This pie was created in the spirit of not wasting things. I bought some green grapes last week, because my husband has been on a grape kick. But this bunch turned out to be quite sour; they set our teeth on edge. I stared at those grapes, languishing in the fridge; what to do? I wondered why I hadn't ever seen a real live grape pie. Why not try it? So I did, and I was so excited about the results I was tweeting about it all weekend to anyone who would listen!
I was inspired by Sara Kate's Drunken Grape Tart (so pretty!). I found this recipe at MAC & CHEESE blog, and it looked so simple that I decided to try it out. I made some tweaks and changes, and then, hello! This pie was amazing.
The tart green grapes are so full and juicy; they are like sour cherries or enormous blueberries in their texture. They simply explode with juiciness and tart flavor. But there's no pitting, no peeling required. They are so easy to add to a pie, in fact, that I really wonder why we don't see more grape pies.
I also added some nutmeg to enhance the tartness, and a splash of elderberry flower syrup and some honey. I felt like this combination added an aromatic sweetness to the tart grapes, filling out their green flavor.
The only drawback to this pie is also its strength: its sheer juiciness. This pie filling leaks and weeps; it fills itself with juicy syrup. The bottom crust was a little soggier than I prefer, but this is hard to avoid without really straining the grapes or adding more cornstarch. It was really delicious as it was, and I didn't mind a little extra juice. But be forewarned.
Now, I am going to give you this recipe with some caveats. I only made this once (I usually test recipes repeatedly before posting here). It was a little fast and loose, as pies often are. A pinch of this, a touch of that. Your mileage may vary, as they say. But it was too good not to share!
Green Grape Pie
2 unbaked pie crusts, such as those from this recipe
Approximately 2 1/2 pounds green grapes (weighed before stemming)
1 cup white sugar, plus extra for top crust
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup elderberry flower syrup
1/4 cup dark honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Heat the oven to 425°F. Pat one pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan. Place the pie pan into the freezer while you prep the filling.
Pluck the grapes off their stems and place them in a large saucepan or pot. Add the sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, elderberry flower syrup, and honey. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently. When the mixture is quite warm to the touch, whisk in the salt and cornstarch. Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture is boiling and thickened slightly.
Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the grapes from the liquid. Put all the grapes into the frozen pie crust, then pour in enough of the syrup liquid to fill the pie crust. Leave about 1/2 inch space between the top of the crust and the liquid. Top the grape mixture with the pieces of butter. Press the second disc of pie dough on top of the pan, and crimp the edges together. Cut a few small slits in the top, and sprinkle the top crust generously with sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is well-browned and filling is bubbly. Let cool completely before serving.
(Images: Faith Durand)