Seasons Change

This is Mr. N’s first year of middle school. That means walking a fine line on Halloween. He absolutely did not want to miss trick or treating, but he also didn’t want to be caught dead in anything “babyish” or that might entice ridicule. So what to do? Gruesome? Clever? Or silly?

Silly Shark

Well, if you know Mr. N, you can likely guess he desperately wanted a costume that was plain ridiculous. Fortunately, we found it.

Shark and Ranger

I wish I could have captured our uproarious laughter when we found this tucked back on the rack. Or Miss A’s face when she walked in and saw a shark reading a book at the kitchen counter.

Park Ranger

As for Miss A, well she is our rule enforcer, not necessarily a rule follower, however, a mighty enforcer. While we were in Colorado this past summer, she came across a National Park Ranger outfit and was immediately sold.  She wore it nearly every day on vacation and again, proudly, on Halloween.

Ntl. Park Ranger

She was certain she would be the only Park Range at school. And she was.

TrickorTreat

And despite the gloomy, wet weather, the kids had a ball. They were soaking wet, but their buckets were full. (And so were their tummies!)

Concord and Vidal Grapes

And just like that, Halloween is past and we’re now heading full-speed into November. That means it’s time for the next issue of Wine Tourist Magazine. This month the magazine is featuring the Finger Lakes. Well, you know I was more than happy to have another chance to gush about our favorite wine region.

Destemming grapes

I also knew instantly what I needed to make to represent the region – a Naples Grape Pie. It’s a traditional dessert made every harvest season in the Finger Lakes. You can read more about the pie’s history in my World Platter column here.

Pinching grapes

Have you ever heard of a grape pie? I certainly had not and you all know how I feel about pies! The only problem with my plan was that the Naples grape pie is traditionally made with Concord grapes. I have never seen or tasted a Concord in my life and I didn’t have time to drive (as much as I would have loved to) back to FLX.

grape pincher

I wasn’t about to give up on this pie experiment though, so I reach out to our friends Laury at Finger Lakes Wine Country and Tina from Sawmill Creek Vineyards. If anyone could help me solve this dilemma it was them. Sure enough the very next day a box of grapes arrived at my door from the Finger Lakes.

skinning grapes

They froze the grapes overnight to help prevent them from rotting during shipping and they arrived safe and sound. The Concord grapes lost a bit of juice in transit, but the Vidal grapes held up very well. (More on the Vidal grapes in our next post.) Despite their appearance, the Concords were still fresh and delicious. If you’ve never had one, they taste exactly like grape jelly! Or my favorite – grape gum! So good. Just looking at these pictures I can smell them!

Concord grape pulp

Knowing we were on borrowed time, we got to work straight away. The first step in making a grape pie is to skin the grapes. I was envisioning a nightmarish process of hand peeling each grape with a paring knife, but much to my surprise, these babies practically peel themselves! All you do is pinch them at the base and the pulp falls right out. Miss A was my enthusiastic pincher for the day. She quickly reminded me that when you help cook, you get samples. Despite the seeds, she was chowing down. Good thing we had plenty of grapes on hand!

Grape skins

After separating the skins and pulp, the pulp is boiled for about five minutes to help detach the seeds from the pulp. This is done by running the cooked pulp through a sieve or a food mill.

http://www.winetouristmagazine.com/wt-blog/2015/10/16/world-platter

The pulp is then combined back with the skins and refrigerated for at least 4 hours.

pie crust

This is when we prepared our pie crust, which we’ll revisit next week. We used our favorite, double shortening crust recipe, but any homemade crust would work. If you’re really short on time, you could purchase a premade crust as well.

Verjooz

After the grapes had a time to sit, we added sugar, cornstarch and verjooz (lemon juice would work in place of the Cab Franc verjuice). Mr. N was my mixer and dumper. He too snuck a few tastes. So far so good.

sugar and grapes

For this pie, we chose a lattice top so that we could see the beautiful dark grapes peeking through. Their color is really striking.

grape pie filling

The pie bakes initially at 400 for the first 20 minutes and then the oven is turned down to 350 for the remainder of the baking time. Ours took an hour for that golden brown hue.

grape pie

We served our Concord grape pie warm out of the oven, and again reheated with friends a few days later. The Concord filling held together well. It was warm and juicy, but not runny in the least. The crust held up well to the hefty filling.

naples grape pie

So what does a Concord grape pie taste like? Imagine the “grapiest” thing you’ve ever tasted and then imagine that fully intensified. That is a Naples grape pie. It’s a unique and very bold flavor that’s sweet, but not overly so. The filling was jammy with the grape skins providing a nice chewy contrast. It was a perfect pie consistency.

concord grape pie

As for spoon ratings, well, we were a house divided. Mike and Miss A were BIG fans of the Concord pie. They loved everything about it – flavor, texture and aroma. It was a 4 spoon dessert for both of them. Mr. N and I, however, did not make it a 4 spoon dish (despite it being a dessert!). We both enjoyed it, but were conflicted. On texture it garnered 4 spoons. On taste 3 spoons. I’m not sure what that makes it for us – 3.5 spoons? 3 spoons? Either way, we couldn’t call it a 4.

