RECIPE: Erin McDowell’s Concord Grape Pie

Food52’s kitchen manager and baker extraordinaire shares the recipe for her favorite pie.

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Editor’s note: We’re bringing you an entire week of our favorite Thanksgiving dish: pie. We’re rolling out expert opinions on crust, where to find your ideal latticed (or not) pastry nearby, a hard-to-believe-it’s-gluten-free rendition and, yes, plenty of inventive seasonal recipes. Oh, and if you follow us on Instagram, we’ll be posting your #EBpieweek shots all week — share your pie ‘grams if you’ve got ’em. Here, Erin McDowell, kitchen manager over at Food52 and pie baker extraordinaire, shares her recipe for Concord Grape Pie.

It was through Food52’s Instagram that I first saw Erin McDowell’s stunning pies (three cheers for social media making the world small). When I reached out to her seeking pie crust advice, she offered to share a recipe, too — and how could I resist? I’ve never had a Concord grape pie, but Erin says that it’s her “all-time favorite pie, bar none.” I can’t wait to try it, while I have some pie crust stocked away in the freezer and the last of the grapes are still at the Greenmarket.

Concord Grape Pie
Makes one 9 inch pie

Dough
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
pinch salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/3 cup cold water, or more as needed

Filling
2 ½ lbs concord grapes
1 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Finishing
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Turbinado sugar, as needed

1. To make the dough, whisk the flour and salt together to combine in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter, and toss to coat each piece lightly with flour. Use your hands to “cut” the butter into the flour, leaving shards of butter about the size of walnut halves.

2. Add the water gradually, mixing just until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into two discs, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill until firm.

3. To make the filling, squeeze the grapes into a large bowl, separating the flesh from the skin. Reserve the skins in a separate bowl. Transfer the pulp to a medium pot, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer until the grapes have broken down to juice, about 10 minutes

4. Strain the grape mixture into the bowl with the skins – this is to remove the grape seeds, but really press the juice through the sieve to make sure you don’t lose any. Cool the grape mixture completely.

5. While the grape mixture cools, roll out one disc of the pie dough on a lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thick. Line a 9 inch pie plate with the dough, leaving a border of about ¼ inch all the way around the pie. Transfer the pie plate to the refrigerator until well chilled.

6. Roll out the second disc of dough, and cut it into lattice pieces 3 inches thick (alternatively, you can just make a basic double crust pie).

7. Once the grape mixture has cooled to room temperature, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Stir into the grape mixture, then stir in the vanilla.

8. Pour the filling into the chilled bottom crust, and top by weaving the lattice pieces over top. Fold the lattice pieces under the excess bottom crust, and finish the edges as desired. Chill the whole pie again for 10-15 minutes.

9. Egg wash the chilled pie, and garnish generously with turbinado sugar. Bake in a 425 degree oven until the crust is golden brown and the filling bubbles up through the top crust, about 35-40 minutes. If the crust is browning too quickly, reduce the temperature to 375 for duration of baking.

Photo by Mark Weinberg, courtesy of Erin McDowell

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Caroline Lange is a writer and a student at Barnard College, where she studies English and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. The farmers market occasionally makes her more emotional than she'd care to admit. She continues her search for the best coffee shop in New York.