I have a special love for Concord Grape pie. Anytime I post about making and eating it on Facebook I get a mix of intrigued and confused reactions, so I hope I can explain my deep love for this unique pie. My mother would make it every year for Thanksgiving, so just the smell of it cooking conjures up thoughts of Thanksgivings past- Turkey and all the trimmings. My mother grew up eating it when her mother and grandmother made it, after my great-grandmother Edith Grout, who grew up by lake Chautauqua in NY state and packed Concord grapes as a job.
I spent the first few years of marriage craving it. My mom had run out of pre-made pie fillings in the basement freezer, and she had not made any more. The main problem with this filling is that you have to think of it in September, for a few weeks only, when the grapes are ripe and available, otherwise you are out of luck until next year. Finally, last year I remembered at just the right time. I had found this wonderful little market in Lafayette, IN – the DNR market – and they had Concord grapes in from MI. They were pricey, but so worth the wait. I spent $18 and was able to make 5 pie fillings. No longer did Grape pie have to wait to be created and consumed until the 4th Thursday in November! Since I reminded my mother she thought to find a place that she could get Concord grapes. She happened upon a small vineyard and stopped to see if she could purchase grapes. They let her have the last of the grapes for $1/pound since they would have just been left for the birds to eat off the vine. So for her $18 she got 13 pie fillings. The grapes in her pie fillings, I found, were also softer and more tender to the bite than mine, because she got hers fresh off the vine and then processed the fillings the same day as picking them, unlike mine, which were made with grapes that had been shipped to IN and had spent longer off the vine.
“It does take a little time to slip the skins from the blue-black grapes, to heat the pulp, strain out the seeds and reunite pulp and skins before you can fix the filling.” -Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook
It is time well spent. Those fresh grapes hold all the deep, rich flavor of Autumn.
Streusel Concord Grape Pie
Unbaked 9″ pie shell
4 1/2 C. Concord grapes (1 C. of grape insides)
7/8 C. sugar
1/4 C. flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 tsp. salt
- Wash grapes and remove skins by pinching at end opposite stem hole. Reserve skins.
- Place pulp in saucepan and bring to a boil; cook a few minutes until pulp is soft. Put through strainer or food mill, while pulp is hot, to remove seeds.
- Mix strained pulp with skins. Stir in sugar, flour, lightly beaten egg and salt.
- Place grape mixture in pastry-lined pie pan. Sprinkle on Oat Streusel.
- Begin baking in 425° for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° for remaining 30 minutes or until the center is set and not
Combine 1/2 C. rolled oats, 1/2 C. brown sugar, 1/4 C. flour. Cut in 1/4 C. butter until evenly mixed.
Adapted From the Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook © 1965