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Grape Pie?

Ida Red Oct 10, 2006 08:52 PM

I want to try this, but what kind of grapes are best? (I'm in NYC area)

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  1. PSZaas RE: Ida Red Oct 10, 2006 08:56 PM

    My grandmother (and mother) always made this with concord grapes, and I can't imagine it any other way.

    1. c
      cheryl_h RE: Ida Red Oct 10, 2006 09:03 PM

      I made Concord Grape pie a few weeks back and it was a big hit. The unique aroma from the grapes was wonderful.

      1. s
        scenicrec RE: Ida Red Oct 10, 2006 09:35 PM

        Def. concord!

        David Lebovitz has a great recipe for concord grape grape pie in "Room for Dessert".

        1. Becca Porter RE: Ida Red Oct 11, 2006 12:17 AM

          Concord! Add a little orange zest or oil. Makes a big difference, yum.

          1. f
            froddard RE: Ida Red Oct 11, 2006 12:22 AM

            My mom made her first grape pie for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend! And yes, they were concord grapes.

            We had to do some emergency stain control afterward, but it was worth it. (I actually dared her to serve grape pie to my brother's kids in her brand new condo with white carpet! Thank goodness she accepted the challenge.)

            1. Carb Lover RE: Ida Red Oct 11, 2006 02:36 AM

              Now that I've made concord grape gelato, grape pie sounds amazing! I assume the seeds are just left in and eaten? Do they make the pie bitter or detract from texture?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Carb Lover
                Querencia RE: Carb Lover Sep 16, 2011 09:11 AM

                I remember my mother sitting with two big bowls in front of her. Each grape, she would squeeze the pulp into one bowl and drop the peeling in the other bowl. Then if you bring the pulp to a boil for a couple of minutes and pass it through the food mill, all the seeds separate out. I can't imagine eating Concord grape anything with the seeds in as they are 'way big, not like blueberry or raspberry seeds. I think you might even do harm to your teeth.

              2. Becca Porter RE: Ida Red Oct 11, 2006 03:05 AM

                No you skin the grapes, then cook down the pulp. Sieve out the seeds, and add the skins back to the pulp. Then continue as usual. I know some people do leave in the seeds, but not me.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Becca Porter
                  Ida Red RE: Becca Porter Oct 11, 2006 05:27 AM

                  Ah ha... I see. that was my big concern... the seeds.
                  Sometimes the skins are kind of tough... does the cooking soften them? And what about the proceedure, what is the quickest way to skin a bunch of grapes?

                  1. re: Ida Red
                    Becca Porter RE: Ida Red Oct 11, 2006 11:46 AM

                    I just pop them out by hand, one at a time. Yeah, cooking softens them. I did try the same thing with muscadimes, it did not soften thier skins.

                    1. re: Becca Porter
                      cheryl_h RE: Becca Porter Oct 11, 2006 01:18 PM

                      The recipe I used from David Lebovitz' book called for skin-on but seeded Concord grapes. You seed them by cutting in half and poking out the seeds. This was by far the most tedious part of the recipe.

                      The skins retain some of their chew after baking, comparable to sour cherries. I think they add texture. The recipe did not call for the grapes to be cooked down, just baked with sugar. I think this is why they had that amazing fragrance.

                      1. re: cheryl_h
                        Becca Porter RE: cheryl_h Oct 11, 2006 01:38 PM

                        You heat it just enough to loosen the seeds. Then you press it through a sieve with a rubber spatula. It seems this way would be less tedious than cutting them in half and digging around for the seeds.

                        1. re: Becca Porter
                          bushwickgirl RE: Becca Porter Sep 16, 2011 07:09 AM

                          After removing the pulp from the skins, yeah, I know, labor intensive, just squeeze the grape, reserve skins, run the grape pulp through a food mill, no cutting, digging out the seeds, none of that, then cook the pulp for a few minutes until tender. Add the reserved skins to the cooked pulp. You'll get maximum color, texture and flavor from the skins this way. And, yes, I use Concords, usually picked from wild vines when I lived in the sticks, but now when I can get them in the farmer's market.

                          A oatmeal streusel topping is nice on this pie.

                        2. re: cheryl_h
                          Querencia RE: cheryl_h Sep 16, 2011 09:12 AM

                          I can't imagine that Concords would cut in half as the inside is very slippery. They just pop right out if you pop them one by one.

