1 Apt. 2B Baking Co.: Concord Grape Pie

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Concord Grape Pie

concord grape pie

Eaten out of hand, concord grapes have a very strong flavor. They taste like the grapiest grape you've ever eaten with hit of muskiness, like Welch's grape juice x 100. The bunches of fruit are deep purple (no, not the band) with a thin layer of white bloom that makes them glow in an otherworldly way when the sun shines on them, and they are almost always covered with bees at the farmer's market. I trust that those bees know what's good so I always pick up a basket or two this time of year.

concord grapes

Sometimes I make jam or jelly with them, but due to the ridiculous number of jars stacked up in my closet I decided that a baked good would be a better use of my grapes this time around. A quick search led me to a ton of pie recipes and as soon as I found out that the "Queen of Grape Pies" was a resident of upstate New York I knew that my grapes were destined to be the filling of a buttery crust.

concord grape pie

I'll admit that I did not have faith in this pie. I thought the grape flavor would be too concentrated and too strong to enjoy by the slice. I brought it to a dinner party and warned everyone with very concerned face, "I'm not sure about this one guys. It might be totally weird. No really, it might taste funky and not a good way like this cheese we are eating right now."

concord grape pie

Ruining a great party with a so-so dessert is one of my biggest dinner party fears so when we sliced it up after the meal I very gingerly took the first bite. I know it's totally dorky, but I was so relieved to declare it delicious! Thank goodness.

Concord Grape Pie

For the pie pictured in these photos I used a crust recipe from Cooks Illustrated, just to test my loyalty to my favorite pie crust. The Cooks Illustrated recipe is tender and delicious (it uses a bit of shortening), but since I like my other recipe just a bit more I've included it below. As always, feel free to sub in your favorite pie crust here. You'll need a double crust recipe.

For the Crust
This crust comes to you from Brandi Henderson of I made that! and The Pantry at Delancey where she teaches a class called "How to be a Pie Ninja" and she is not messing around. Brandi uses a technique called fraisage which creates long sheets of buttery flakes throughout the dough instead of little pockets of butter. 

12 oz pastry flour 
8 oz cold butter 
4 oz ice water 
1t apple cider vinegar 
1/2t salt 

1. Mix the flour and salt together, then pour the whole lot on a large cutting board or countertop.
2. With a bench scraper, cut in half of the butter until it is the size of lima beans, then cut in the other half of the butter until it is the size of quarters. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water.
3. Using your fingers, flick the water on to the butter flour mixture and gently fold it in with your bench scraper. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart.
4. Then, you smear the butter into the dough. With the heel of your hand push a section of the dough down and away from you. Congratulations, you have just created a sheet of butter which is going to turn into delicious flaky crust. Scrape your sheet off of the board and place it in a bowl to the side. Repeat until you have worked through all of the dough, pushing it down and away from you in sections. Once you've gone through all of the dough gently remove it from the bowl, press it together, then split it in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and form into a disk. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using. I like to chill mine overnight. 

If this sounds confusing, check out the link above for a really helpful photo tutorial.

For the Filling
adapted from Martha Stewart and Saveur
The filling for this pie requires a bit of work, but it's the kind of work that takes more time than effort and don't worry, you won't have to individually seed the grapes. The tiniest hint of cinnamon in this recipe mellows and softens the strong grape flavor nicely.

2 lbs concord grapes (about 2 quarts)
3.5 ounces sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1.25 ounces cornstarch
pinch salt

1. Wash the grapes and using your fingers, pinch the grapes to slip off their skins. Reserve the skins in a large bowl. Place the pulp in a medium saucepan and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat or until the seeds start to separate from the pulp.
2. Strain the pulp mixture into the bowl with the skins, pressing the solids with the back of a spoon. Discard the seeds and set the mixture aside to cool completely.
3. In a small bowl whisk the sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and salt together then add it to the grape mixture. Use the larger amount of cornstarch if your grapes seem very liquid.

For the Topping

1 egg, beaten
A few teaspoons of coarse sugar like turbinado or light demerara

To Assemble and Bake

Preheat oven to 450º

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it into a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie.
2. Roll out the other piece of dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.
3. Fill the prepared pie shell with the grape mixture and top with the second crust, crimp the edges and cut a few vents. If you've got some extra time (and dough) on your hands you can also top the pie with a few small circles of dough arranged to resemble a bunch of grapes. 
4. If the crust seems soft or warm, slide the whole pie into the fridge or freezer for about 15min before you bake it. When you are ready to bake brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a healthy dose of coarse sugar.
5. Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 15 minutes on the lowest rack of your oven, then lower the oven temp to 350º and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and the grape juices bubble. Cool the pie completely before serving.  concord grapes

16 comments:

  1. I love the crust! It`s beautiful! :D

    Glad to know the pie was delicious!

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  2. i ate concord grapes by hand the first time the other day, and we had exactly the same reaction; we saw the vendor with the grapes at the FG market and saw a huge SWARM of bees around them, so we figured that the bees must've been onto something. they were so, so good, and now i know where to get my next batch of grapes for this pie!

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  3. It's so gorgeous!! I need to try this.

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  4. It looks utterly beautiful. Never made a grape pie before. Processing the grapes seems quite fiddly but I have a feeling it will be totally worth it :)

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  5. This is so beautiful, Yossy! My parents have some concord-type grapes in their garden, and I might have to try this pie. If I do, I'll give you the barbecued-grape-pie report.

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  6. I think this looks and sounds delicious! And that crust looks amazing!

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  7. I've never heard of concord grapes but now I wish I had...
    xx Hannah

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  8. I'm exactly the same, if I've made something like a tart that I can't really try, I always worry that my desserts won't turn out quite right for dinner parties! This looks incredible though, would love to try a slice.

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  9. I LUUUUURVE grape pie. We have a crusty old dame in our town that sells them on the side of this one farm road with a giant sign that proclaims "BEST GRAPE PIES! +jam, jelly, turnovers, a jillion other things! etc" The stand is huge, purple and ridiculous. She wears a violet get-up ALWAYS. I was so skeptical from the start, but whaddya know? Best thing ever. She makes a rendition with crumble on top that's my favourite.

    Long story short: grape pie rules!

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  10. I'd never even heard of a grape pie, but this seems like a brilliant recipe. It looks beautiful and I'm glad it turned out well. If I ever have the courage, I'll try this :)

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  11. I want to try your crust sometime. I am always looking for new ways and methods. :)

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  12. I've honestly never had grapes in anything baked before but this pie looks just wonderful. I'm hoping I can get my hands on some fresh grapes next year to make this!

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  13. Loverly :). Your photos are always a joy to look at.

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  14. I've never heard of grape pie before, but I think it's genius! I love the idea. If only I could source concord grapes where I live... would any other type of grapes not be sweet enough?

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  15. The concord grape pie is hypnotic, just divine! A truly magical post that captures essence of autumn.

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