Monday, October 17, 2011

Grape Pie!

You should try this.  Concord Grape Pie is wonderful, even if it is a bit of work.  I grew up with this as a special treat and decided we should make it with our grapes.  It's popular in the East, especially around Amish country, where they know their pies.  Martha Stewart has a fancified version in her pies and tarts book, but she has you cutting each grape individually and pitting them by hand.  Can you imagine?! This is much simpler.
First you wash your grapes and make sure there are no spiders on them.
Then you pick each grape, one at a time, off the bunch and squirt out the innards into one bowl...
... and drop the skins into another.  Splurt...splat.  Your kids will want to help, of course.  What surprised me was that the older boys wanted to help before the little girls.

When all the grapes are separated, dump the innards (the green part that looks and feels like frog spawn... or eyeballs) into a pot and cook for about 5 minutes.  You know what homemade applesauce smells like when it's cooking?  This smells like grape sauce.  But you still need to get the seeds out: run the sauce through a food mill to strain them out.  Then combine the strained sauce from the innards with the skins.

To each quart (4 cups) of the grape mixture, add 1/3 C flour, 1 C sugar, pinch of salt, a squirt of lemon juice, and a few tablesoons of cut up butter, and dump it into a prepared pie plate lined with pastry.  You can make a lattice top or a regular top crust, or you can leave it open.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes, but make sure there's a pan underneath to catch the drips.  If you have more grape mixture, you can make up extra batches of pie filling and freeze them for the future.  Because once you have made this, you will want it again.

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