                          1. re: Querencia
                            bushwickgirl RE: Querencia Sep 16, 2011 09:31 AM

                            Yup, they're a slip skin variety of grape, as I wrote downthread. Very easy to squeeze out the pulp. I can't imagine David cutting grapes in half, poking out the seeds, etc. but it seems his recipe may have been a bit of a different, although tedious, technique, using the raw seeded grapes, skins and sugar and then baked. I don't know how much of a difference his method or cooking the pulp first makes; the pie does have a great aroma, especially if the grapes are wild and have been hit with a mild frost, which enhances the ripeness and sugar content of the fruit.

                            I would try his method if I wanted to seed out a quart or so of rather slippery grapes.

                  2. Gary Soup RE: Ida Red Oct 11, 2006 05:43 AM

                    My sister-in-law makes a great pie (once you get past the color) with Niagara grapes, which happen to be plentiful where she lives.

                    1. j
                      julesrules RE: Ida Red Sep 8, 2008 08:15 AM

                      I am bumping this up because Ontario blue grapes are now available seedless, which makes this pie very easy - simply mix whole, uncooked grapes with sugar and thickener and bake! Mine was quite tasty, with a sweet and sour, grape jelly kind of flavour. I still prefer sour cherry or rhubarb but this was nice for early fall.
                      I based mine on the recipe below, but obviously did not skin or cook the grapes beforehand. Used tapioca instead of flour. Had it in the oven in 10 minutes even with my toddler 'assisting'. She was proud of her pie.


                      1. Mr Taster RE: Ida Red Sep 15, 2011 11:21 AM

                        I just learned about grape pies.

                        Does anyone know exactly what the actual purpose is of peeling the concord grapes and adding them back to the mixture?

                        I would guess that the pulps cook down into a liquid, and adding the skins back will add body and texture to the pie. However, I wonder if the tannic acid in the skins affects the pie somehow as well. I'm looking more for a Cooks Illustrated/quasi scientific analysis of what the purpose of the grape skins is, and why adding them back in later is a key part of virtually all recipes.

                        Mr Taster

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Mr Taster
                          Becca Porter RE: Mr Taster Sep 15, 2011 03:24 PM

                          One reason is that they dye the filling the signature purple color. My recipe refrigerates the filling for a couple of hours to intensify the color. You need the bulk, it would take a lot more grapes without the skins. They also add texture as well as flavor.

                          The only reason they are separated is to remove the seeds.

                          1. re: Mr Taster
                            PSZaas RE: Mr Taster Sep 15, 2011 04:43 PM

                            Sure, the tannic acid in the skins affects the pie: It makes it taste like a grape pie. How could you forego all that flavor in the skins?

                            1. re: PSZaas
                              Mr Taster RE: PSZaas Sep 15, 2011 04:47 PM

                              The real question is not whether to use the skins-- that's a given, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise-- but rather why the skins need to be removed at all. If you got seedless Concords, could you cook a grape pie without skinning them? Or is removing the skin a critical step in the process? Will they cook down to be too soft if they are reduced with the grape pulp?

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                Becca Porter RE: Mr Taster Sep 15, 2011 05:13 PM

                                Yes. Some people make pies with whole seeded Concords. You just spit out the seeds or swallow as you are eating, I guess. I prefer to remove them.

                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                  julesrules RE: Mr Taster Sep 16, 2011 04:47 AM

                                  I make it from seedless concords. They are a local product called "coronation" grapes here in Ontario. I do not preprocess the grapes in any way, see my post above. The final texture does resemble sour cherries. It makes a great pie, but intense - once a year when the grapes are in season is wonderful. Last year I served it with peanut butter ice cream. I've also made a (prize-winning) apple and grape pie and will probably be doing that again tomorrow for a local apple pie contest.

                                  1. re: julesrules
                                    karykat RE: julesrules Sep 16, 2011 10:06 AM

                                    Do these seedless Canadian grapes taste the same as concords? That sounds wonderful! Any difference?

