Okay I’ve totally become a concord grape convert.
The first time I had heard of them was in the Four and Twenty Blackbirds book, then I finally saw them at the market this season and today I took the plunge and bought a basket.
This grape is so intensely grapey, like grape juice except fresh, and it has beautiful dark skins that create an amazing colour when the filling is all mixed together. Perfect with a flaky butter crust!
As for the crust design… I saw the Arkells last night and had a blast, danced for two hours straight. You could say I was a little inspired, so here’s an Arkells pie. (FYI if you’re looking for little letter cutters, the kitchen supply store at St Lawrence has a great set!)
- Prepared double crust pie shell, laid out in pie plate and ready to assemble (see Rhubarb Pie post)
- 2 pounds concord grapes, stemmed (I got one basket)
- Pinch grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tbsp ground arrowroot
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 large egg
- Egg wash (1 large egg mixed with 1 tsp water)
- Raw sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400F.
Squeeze the pulp out of each grape into a medium bowl and keep the skins on a cutting board. I found the most efficient way to do this was squeeze a bunch in my hand and the pulp would slide through my fingers and you can pick out any remaining in the bowl. You can also pop them out individually (maybe get a friend as it’ll take longer).
Place pulp in a saucepan over medium low heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until pulp softens. Pour through a sieve into a large bowl, pushing the pulp through with a spatula, leaving the seeds and allow to cool 10 minutes. Finely chop the grape skins and add to the pulp, stirring to combine.
Add lemon juice, zest, both sugars, arrowroot, allspice, cinnamon and salt to the mixture and stir to combine. Add egg and stir in thoroughly.
Pour filling into pie shell and assemble lattice/lyrical pie top as desired. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet and place on lower oven rack.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, until pastry sets and is starting to brown. Lower oven temp to 350F and bake until golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool 2-3 hours before serving.
Recipe adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbird cookbook