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Concord Grape Pie

Well, I was getting ready to blog about some knitting, but then I left my resurrected leafy vines pullover in the back of a taxi last night after work. So, how about a concord grape pie instead?

concord grape pie

Don't worry, I called 311, and they have a surprisingly organized process for finding lost items. I hope the driver thought a half-completed pullover on size 4 needles was valuable enough not to toss in the garbage. Anyway, the pie.

Most people have never tasted concord grape pie. I don't think I even saw a concord grape until sometime in my twenties, growing up as I did in a Midwestern sea of red seedless from the Jewel-Osco (or Le Bijou, as my high school french franglais teacher used to call it). But the first time you eat one, you figure out why "grape flavor" Jolly Ranchers, grape Crush, and other grape-flavored junk foods taste how they do. They are all imitating the concord grape, which is more flavorful and, especially, fragrant than you could imagine a grape to be. You think, "Oh! So THAT'S a grape!" And of course, that color is beguiling, the regal color of velvet.

They should be more popular, but they are probably delicate, and lots of people can't deal with the seeds. My approach is to just eat them. The seeds are actually good for you. Chris spits them out. Either way is kind of high maintenance.

Turns out, the seeds make baking with concords pretty high maintenance, too. (Slightly more so even than concord grape sorbet. Yes, I have a problem.) The idea to try a concord grape pie came from our talented neighborhood baker, Emily Isaacs of Trois Pommes Patisserie. Emily makes quite a few unique pies, including this one, and her recipe for grape pie was published a while back in Bon App├ętit. I could have just bought one from Trois Pommes, but as you know I like a project and wanted to try it myself since we had a boatload of grapes from the food coop. Now, the published recipe calls for red seedless grapes spiked with frozen grape juice concentrate which addresses the scarcity of concords but also slyly obviates the need for seeding.

there must be a better way.

The seeding process took about an hour, with a little help from Chris. When converting the recipe for concords, I asked Emily about the seeding and she said, Yoda-like, "it is the only way." She finds it therapeutic and seeds them by the case when there's downtime at the bakery. Cut 'em, seed 'em. Cut 'em, seed 'em. And so on. So yeah. That's why Emily makes the big bucks ;-) It's a lot of work and there's no good way to do it without cooking the grapes a bit and presumably losing some of their oomph. At least the process makes your hands smell good. And really, an hour isn't that long. Do it while you're listening to Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! or the baseball playoffs or The Green Hornet or whatever people listen to on the radio.

peek of pie

Through no fault of the recipe, my crust for this pie turned out, er, blemished. It tastes nice and flaky, but I was (for no good reason) loathe to add water to make the thing stick together, and it was so crumbly that it wouldn't roll out properly. As Jean suggested on Flickr, it looks "rustic."

And what does it taste like? Jammy, but not nearly as sweet as most grape jams. More like a cross between jam and wine, snuggled inside a buttery crust. If you can still find concords around Thanksgiving where you are, the earthiness of this pie might make it a perfect fit between pecan and pumpkin. And of course, since you earn this pie, it tastes that much better.

Posted by jess at October 21, 2009 7:47 AM | TrackBack
Comments

oh no, I hope you get your sweater back! I thought the same thing when I first had a concord grape a couple years ago - *that's* where the grape flavor comes from.

Posted by: Diana at October 21, 2009 11:09 AM

Looks delish.
Also I think I found your online cousin today. http://www.figandcherry.com/

Posted by: Em at October 21, 2009 11:36 AM

gosh, I hope that sweater makes its way back to you!

This pie looks totally delish. Might need to make one, myself...

Posted by: andrea at October 21, 2009 11:58 AM

That's one good-lookin' pie. Beautiful photos, too. I really want to try those grapes now, but I'm pretty sure that - like Meyer lemons - they're one of those things that don't cross the pond. Hope you get the sweater back soon - eek!

Posted by: jane at October 21, 2009 2:12 PM

Looks delicious !
Hope to see your sweater soon.

Posted by: Lollipopette at October 21, 2009 4:42 PM

I hope your sweater finds its way home!

Posted by: Knittripps at October 21, 2009 6:19 PM

I hope your sweater makes it home soon! And I'd love a piece of pie with some sorbet on top. Grapetastic :P

Posted by: Roxanne at October 21, 2009 7:39 PM

Oh that pie looks so good. I noticed grapes on sale at my local grocery store this week and thought -- "hmmmmm, grape pie?", but I didn't have a recipe. Now I do -- thanks so much!
Blessings,
G

Posted by: Georganna at October 22, 2009 9:12 AM

I am devastated to learn about the loss of your pullover. I've lost wips TWICE. It's heartbreaking. Hope you get it back. The pie looks dynamite. I love concords.

Posted by: Angela at October 22, 2009 6:03 PM

I am devastated to learn about the loss of your pullover. I've lost wips TWICE. It's heartbreaking. Hope you get it back. The pie looks dynamite. I love concords.

Posted by: Angela at October 22, 2009 6:04 PM

Your pie looks delicious! I don't know if I have it in me to seed grapes though -- it would seem easier just to eat the grapes! I love concords - even here in the west, where they're grown, you have to go to a farmer's market or know a grower (one of my uncles grew concords, for juice) in order to get them.

If you ever get a chance to try the grapes they make moscutel with, try 'em. There's a fellow that sells them at my farmer's market -- and they're my current fave! They also are seedy & I don't eat the skins, so eating them tends to be a private indulgence. But YUM!

Posted by: Pam at October 23, 2009 1:45 AM

oh noooooo...your sweater! Taking the ride of its life, I'm sure. Let us know when it comes back!

I tasted a grape pie for the first time just this week. I had the same weird, obvious thought...it tasted so...grapey!

Posted by: jenna at October 23, 2009 10:13 AM

It's not blemished! It's beautiful!! Who wants to gaze upon a perfect, smooth pie when there are wise old weathered pie crusts to admire? The pie looks like it maybe lived in a little house by the sea in a past life....

Posted by: beth at October 23, 2009 6:50 PM

Pie looks very nice. I've never tried a grape pie and I'm fascinated! I've never heard of one this side of the pond. I read another blog post this week about grape pie (maybe with Choncords also) and just thought "Whaaaat??" The grapes we have here would make a watery tasteless pie. They are lovely when fresh, but they are very watery and delicately flavoured. Up against pastry they would never be tasted. It's 'on their own' or nothing really I suppose! So is it close to a plum pie in texture?

Also, OMG! Your jumper!! Fingers crossed you get it back! Is the pattern your own design?

Posted by: Sarah at October 24, 2009 3:56 AM

I hope you get the sweater back. 311 can be helpful at times. The grape pie recipe looks delicious!

Posted by: nadia at October 30, 2009 9:18 AM

nqnnvb

Posted by: levlen online at March 20, 2012 10:38 AM
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