For about a month every late Summer early Fall Concord Grapes are in season. It is my favorite time of year, when I was a little boy my grandmother would take me to the Hamilton Market and by a brown paper bag filled with Concord grapes which I would devour on the bus ride home.
In adulthood I have discovered the intense pleasure of Concord Grape Pie , which is by far my most favorite pie. The other night I served it with Armagnac Ice Cream, but really it’s fine just on its own.
Let me walk you through the process, backwards. The above picture is the pie all made and ready for the oven.
Below is the pastry topping right after being place over the filled pie crust. I play around with the show I make for the air vent, this time I used a tulip shaped cutter. I’m not so sure it was the best idea, I think a simple circle works best, from an aesthetic point of view.
The most important thing to remember it to add a tablespoon or so of butter on top of the grape filling before you cover it. The butter fat gives the filling a depth of flavor and fullness you miss without it.
The most tedious part of this pie is separating the skins from the pulp. It takes me about 30 minutes to do 2 1/2 – 3 pounds of grapes.
I add the sugar and organic corn starch to the peels then place a sieve over them in preparation of pouring over the pulp which has been simmered in a covered pot for about 8 or so minutes. You want the pulp to break down and become slightly liquid so the pits are no longer held by the pulp.
You can see below how lose the cooked pulp is. Even so I used a spatula and really work every last drop of goodness into the waiting skins mixture.
Here is my original recipe. The only slight changes I have made over the years is that I find sprinkling the pie crust top with Demerara sugar works best and I’ve increased the organic corn starch (or instant tapioca) to a 1/4 cup. I also make the pastry with 2 cups of AP Flour not 1 1/2 as the original calls for and I think the pie is better with more than 2 pounds of grapes, if you can 2 1/2 – 3 is best (upping the sugar by 1/4 cup especially for early season grapes). I have gone back and changed the original recipe to reflect this. For some reason the spacing and fonts from the original are not happy about the changeover so sorry if it looks wonky – but at least it is still legible. This pie also very much benefits from being cooled to room temperature then chilled for at least a few hours before serving. This helps with cutting slices otherwise it can be running and a big (if very tasty) mess.