                                  2. re: Mr Taster
                                    Mr Taster RE: Mr Taster Sep 16, 2011 07:57 AM

                                    Someone on another thread mentions that the grape skins are a natural source of pectin and serves to thicken the pie. But again, I wonder whether skinning the grapes and adding them back at a later time helps the pie to thicken better? Does pectin's thickening properties decrease when it is overcooked? This could certainly be a real science-based reason for separating the skins, which is what I was aiming for in my original question.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                      julesrules RE: Mr Taster Sep 16, 2011 09:05 AM

                                      Are you planning on making a grape pie? Experiment and let us know.

                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                        bushwickgirl RE: Mr Taster Sep 16, 2011 09:07 AM

                                        The grapes skins have more flavor, over the pulp, the color of the antioxidant flavonoid anthocyanin and some extra aroma, especially if the grapes have been exposed to a light frost. The Concord grape is a slip skin variety, making it easy to remove the pulp. Adding the skins back into the filling does thicken it slightly, but not enough to skip a thickener. The wild variety of Concord grape contains more pectin than commercially grown and these grapes don't have a ton of pectin anyway. Fruit loses pectin in the ripening process; that's why green apples or unripe fruit is often added, in a small measure, to jam or jelly in lieu of commercial pectin.

                                        I use a small amount of flour for a thickener for this pie; not my usual choice for thickening, but it works very well here. There is not enough pectin in the grape skins to naturally thicken the pie, but the skins do give the filling body and texture, beyond color and flavor.

                                        Hope this helps.

                                2. o
                                  oldunc RE: Ida Red Sep 15, 2011 06:40 PM

                                  The Concord grape pie is the only grape pie I know of with any tradition behind it. It's a sort of love it or hate it affair. There was a grape tart I made a couple of times years ago, from one of Maida Heatter's books, that was concentric rings of green and red grapes in an almond crust, filled with an apricot-kirsch glaze, that was quite good. I used Thompson and Red Flame grapes at the time, but more intriguing seedless options are available now. Then again, there was the guy I saw on tv making a grape pizza by pounding grapes into his pizza dough- it's things like that that made me stop watching cooking shows.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: oldunc
                                    julesrules RE: oldunc Sep 16, 2011 04:49 AM

                                    Isn't there a traditional grape "pizza"?

                                    1. re: julesrules
                                      oldunc RE: julesrules Sep 16, 2011 07:08 AM

                                      I think that was it, though soggy dough seems an unlikely tradition.

                                  2. k
                                    karykat RE: Ida Red Sep 16, 2011 10:12 AM

                                    The first time I made a grape pie I made a large one for a potluck. I had read about using a food mill to remove the seeds and that didn't work. The seeds just crunched through the mill leaving little seed pieces in my mixture.

                                    So I removed the seeds by hand. It took a good part of a day to do it and that's when I resolved that I would only make a one-person grape pie in the future. Because it tasted absolutely amazing but took sooooooo long!

                                    It was quite a while before I realized why you heat up the skinned pulp before putting it through the mill. Because I think that softens the seeds a bit so they don't just crunch and break up when you put them through the mill but get held behind in the mill. I've done it that way since and it works great.

                                    I wonder too if taking the skins off helps trap the seeds in the food mill better.

                                    Last year my uncle gave me some grapes from his garden. They weren't quite concords but tasted like them and had thicker skins. I seeded them as usual and made cobblers from them. The skins were definitely thicker but the flavor was just great.

                                    1. iL Divo RE: Ida Red Sep 16, 2011 10:20 AM

                                      about 5 years ago a friend of mine wanted my pear pie recipe so I sent it.
                                      she said she'd send me her 'grape' pie. I thought 'what'?
                                      she did. I never made it for whatever reason, but, she used seedless reds and thompsons both. she had told me best pie ever, I just couldn't wrap my head around it.

                                      having read the comments here, I should return to that recipe and make it.
                                      seems that's a popular flavored pie.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: iL Divo
                                        bushwickgirl RE: iL Divo Sep 16, 2011 10:52 AM

                                        Yup, red and green seedless grapes make a nice pie also.

                                        1. re: bushwickgirl
                                          iL Divo RE: bushwickgirl Sep 17, 2011 02:44 PM

                                          prettier too I'd think, multicolored

                                      2. pikawicca RE: Ida Red Sep 17, 2011 03:21 PM

                                        After Katrina, I spent some time volunteering at the Made with Love Cafe in St. Bernard Parish. We were hugely dependent on donations, and one day we received 200 pounds of green seedless grapes. We roasted most of them, then baked them whole in custard pies delicious!

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