Concord grape pie was a yearly treat when I was little. In early fall when the first apples were ready for picking, my parents would load my sister and I up into my dad’s old, red pick-up truck and we would go to a local orchard by our house. We’d drive with the windows down, the smell of dry leaves in the air, bouncing around the uneven ground of the orchard, filling bushels of apples to save for the winter. Just before leaving we would drive by the u-pick grapes and get a peck of grapes to take home for pie. Just one whiff of fresh Concord grapes, and I’m transported back to my childhood.
Separating the purple grape skins from the smushy green pulp is a rather time consuming process, but the end result is well worth it. As a kid, my mom would let us stick our (clean) hands into the grape pulp and we would cringe and call them buggers or eyeballs.
When the juices from the hot grape pulp meet the skins from the grapes, they make the prettiest, deep purple filling.
You can get as simple or as fancy as you’d like with the top crust of the pie. I like to use a full crust since I think it is easier to cut with the filling, but you could also do a lattice crust as well.
Concord Grape PieAdapted from Great Home Cooking in America Curious about this unique pie? Click here for a little history. We don’t like super sweet desserts and I wanted a little tartness from the grapes to come through, so I reduced the amount of sugar to 1 cup. If you like your desserts on the sweet side or your grapes are really tart, you may want to add the extra 1/3 cup. 5 cups of Concord Grapes (2 pounds or a generous quart) pastry for one double pie crust 1 to 1 1/3 cups of sugar 1/4 cup flour 1 teaspoon lemon juice pinch of salt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Wash grapes, and gently dry. Remove grape skins by pinching each grape at the end opposite the stem to pop out the inner green pulp. Pinch the little green pulps into a small saucepan, reserving the purple skins to a separate large bowl. Discard and grapes that are green, or hard and any skins that have hard parts or tough blemishes.
Heat grape pulp in saucepan over medium to medium high heat until grapes come to a full, rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; the pulp will break down and the seeds will loosen from the pulp. Pour pulp through a fine meshed sieve, and strain into bowl with reserved grape skins. Discard seeds and any remaining pulp. Whisk in sugar, flour, lemon juice and salt until well combine. Set aside to cool, while rolling out pie crust.
Pre-heat oven to 425-dregrees.
Remove one chilled portion of pie dough from refrigerator. If dough has been in the refrigerator for over an hour, it will probably need a few minutes to come up to temperature before it can be easily rolled. Roll dough on a floured surface, rotating dough a 1/4 turn between every few strokes of your rolling-pin, re-flouring the surface, top of dough and rolling-pin as needed. Stop rolling when dough is about 1/8? thick, and measures 12? in diameter. Roll it onto the rolling-pin. Carefully lift rolling-pin, and unroll dough over a standard, non-deep-dish, 9? pie plate. Gently ease the dough into the corners of the dish. There should be about 1? of dough hanging over the plate; trim any excess dough. Place pie plate in refrigerator until ready to use.
Remove second piece of dough from the refrigerator, and roll out following the same steps from above. Stop rolling when dough is about 1/8? thick. Trim to a 10 to 11? round. Roll it onto the rolling-pin. Transfer to a large parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet (rimmed cookie sheets work best inverted). Cut decorative vent hole/holes as desired, and return to fridge until ready to assemble.
Remove top and bottom crusts from the refrigerator. Pour filling into bottom pie crust, being careful not to overfill. Dot top with cold butter. Cover with top crust. Fold edges of crust under, and crimp to seal; flute as desired.
Bake in heated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until crust is browned and juices start to bubble through vent hole/holes. If at any time the edges of the crust start to brown too quickly, you can make a quick pie shield out of aluminum foil and drape it over the crust. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack until completely cool.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Pie scraps? I like to gather my scraps together and re-roll them to make a small free form jam tart with a little homemade jam.