What the Heck is Grape Pie?
Yes, I found myself a few years ago asking this question as I stood in my kitchen holding 10lbs of Concord grapes that were only given to me if I could replicate a grape pie from a friends childhood.
I was actually quite puzzled with this request but I take on any making challenge given because there is something VERY special about re-creating those warm fuzzy food feelings. I know Concord grapes with their very sweet pulp and very bitter skins quite well as my grandmother had the most amazing vine in her backyard and my cousins and I would slurp out the filling seeds and all and chuck the peels....well everywhere. Those grapes would make fine jelly, or juice, or wine but nobody in our backyard left enough for the process. Also, nobody wanted to deal with a time consuming project for little yield.
I'm going to lead the charge and tell you that this pie is A LOT OF WORK. In fact it's almost silly to attempt to make it by yourself. If you can enlist some children, yours, a brother or sisters, neighbors, or any person cool with tedious tasks, you are set. It takes about 5 cups of cleaned, stemmed, and bug-free little grapes to make one pie.
You will also probably never want to sell this one as it would cost a fortune in labor. This happens to be one of my husbands favorite pies so I wanted to share it as you also may be harvesting your Concord grapes and just not feeling like making jelly this year.
1. You gotta sort and wash those purple beauties
So here's the thing, unless you are spraying, tending to, and a professional grape farmer, that backyard vine us definately full of bugs. Most are harmless to us humans and most of what you'll run into are little worms that have hatched inside your grapes. To be sure you dont have any of those buggers in your pie, you should pick out and grapes with holes, brown or black spots, or any that feel hard or crunchy. Then you are going to pick them off the stems and wash them really well.
2. Set up a solid assembly line
To do this correctly, I reccomend setting up a 4 at saucepan, a large bowl, and a trash can.
Now it's time to get squeezing.
Concord grapes are very finicky and the skins need to be removed from pulp so we can get those pesky seeds out. Squeeze the green pulp into the saucepan and sort the skins into a bowl. Throw away stems and any grapes that dont look great. Remember how I said little helpers would be great? This is when I meant it.
3. Cook the pulp to remove seeds
Yeah, there is only one way to get those bad boys out and its heat. Cook the pulp on medium heat until the pulp becomes liquidy and seeds seperate.
This is a fantastic moment to...
4. Roll out your crust
Using the pie dough recipe
, roll out one crust into a shallow 9" pie pan.
5. Strain cooked pulp Using a fine mesh sieve and a spoon gently push pulp through the sieve into the bowl with the skins. Use care not to force the pulp, if it doesn't easily strain, cook it longer.
6. Finish up the filling
In a seperate bowl mix together the remaining ingredients and stir them along with skins and pulp. It's going to remind you of blueberry pie. Pour this yumminess into the pie crust and dot with butter.
7. Its time to bake a pie
Roll out your second crust and top the pie. It is extremely important that you vent this pie really well. Any pie that has a high liquid content needs steam to escape so the filling can thicken up. I reccomend using a sharp knife to cut a few scores in the center and imagine a clock and score 12, 3, 6, and 9. Crimp the edges of the crust and make sure the pie is sealed.
Top the pie crust with heavy cream and large sanding sugar to give it that gorgeous golden crust. Bake the pie at least an hour or until the center just starts to bubble.
8. Let it rest/cool
Pies need lots of time to chill out unless you enjoy crust among hot soup. Give this one at least 4-6 hours to cool. You'll be exhausted from all the grape squeezing, so maybe wait until morning to taste.
Enjoy this perfect September treat and be sure to share with me any photos of your pies.