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It’s Pie. Grape Pie. December 3, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, Holidays Countdown.
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Having lived within 20 miles of Naples, New York for nearly 20 years, I have made a concord grape pie or two in my time.  Now this should come as no surprise to anyone, does it?  After all, I certainly made short work of the little basket of grapes I picked up at the farmers’ market last fall, didn’t I?

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And since November is at the tail end of “harvest season,” well, it only makes sense that, along with the apple pie and (usually) pumpkin pie, a grape pie graces the Thanksgiving dessert table, doesn’t it?  And since “pie” was my food assignment, well, we know where I’m going with this, don’t we?

Grape pie is usually a very basic, simple undertaking – grapes, some sugar, thicken it with a bit of corn starch, and dump it in the crust.  But this year, I wanted to jazz it up a little.  So I borrowed from Nero Wolfe – you can’t go wrong there, can you?  One of our favorite recipes from the Nero Wolfe cookbook is grape-thyme jelly – since I don’t have the patience to strain it and make a proper jelly, I just make jam.

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So I said to myself, “Self, if grapes and thyme work in jam, why not in pie too?”

So there you have it – grape-thyme pie.  I started with a quart of grape pulp, added some sugar (about 1/2 cup, or to taste), a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped, a pinch of salt (always) and the zest and juice of a lemon.

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In addition to the grapes, I also shredded one lone apple.  Grapes are very liquidy and can use all the help they can get to thicken.  Apples are high in natural pectin, which should help thicken the filling, and (in theory) lessen the amount of actual thickener I’d need.

Always thinking, that’s me.

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Now, since I already had a package of tapioca flour, and since tapioca is an accepted pie-thickener (that’s what I used last summer when I tried Cook’s Illustrated‘s blueberry pie) I added 2 Tablespoons of tapioca flour once the filling came up to a low boil.

Then I added another half tablespoon or so when that didn’t thicken it much.

As it turns out, I should have been a little more liberal with the tapioca – I was concerned about grape rubber, but I needn’t have been.  Next time, I’d start with 3 or 4 Tablespoons of thickener and go from there.

Anyway, pour the filling into a prepared pie shell, then cover with the top crust.

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Oh, and just so you know, it’s not a great idea to roll out your top crust, then step OVER the dog (who chooses that moment to decide to sit up and see what’s going on) to lay it on top of the freshly filled pie.  I’m just saying.  Just consider that a friendly tip.

Now this pie tasted delicious – all grape-y and thyme-y.  A little firmer filling, and it will be perfect.

And a quart of grape pulp really is almost exactly the right amount for a pie.  A quart of grape pulp plus an apple left me with about half a cup left over.

Just about the right amount for, oh, say, a small batch of grape muffins.  Time to get the tapioca flour out and thicken a bit more, huh?

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Comments

1. kseverny - December 3, 2009

it sounds delicious.
its amazing what a bit of imagination can do to dishes

Absolutely! Thanks. . .


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