Don’t you love these small blue grapes? I don’t know what kind they are – I don’t think they’re concords – they are not as sweet as concords. (Might they be baco noirs?) Whatever they are, there are baskets and baskets of them at just about every vegetable and fruit stand right now. Baskets swarming with wasps. Which is always a good sign that the fruit is sweet and ready for eating – or baking into a pie.
Way back in 2004, during the infancy of this blog, before we had a digital camera, I raved about the wonders of grape pie.
Yes, grape pie. Don’t look so suspicious. You think it’s going to be a bit watery and too sweet, don’t you? You couldn’t be more incorrect.
Grape pie made from these little blue grapes that are so widely available this month (at least they abound here in Toronto) is like the best wild blueberry pie. But not nearly so expensive. We weren’t even tempted to buy blueberries this year; we really dislike the idea of feeling like we have to take out a loan so we can have blueberries.
In 2004, I wrote the following:
This year enough blueberries for a pie cost about $10. While headed to get the blueberries, we saw some small blue grapes – sweet, yet tart […] And the cost? About $3 – with grapes to spare […]
This year (four years later!) a similar sized basket of grapes cost $3.99. That’s enough grapes for a good sized pie. And that’s not much of a rise in price either. Still markedly less expensive than the tiny boxes of blueberries that are each priced at $3.99 each. One tiny box of blueberries might be enough for a smallish tart… I’m guessing we would want to use 3 boxes to make a pie. When we win the lottery, we’ll make blueberry pie. In the meantime, grape pie will do for us. And very very nicely too.
Our grape pie was a little on the tart side – we were worried about adding too much sugar because the grapes were so sweet. Oh my, but it was good pie!
makes one pie
- 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ c lard
- ICE-COLD water (anywhere from 2 Tbsp to ½ c)
- small blue grapes (enough to fill the pie plate)
- sugar, to taste (anywhere from ½ to ⅔ c)
- 3 Tbsp flour (or thereabouts) edit September 2021: make that 3 tsp flour (or thereabouts)!
- 1 tsp salt
- Pastry: Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut the lard into the flour and salt until it is pea sized. Add ICE-COLD water a little at a time and mix lightly until it is pastry consistency. Use a pastry cutter if your hands are warm or use your hands if you have cold hands like mine. Please note that the amount of water changes drastically, depending on the humidity. (For whatever pastry recipe you use, if it is very humid, reduce the amount of water called for.)
- Wrap it tightly in plastic. REFRIGERATE AT LEAST ONE HOUR.
- Filling: Wash grapes and put in a sieve to dry. Remove them from the stems and dump into a pyrex bowl.
- Add about ½ c sugar. Stir to coat the grapes. Taste and add more sugar if you want. Add the salt. Allow the grapes to sit and sweat while you wait for the pastry to finish refrigerating.
- Assemble the pie: Handling the pastry as little as possible, place it on a lightly floured board. Cut it in half. Roll out one half into a large round that will fill a pie plate.
- Add flour to the grape mixture and stir well. Dump it into the prepared bottom crust.
- Once again, handling the pastry as little as possible, roll out the other half to create the top crust. Drape it over the grapes, trimming to leave about an inch hanging over. Keep the trimmings!! Gently fold and pinch the two crusts together with water, or fruit juice or juice from the grape filling. Use the trimmings to gently patch pieces of crust onto the rim. (One can NEVER have too much pastry!)
- Use a fork or knife to put holes into the top layer. (Ensure that the bottom layer remains unpierced.) Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425F. Then turn the oven down to 350F and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more: until the filling is bubbling in centre.
Serve hot or cold, as is, or with ice cream. Serve it for breakfast with yoghurt.
Note that the juice does have a tendency to overflow while the pie is baking. Make sure there is a tray on the next rack down to catch the juices. (It’s much easier to clean a tray than to clean the oven.)
Amazingly, we did NOT take a photo of any of the slices of grape pie. How could we be so remiss?! It sure was delicious though.
Ah pie!! One can never have too much pie!