I’ve been obsessing over concord grapes all fall. The last time I tasted some was in Seattle a few years ago. From the first taste, I was gobsmacked. It tasted the way grapes should be. And until I tried it, I thought concord jelly was just a made-up flavor because it tastes nothing like the red or green table grapes seen in grocery stores in San Diego.
Lucky for me there is Specialty Produce in Middletown. Specialty Produce is a wholesale distributor catering to restaurants and home consumers alike. Their warehouse-size facility is daunting but a call to customer service for special produce in season often brings satisfactory results like these concord grapes.
Concord grapes have a dark and chalky, bitter skin. They are fine for eating despite the seeds but I couldn’t foresee myself eating 5lbs. of grapes before they went bad. The obvious choice was to make concord grape jelly. Instead, I went with concord grape pie. Yes, pie. And a very delicious pie too for all you nonbelievers.
I should have stuck with jelly because I had to separate the flesh from the skin from almost 5 lbs. of grapes to make two pies. My nails and fingers were stained purple for several days. The work was tedious and you know what kind of music goes with peeling grapes? Apparently Sparks. The skins were saved for later use but the grape guts were boiled until the seeds separated from the flesh.
The grape skins are reunited with the flesh and pureed until smooth. Just add sugar, lemon juice, corn starch, place in a pie shell, bake and it’s done.
The pie was left to cool in the refrigerator overnight, giving it a chance to firm up. It has an extreme grape taste — much like a sandwich with lot of grape jelly — with which I have absolutely no problem. I did have a problem with the filling staining everything it touched.
Corcord Grape Pie
About 2 lbs Concord grapes
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pie shell
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Squeeze the pulp out the skins into a saucepan, saving the skins in a bowl. Cook the pulp in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the seeds are beginning to come out.
Strain the pulp into the skins, using a spoon to rub the pulp off the seeds. Add sugar, flour, cornstarch and lemon juice.
Pour into an unbaked 9″ pie crust and make a lattice top.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 50 minutes. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving.