Bake with grapes:
Try these old-fashioned pie
and wine country-inspired recipes
Blade Food Editor
Grapes are so easy to eat — you don’t have to peel them or cut them. Maybe that’s why we’ve forgotten that we can bake with them.
Although dedicated cooks have used grapes for making jellies and jams or wine, and for occasional baking, through the years these time-consuming tasks have been done less frequently. One recipe that’s been too often forgotten is the Concord grape pie.
In addition, seedless varieties of grapes shipped from
Local grape growers are most likely to have
In the next two months get your fill of
But last week I bought
For a Concord Grape Pie, you’ll need two pounds of grapes. Cooks will tell you that they made this pie “years ago,” but now rarely make it because it is time-consuming to remove the seeds.
You could mistake a Concord Grape Pie for a blueberry pie. A decade ago, a friend shared her recipe, which used flour in the filling. Her recipe is similar to one in Joy of Cooking: All About Pies & Tarts (Scribner, $15.95), except it uses tapioca or cornstarch.
To remove the seeds, these recipes instruct that the skin is slipped off by pinching each Concord grape, a time-consuming process. The pulp is then simmered for five minutes and strained, preferably with a food mill (See column at left). The skins, the pulp without the seeds, the juice, flour, salt, lemon juice, and melted butter make the filling.
Without the food mill, a lot of pulp can be wasted. So I tried a different
method of removing the seeds inspired by a recipe in Claudia Fleming’s The Last
Course (Random House, $40): I cut the
The Concord Grape Pie was baked using both methods, and the flavor, the color, and the taste is identical. Cutting the grapes in half, which kept the pulp connected to the skin, did produce a more tender filling. The method of slipping the skins off the grape produced a chewier pie.
According to author Ethan Becker in the Joy of Cooking: All About Pies & Tarts, only
The grapes may be sweet but are usually astringent, so the pie has a touch of tartness to it as well as sweetness.
The pie can be made with a lattice crust top or with a crumb crust. Both are delicious.
Cookbook author Fleming writes that she got the inspiration for Grape Focaccia with Rosemary from reading about the grape harvest
From the French comes the idea of clafouti.
Originally from the
Apple, Grape, and Madeira Clafoutis made with seedless red grapes is a recipe found in The Wine Lover Cooks with Wine by Sid Goldstein (Chronicle, $24.95). It is more pudding like than cake-like.
Most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen except for the
The Blade tested this recipe made with, and then without, Maderia. The recipe works well either way. The dessert is best served warm with whipped cream or ice cream. However, it can be held in the refrigerator until the next day; simply heat each serving for about 60 seconds in your microwave.
Use seedless green grapes in Breakfast Coffee Cake with Grapes and Pecan Streusel. This is an easy recipe with an awesome flavor that kids will like. It holds well for several days.
Regarding the coffee cake recipe, “There are no cooking steps with seedless grapes,” says Jim Howard, California Table Grape Commission spokesperson. “We’ve used green and red grapes in focaccia dough as well. Grapes don’t overpower the dish. This Breakfast Coffee Cake has lots of spices and flavors. The grapes add juiciness and moisture.”
For those who love Concord grape pies, a seedless Concord grape would be perfect.
Concord Grape Pie
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Pastry for two-crust 9-inch pie or pastry
for one-crust pie plus optional crumb topping
Cook’s note: A faster method of removing the seeds, is to cut the grape in half and slip the seeds out with the edge of a paring knife. Any pulp with seeds or juice should still be cooked for 5 minutes before adding to the grape halves and other ingredients.
To make pie: Slip skins from grapes and reserve. Put pulp in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Press the pulp through a sieve (or food mill) to remove seeds. Mix pulp with sugar, skins, salt, flour, lemon juice, and butter. Pour into pie crust and top with crust or crumb topping. Bake 425 degrees for 10 minutes and 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until pie bubbles.
Optional Crumb Topping
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
Combine and mix until crumbly.
Yield: 1 pie
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose fl our
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
2 cups thinly sliced tart apples,
preferably Granny Smith
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Lightly sweetened whipped cream for garnish
Cook’s note: This recipe was tested with
and without the 3 tablespoons
With an electric mixer or in a blender, beat the eggs and sugar together at high speed until thick and lemon colored, about 3 minutes. Beat in 4 tablespoons of melted butter, then the fl our, wine, zest, cinnamon, and half-and-half or milk. Let rest 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round or square baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the apples and grapes. Pour the batter over the fruit. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown, lightly puffed, and set.
Serve warm, with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and a dollop of whipped cream.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Source: The Wine Lover Cooks with Wine
Breakfast Coffee Cake with Grapes and Pecan Streusel
For Pecan Streusel:
2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For Coffee cake:
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups all-purpose fl our
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups green seedless grapes, halved
Cook’s note: Cake may be made one day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with vegetable spray or lightly butter and flour.
Stir together streusel topping ingredients: butter, pecans, brown sugar, fl our, and cinnamon until moistened; set aside.
For cake: cream butter and sugar; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add fl our mixture and the milk to the butter mixture alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle topping over batter; cover with
grapes. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.
Yield: 12 servings