Monday, September 30, 2013
I love that you can tell I took these three photos over the course of a day. Fresh grapes in the morning, grape jam by midday, and by evening there were grape hand pies fresh and warm. I've written about my love for concord grapes on this here blog a couple of times, but this year was the first time I went all of the way and made myself a proper batch of grape jam to (hopefully) last the year.
I preserved a lot less this summer than I have in years past. Partly because I was busier than usual and partly because I wanted to make sure that I was only putting up things I really wanted to eat later in the year. Judging by the fact that we ran through an entire pint of this jam in about a week I think I stumbled upon a winner.
Once you've put the jam together, the hand pies are really a cinch to put together. Just roll out a pie crust, cut it up, dot it with jam and bake until golden and crisp.
Concord Grape Jam
adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
yield, 5-6 half pints
4lbs stemmed Concord grapes
2 1/4 pounds sugar
3 ounces lemon juice
1 ounce orange juice
1. Separate the flesh of the grapes from the skins by gently pinching the flesh from each grape, being careful to catch all of the grape juices. Reserve the skins. Add the grape flesh to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until the seeds start to separate from the flesh. Force as much of the grape pulp through a fine mesh sieve as possible and discard the seeds.
2. Add the grape pulp, skins, sugar, and juices to a large non-reactive pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the jam, stirring occasionally, until it comes to 220º or passes the wrinkle test, 20-30 minutes. Test the jam after 20 minutes to prevent overcooking. Ladle the finished jam into clean jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Concord Grape Hand Pies
yield 6 hand pies
One batch of your favorite double-crust pie dough: See my favorites here and here
3/4 cup concord grape jam
1 egg for egg wash
2 Tablespoons coarse sugar
Preheat oven to 400º
Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 12 inches by 16 inches and 1/8''-1/4'' thick. Use a knife to cut the dough into even rectangles roughly 3 inches by 4 inches. Brush the edges of half of the rectangles with egg wash (these will be the bottom crusts) and top each rectangle with about 2 Tablespoons of jam. Top each pie with another piece of dough and crimp the edges with a fork. Move the pies to a baking sheet and refrigerate 15 minutes or until firm. When you are ready to bake the pies, brush each one with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar then cut a vent into the top. Bake the pies for 20-25 minutes or until deep golden brown.