Concord Grape Pie
I first became aware of Michael Turback when he opened Turback's of Ithaca, a restaurant in an enormous renovated Victorian house on Rt. 13 south of Ithaca. That was back in the early 1980s when Turback was only 22. He wanted to use, as much as possible, local ingredients and local wines, and was one of the forerunners of a movement that eventually became known as Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty.
Although--much to the chagrin of many, myself included--Turback's of Ithaca is no longer in business, Michael Turback has not lost his interest in food or in promoting regional foods and wines. He is the author of the best-selling A Month of Sundaes, More than a Month of Sundaes, The Banana Split Book, Hot Chocolate, and Greetings from the Finger Lakes: A Food and Wine Lover's Companion from which comes this recipe.
CONCORD GRAPE PIE
The local tradition of purple pies began sometime in the 1960s with Al Hodges, who commissioned Irene Bouchard to make a unique grape dessert for the Redwood Restaurant in Naples. Forty years later, thousands come to the village of Naples to celebrate the grape harvest and sample the native grape pies. The robust flavor of Concord grapes makes this unusual pie a treat. You will have to peel each grape, but the delicious results are well worth the effort.
Makes one 9-inch pie
2½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
½ cup vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces
6 to 7 tablespoons cold water
4 cups Concord grapes
1 cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2½ tablespoons tapioca
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make the pie crust, mix together the flour and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the water over the mixture a tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly after each addition, until the dough can be formed into a ball, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes before rolling out.
To make the filling, slip the skins off the grapes and reserve them. Put the grape pulp in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat just until soft enough to release the seeds, about 8 minutes. Push the grape pulp through a wire-mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Combine the pulp in a bowl with the reserved grape skins.
Roll out each ball of dough on a well-floured board until they are 10 to 11 inches in diameter. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with a round of dough. Preheat the over to 450ºF. Mix the sugar, salt, and tapioca together in a bowl and spread about half of the mixture with the grapes and add the lemon juice. Pour the pie filling into the crust and dot with butter. Cover with the top crust and crimp the edges to seal. Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350ºF and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before serving. If not serving immediately, warm the pie in an oven set on the lowest temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Reprinted with permission of the author from Greetings from the Finger Lakes: A Food and Wine Lover's Companion by Michael Turback, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA, 2005.