The summer I made these pies — a full two years ago, way back in 2012 — the grapes were so sweet that simmering juice thickened almost instantly without even a hint of extra sugar.
Big bunches hung heavy on the vines, biding their time before the plant opened and the harvester ran through. We picked a couple crates of Concords along with the hand-harvested white grapes — simply because we could.
Over the span of two weeks I made Grape & Rosemary Focaccia and Concord Grape Sorbet (will try to finally get that one up soon too) and three grape pies — simply because I could.
There was a double-crusted Grape Pie, an Apple & Grape Crumble and a double-crusted Apple & Grape pie — and thanks to dinner guests and lazy breakfasts and passing forkfuls all of them disappeared almost as soon as they emerged from the oven.
I made my mamma hold one for a picture.
So why share this now? Well since New York is currently knee-deep in grape harvest — and as I was at mum’s farm too early this year to eat grapes off the vine much less make pie — I figured it was high time to pull this one out of the archives to share.
The two year old photos make me cringe a bit but you know what, they were damn good pies and too many dodgy photos or not they deserve to be shared with the world. You’re welcome.
Also, I’m well aware that unless you are in certain lucky parts of the US you can’t get your hands on Concords…
You can make this with black grapes, or red grapes mixed with blueberries, and the grapes won’t squeeze from their skins so the method will be different, and it won’t really taste like Concords — but it will be purple and it will be pie and pie makes everything better.
Concord Grape Pie
Makes 1 deep-dish pie
- 8 c Concord grapes, see note for grape and apple option
- 3 Tbsp pearl tapioca
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- zest of half an orange
- ½ tsp vanilla
- pinch sea salt
- ¼ c rice syrup, maple syrup or grape juice
- Wholewheat Butter Pastry double pie crust (see below), or single crust and crumble topping
Cover tapioca pearls with hot water and set aside to soak for an hour.
Prepare your pie crust dough, line a pie plate with a bottom crust and leave to rest, unbaked, in the refrigerator while you make the filling. Roll out top crust or prepare crumble topping and rest in the fridge as well.
Pinch grape innards from skins into a heavy-based sauce pan, collect skins in a separate large bowl. Add half a handful of skins to the pan with the grape innards and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the hot pulp into a mesh strainer over the bowl of skins. Use a large metal spoon to stir the mixture, pushing all the pulp through, leaving the seeds in the strainer — you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your strainer. Discard seeds.
Add remaining ingredients to the bowl with the grape pulp and skins, adding sweetener to taste, and stir well. Allow mixture to cool while you preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
Pour filling into prepared base, cover with top crust, crimp to seal and cut vents for steam to escape. Sprinkle with raw sugar if you want it glittery. Alternatively top with crumble mixture.
Bake on a pan to catch any drips (there will be drips) for 15 mins, then reduce heat to 180°C (350°F) and bake a further 30 – 40 mins until filing is bubbly and crust is golden. Cool completely before cutting and serving.
- Grape & Apple Pie: use 5 c Concord grapes plus 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced. Stir apples into cooled pulp with other ingredients.
- Tapioca pearls: Tapioca is used to thicken the pie as the high acid content means corn flour (corn starch) won’t set properly. I used regular tapioca (not quick cooking), only soaked them for an hour starting with hot water and it cooked into the pie just fine with no pearls left. Feel free to soak overnight if you’re good at planning pie a day in advance, or if using quick cook tapioca don’t soak at all.
- Sweetener: the amount you need will depend on the grapes you use. Back in 2012 the Concords were so sweet we actually didn’t use any extra sweetener at all, but a ¼ c is a good guideline.
vegetarian // refined sugar-free // vegan & dairy-free with df crust // gluten-free with gf crust // soy-free // nut-free
Wholewheat All-Butter Pastry
Makes 1 double-crust pie
- 2 c wholewheat flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2/3 c butter, cold
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 5 – 6 Tbsp ice water
Combine flour and salt then cut in butter — using a pastry blender or two knives — until the size of small peas. Drizzle over vinegar then add water a tablespoon at a time and toss with a fork until just moistened enough to stick together.
Tip onto a piece of plastic, press together then wrap and rest in the fridge 30 mins. Divide dough for base and top and roll base into a rounds — the base should be a bit bigger than the top.
Crimp base into a raised edge before filling. Press to seal top to bottom then create steam vents in top crust before baking as required for your recipe.
vegetarian // soy-free // nut-free