Mom’s Concord Grape Pie with a Twist

Makes one 9-inch pie

“You need Concord grapes to make a good grape pie.” How I recall those words from my mother, whose purple-stained fingers were a testament to that belief. Concord grapes are
indigenous to western New York, where I grew up, and parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio. In Mom’s recipe, I add apples to thicken the juices.

5 cups Concord grapes, washed and peeled* with the skins saved
1 large Cortland apple, washed, peeled and diced
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 pie crust (double crust)
1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, beaten together
Vanilla ice cream

1. Place the grapes in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon and pressing on the grapes until they begin to exude their juices and come to a boil. Transfer the grapes to a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and press on the grapes to release their juices. Discard the seeds.

2. Add the reserved skins, apple, sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon zest and juice. Gently combine the mixture.

3. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Pour the filling into a pie plate with the bottom crust in place. Smooth out the filling. Dot with butter and cover with the top crust, crimping the edges with a fork to seal the pie. Cut a V slit in the center of the top crust and brush the pie with the egg wash.

4. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any spills and bake for 45–50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices begin to bubble.

5. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a rack. When warm, cut the pie into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

* I have learned that squeezing the grapes easily detaches them from their skins and is easier than peeling with a small knife.