Friday, October 8, 2010

Concord Grape Pie (and Peanut Butter Ice Cream) #37

This is a love pie.

And by that, I mean that you have have some love while you make it because of all work that goes into it.

Besides the actual grains of sugar, salt, and flour, it seems as though you handle absolutely every thing that goes into it; each whole grape, the skins, the flesh, the seeds. And then there is the squeezing, cutting, seeding, cooking, straining, and repeating.

So really what I'm saying is that one can't do this without a little love. You just wouldn't make it through the process.

But even if that work becomes tedious, the result is not something that you'll hate--unless, of course, you hated your childhood and everything delightful about having a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in your lunchbox. But please oh please, I hope no one hated that!
While this pie filling is reminiscent of a big spoonful of Welch's grape jelly, it isn't half as gelatinous or sickly sweet and it packs a whole lot more sophistication sandwiched between layers of delicate crust. Also, I made peanut butter ice cream (see recipe below) to accompany this pie and I think it made the perfect treat.

But (and excuse the tangent starting right now), I would think it was perfect. I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 2008-2009 marks a 15-month period where I had one nearly every day sometimes twice each day. I seriously considered serving peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at our wedding because I love them so much (thanks to Ryan for finding a better solution to that plan).

Any way, I've slowed down on my pb+j consumption, but since I've been consistently eating pie this year I think this winning combination just brought everything together for me: lunches my mom used to make me, peanut butter, the autumn harvest, jelly, the sometimes tedious but always enjoyable work that goes into making pies, and how much I love all of those things.

So my friends, the love pie. Please, enjoy a slice!
Concord Grape Pie
(Adapted from The Art of Baking)
3 pounds concord grapes stemmed and washed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with some larger pieces remaining.

With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed in a slow, steady stream, processing just until the dough begins to bind and holds together when squeezed in the palm of your hand, 5 to 10 seconds. If the dough is too dry, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and shape it into a flattened disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least and hour, or overnight. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month, but thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using.)
On a lightly flour surface, roll out 1 disk of the dough to an 11-inch round. Roll the dough onto a rolling pin, center it over a 9-inch pie plate, and fit the dough into the plate, pressing the dough into the edges. Trim the dough right to the top edge, with no overhang. Combine the scraps with the second disk of dough which will be the top crust, and return it to the refrigerator. Freeze the pie shell until firm, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F

Line the chilled pie well with a round of parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges of the crust are just beginning to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the parchment and the pie weights. Return the crust to the oven and continue baking until it is dark golden all over, 10 minutes more. Transfer the pie shell to a wire rack and let it cool completely. Keep the oven on.

Roll the second disk of dough between two pieces of waxed paper to a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough, still between the waxed paper, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate it.

Take about two thirds of the grapes and pop them out of their skins by pressing them between your thumb and index finger.

Save half of the skins, discard the other half. In a medium saucepan, combine the flesh of the grapes with the sugar and cook over medium heat until the grapes break down enough for the pulp to separate from the seeds, about 5 minutes. Put this grape mixture through a food mill or push it through a large-holed strainer [I used a fine mesh sieve and it worked fine] into a bowl to separate the pulp from the seeds. Discard the seeds.  Return the strained pulp to the saucepan, and stir in the cornstarch and the reserved skins. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
Halve the remaining grapes with a paring knife. Using the tip of the knife, remove the seeds and discard them. Fold the de-seeded grape halves into the cooked pulp.
Pour the grape mixture into the cooled pie shell. Cover the filling with the top crust, and trim it so that there is a 1-inch overhang the entire way around. Fold the dough under itself and seal the top crust to the bottom by crimping the edge around the entire pie. With a paring knife, cut four horizontal slits, each about 6 inches long, across the top of the pie.

Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and thick. 50 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

The pie is best eaten the day it is baked but can be kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator, loosely covered in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
(adapted from David Lebovitz)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. When ready, process ice cream base in your ice cream maker until thickened, about 15-20 minutes or according to manufacturer's directions. (If you choose to add candies, chocolate, or peanuts, add them in the last 5 minutes of mixing.) Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Are you kidding me?! You TOTALLY served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at (okay, AFTER) your wedding. The people of NYC still remember how delicious they were... I made lots of them--I should remember. :)
    Do you guys own an ice cream maker?