FOOD & RECIPES

Concord Grape Pie

September 2016

Nothing says fall in Upstate New York like a grape pie. This grapey Naples, NY confection is fairly new to the world of desserts, but it sure has made an impact. This annual treat is anticipated by many, and for some home cooks like myself worth the time-consuming effort it takes to put one together.  I am not going to lie, it is work to put one of these bad boys together.

Irene Bouchard is universally recognized as the mother of Naples’ grape pies, if not their actual inventor. In the early 1960s, Al Hodges, owner of the Redwood Restaurant, decided to use a novelty dessert to attract customers. Using a recipe he adapted from Irene Bouchard, he added  pies made from abundant local grapes to the menu. The Pies were a widely popular success and Irene Bouchard became known as the Grape Pie Queen of Naples, New York. It wasn’t long before other locals started baking grape pies out of their kitchens and selling them at roadside farmstands.

Concord Grapes off my home vine

It is estimated that twenty thousand pies are sold during Grape Festival Weekend alone. That is a whole lot of grape pie! But if you can’t get out to the Grape Festival this weekend I have got you covered with this recipe for Concord Grape Pie. Yes, I did say it was work, but this sweet pie is worth it!

My recipe is an adaptation of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Concord Grape pie from the The Pie and Pastry Bible. Unlike Mrs. Bouchard’s grape pie, this version has a little lemon, and is thickened with cornstarch.  Grape pie filling is an extremely wet filling, and very easily turns into a big soggy mess. After many, many failed attempts at concord grape pie, I have found I get the best results with this pie when I pre-cook the filling on the stove-top. This added step ensures a perfectly thickened filling, and reduces the chances of a soggy bottom crust. Just be absolutely sure to allow the filling to cool completely before you place it in the pie shell.  If the filling is hot it will melt the bottom crust. Yes, I learned this the hard way :-/
Concord Grape Pie

Concord Grape Pie

This annual treat is anticipated by many, and for some home cooks like myself worth the time-consuming effort it takes to put one together. Click for full recipe

By Jennifer

Concord Grape Pie Making Process

Grape pie filling freezes really well, and is always a nice addition to the Thanksgiving dessert table. I have found that increasing the cornstarch by a tablespoon or 2 helps thicken any extra juice the fruit may exude during the freezing/thawing process. Once the filling is cool, pack into a ziploc bag and freeze, thaw overnight in the refrigerator when you are ready to use the pie filling.

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