FLX Grape Pie

Not to worry, remember those Vidal grapes we mentioned? Well, stay tuned for the treat Mr. N and I preferred later this week.

Finger Lakes Grape Pie

I’m shocked this pie only came into being (at least in the Finger Lakes) in the 1960’s. It seems to me this would have been something someone would have discovered at some point. Perhaps it’s the challenge of finding Concords outside of the Northeastern U.S. (although wouldn’t you know I saw them at my market a week later – first time ever!). Or maybe it’s the amount of work that goes into pinching and seeding the grapes. It’s not hard, but it is time-consuming and absolutely worth it.

Concord Pie

While we all ultimately prefer our berry pies and cobblers, I have to say I would certainly never turn down a slice of this FLX harvest treat. Hopefully one of these days we’ll get out there in the fall for a visit, but until we do, I may have to make this to tide me over and enjoy it with a glass of Finger Lakes sparkling wine.

FLX Concord Grape Pie

So what do you think? Have you ever heard of or eaten a grape pie? Was it made with Concords or another variety? Well, in case you weren’t sold on this one, we’ll be back later in the week with our Vidal version. It’s similar in preparation, but very different in flavors. In fact, now that I think about it, this month you’ll be getting quite a few pie-related recipes. Tis the season!

Naples Concord Grape Pie

For the recipe click here: FLX Concord Grape Pie

To sign up for Wine Tourist Magazine’s monthly newsletter: Follow Wine Tourist Magazine

21 thoughts on “Seasons Change

  1. hotlyspiced says:

    Your kids are so gorgeous. I do love the look of your pie. It has a beautiful colour. At first I thought it was a blueberry pie and I’ve been thinking of making one because blueberries are at their cheapest right now. I don’t think I’ve ever had a grape pie – it looks wonderful xx

    Like

  2. Debra says:

    This is a beautiful pie! The colors are gorgeous and although I’ve never even heard of a grape pie, this intrigues me! Both of the costumes are great. I’m laughing at Miss A, though. A Park Ranger? That is just too adorable. She has a quirky eye to have chosen that out of all the possibilities. I love it. And the shark makes me think of the old SNL skit with the shark at the door. Mr. N’s flare for the dramatic showed up even in his choice of costume! I hope they had a great time–I’m sure they did! 🙂

    Like

  3. Eva Taylor says:

    That is incredibly cool, I love the colour too. I wondered what you would do with the skins, so glad they went back into the pie, I can imagine it would be similar to the plum skins in my plum butter.
    I am not a huge use person but JT is so ill be in the lookout for these grapes to try my hand at grape pie.
    Great costumes for the kids, love both of them!

    Like

  4. Bam's Kitchen says:

    I have not eaten a grape pie before but that looks amazing and sounds so good. Your little guys are becoming less camera shy and good to see them having fun on Halloween. Get the kettle going, I will be right over!

    Like

  5. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    ah yes, the balance between aloof and desire to participate in the candy fun can be a tough one in those middle school years…love Mr N’s approach; he certainly pulled it off and Miss A too – I’ve yet to come across a park ranger at Halloween – so unique and suited to a tee. And look at your pie Kristy! It’s gorgeous (love the lattice crust and the deep, rich color of the grape filling) and I’m so curious about the taste… I have never had a concord grape pie before; I suspect I might love it. You’re just rockn’ it on the blog these days sister, keep up the great work!

    Like

  6. Farreline Oxby says:

    Yes, Kristy I have heard of Grape Pie. When our church has a dinner and the women need to bring pies, we have a lady that will sometimes bring a grape pie. It is usually grabbed by the kitchen help before it ever reaches the dessert table. We also have a man in his late 80s that will bring his famous Rhurbard pie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kristy says:

      Well that only seems fair that the kitchen should have first crack at it. 🙂 The rhubarb pie sounds fantastic too! Nothing tops your cobbler though Grandma. xoxo

      Like

Thank you for commenting!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s