped with sour cream and brown sugar, or with an alternative topping of your choice, perhaps flavored with rum, or orange liqueur, or a chocolate or caramel sauce.

Use red, green or black grapes in any combination desired.

A gratin is usually a dish topped with cheese or bread crumbs, then broiled or baked until brown on top. The term is borrowed here for this dessert with a family resemblance, briefly broiled in small heatproof dishes.

Disposable aluminum tart pans (41/2-inch diameter) may be used if gratin dishes are not available.

Quick banana grape gratin

2 firm-ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

1½ cups halved seedless grapes

1/4 cup dairy sour cream

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum (see note)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat broiler while preparing recipe.Mix bananas, grapes, sour cream, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and rum until fruits are coated with sour cream mixture. Divide mixture among four small (1- to 1½-cup) gratin dishes.

Combine remaining brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over tops of fruit mixture (see note). Place gratin dishes on baking sheet. Place about 4 inches from heat and broil 1½ to 2 minutes or until sugar melts and caramelizes. Makes 4 servings.

Note: One teaspoon vanilla extract may be substituted for rum. To sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over tops of fruit, place in small strainer and shake gently over fruit.

Variations: Orange-, almond- or chocolate-flavor liqueur may be substituted for the rum.

Caramel or chocolate sauce may be drizzled over top in place of brown sugar.

Broil 2 to 3 minutes or until glaze begins to bubble.

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