Concord grapes are one of my all time favorite things and bring back very fond memories of going to the farmers Market in Hamilton, Ontario with my grandmother. She would buy me a bag of grapes, which came in a brown paper bag and by the time we had taken the bus home (maybe 20 minutes) the bag would be empty.
The skins, thick and sour, the flesh so sweet and juicy. They have pits which some people seem to have an issue with, but I just swallow them and never really even notice them.
If you live in a region where Concord grapes grow and you have never made a pie with them….well boy are you in for a treat.
Concord Grape Pie
Sift together: 1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1 T sugar, together in a large bowl.
Work 12 T Unsalted Butter into flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal.
Sprinkle in up to 1-3 tbsp ice-cold Water (add a little at a time until the dough just comes together), stirring dough with a fork until it just holds together.
Press dough into a rough ball, then transfer to a lightly floured surface Give the dough several quick knead until smooth.
Divide dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other, wrap in parchment paper (or sometimes I use recycled plastic bags – I try to avoid plastic wrap…) then press down on the balls to make two disc shapes, refrigerate for at least 2 hours (at the minimum) or over-night.
When ready to make the pie….rinse and remove stems from 2 1/2 – 3 lbs. of Concord Grapes.
Remove the skins from each grape and put the pulp into a medium-sized pot and the skins into a large bowl.
Cook pulp over medium heat, stirring often, until soft and mostly dissolved, 8-10 minutes, then strain the hot pulp mixture through a sieve into the bowl with the skins, pressing on solids with the back of a spoon. Discard seeds.
Stir 1 Cup sugar and 1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch or Organic Corn Starch or quick cooking tapioca into the grape mixture, set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll the larger dough ball out on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ round, then fit into a 9″ pie plate. Trim sides of excess.
Pour the grape filling into the pastry, scatter a 1 T unsalted Butter cut into small pieces onto the top of the grape filling.
Roll the remaining dough ball out on a lightly floured surface into a 10″ round, if you want you can cut a small hole in the top or use your favorite cookie cutter pattern, alternately you can make several slits in the top once you have place it over the filling.
Whisk together: 1 Organic Egg Yolk and 1 T Cream and brush over the top of the pie then generously sprinkle with 1/3 cup Turbinado sugar (regular sugar works fine if you don’t have Turbinado or Sugar in the Raw).
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F in the lower third of your oven preferably on a pizza stone if you have one. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and continue baking until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling 45-50 minutes more, or until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is bubbling.
Set pie aside to cool completely, overnight is ideal as this pie needs to set and tastes best cold. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream or Vanilla Ice Cream.
I like serving this with a big dollop of freshly whipped, unsweetened cream, but vanilla ice cream would also be tasty.
This pie could be made with a lattice top – which is pretty but a pain to do so I opt out for the easier version.
For something a little richer omit the Tablespoon of butter on the filling and the pastry top and instead make a crumble topping, here is my crumble recipe but feel free to change the nuts or omit the oats or personalize it in any way you like.
For the Crumble: Lightly toast 1 cup Walnuts, when just slightly brown process briefly in a food processor until they are finely chopped.
In a medium bowl add 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup Old Fashioned rolled oats, 4 T brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons Cane Sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and the Walnuts, mix briefly, then add 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter. I use my fingers to mix it all together. The crumble should be moist and oh so slightly sticky. If it’s dry add more butter.
Lastly a variation I have not made, but which intrigues me….Neil wants me to make concord grape pie ice cream, which would require me to make a vanilla ice cream and fold in several large scoops of pie, and even though I have had both Concord Grape Pie and Vanilla Ice cream together at the same time I never have managed to merge the two into one over the top dessert….if anyone reading this feels like a challenge I can’t see how the results could be bad!
And finally two videos I made when I got my first pie bird and used it in a Concord Grape Pie: