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Canadian Classic Concord Grape Pie

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Who has tasted a Traditional Concord Grape Pie? Put up your hand!

Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieOh me, oh me, oh my, oh my. This is one delectable pie! Thank you, Charmian Christie, for the inspiration!Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieRaisin Pie is a traditional Canadian prairie pie, but I have never made it as I don’t like it. It makes my teeth ache, it is so sweet. Grandma Maude made it and so did my mom. Dad loves it, as do so many “old folks” that remember those heritage recipes “everyone” used to make and enjoy together over a cup of steaming coffee around someone’s kitchen table. Raisins are dried grapes. Don’t laugh, those of you that know this. I have taught “Foods” classes to many students over a few years and not only did most of them not know this, most of our young teachers and parents do not know this. Knowing that raisins are dried grapes, I was curious as to why I have not ever even heard of a grape pie in my entire life until just this year when Charmian submitted her Grape Pie with Crumb Topping as her Cherished Canadian Food Recipe for The Canadian Food Experience Project.Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieI wrote about my love for the mighty Concord Grape and the quintessential grape flavour in the their skins. Concord Grape Juice is decadent and delicious and expensive. I couldn’t imagine a pie with that flavour. I could not imagine the texture of a grape pie, seeds removed. My research was more than a little embarrassing. Many people have been enjoying grape pies for many years, as Charmian has. It is a famous local delicacy from Naples, New York, known as the Grape Pie Capital of the World as Irene Bouchard apparently launched the grape pie industry there in 1965. Al Hodges, owner of the Redwood Restaurant across the street from her house, started baking grape pies for his guests in 1960 every fall when they were in season. The demand was so great that he could not keep up with it as his customers soon we asking for an entire pie to take home with them. That is when he asked her to make them to sell for his customers. No one else was making grape pies. She originally acquired her filling recipe from a friend of her mother’s, but altered it to achieve a greater clarity of colour and texture. She changed the addition of flour as a thickener to that of tapioca and was very pleased with the results. In her busiest season, she hand prepared two and a quarter tons of grapes.Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieI chose to make this pie first. “While Bouchard no longer handles orders in the thousands per season, she still fulfills custom orders and will most definitely have pies available at her home at 9 Cohocton Street during the Naples Grape Festival. Just look for the large grape flag and the bunch of “grape” balloons across from the Redwood. Bouchard charges $9 per pie. For individual orders, call Bouchard two days in advance of when the pies are needed. She may be reached at (585) 374-2068.” This was written in 2004 when Bouchard was 86 years old in an article titled The Queen of Grape Pies on page 50 in The Naples Record. The recipe I have used is identical to Irene’s with one exception. I added 2 more tablespoons of tapioca.Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieI was over the moon when I pulled this beauty out of the oven and place it on the bench outside of my back door. Irene always donned her Classic Grape Pies with a circle to let the gorgeous Concord Grape colour surround the top crust and celebrate this seasonal jewel.Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieI was sniffing and ogling the intoxicating amethystine hue. Imbued with awe as the glossy plump spherules suffused in a wonderland of grapey goodness appeared almost surreal. How could the grapes in the filling look so full and juicy, appearing whole. Once would never imagine, looking at this pie, that every skin was popped off every grape, pulps strained and added back to the skins. Who thinks like this? I could barely contain myself.Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieThe texture is alluring and requires a healthy chew. The essence of the mighty Concord permeates as the skins deliver their elixir, yet the flavour is not bold. It is a delicate, addictive and hypnotic spell that captivates from first bite to last. In the midst of it all, I realized my tail was wagging wildly.Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieThe prepared concord grapes after 5 hours of combining the skins with the pulp. I prepared 3 kilos at once for several recipes. The tapioca and sugar was added an hour before filling the pie shell. The recipe called for one tablespoon of tapioca, yet was too soupy. I added two more tablespoons to ensure the filling would hold together when sliced. Pie filling should not be gelatinous, nor should it be so loose that it cannot hold the shape of a slice when cut. I was delighted with the texture of this filling. Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieNo one else flutes pie this way, yet it is gorgeous to me. This is the way my family has always fluted our pies. I prefer it to anyone else’s fluting technique, yet no one has lined up for a lesson on fluting from me. What do you think? Are we on to something? Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieAfter preparing the grapes, this pie is about as straight forward as any pie I have ever made: prepare the pastry, pour in the filling, top with pastry. Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieBrushing the top crust with an egg wash and sprinkling with Demerara sugar creates a delicious, crunchy crystalline crust. The hole in the centre allows steam to escape.Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieHappy Day! Oh, Happy, Happy Day! Cooling on the bench outside, I just sat and watched.Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieCanadian Classic Concord Grape PieCanadian Classic Concord Grape PieCanadian Classic Concord Grape PieEventually, it was cool enough to slice, which I did slowly, with the most careful interest prudently lifting the first slice out of the pie. The visual pleasure of each slice was almost as appealing to me as eating my piece.Concord Grape Pie 2 Slices 1I didn’t remember the Concord Grape Sorbet in the freezer until I had only one bite left. Canadian Classic Concord Grape PieLucky me. There was an entire pie left and the sorbet called for that second slice. Blush. Cheeks flushed in rosy Concord hued circles, I forged on to discover that the sorbet was mighty tasty with this Classic Canadian Concord Grape Pie. Irene Bouchard deserves to be the Queen of the Grape Pie. I know I will be making the Concord Grape Pie at least once each season. I am still confused about why no one in my Canadian prairie world, all of these years, has every heard of a grape pie. Do tell.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Concord Grape Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Concord Grapes are grown in Ontario and British Columbia in Canada and are a rare delicacy enjoyed in season. This pie is a once a year treat and the labour of love separating the pulp from the skin is worth every bite!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 5½ cups or 2 pounds or I kilo of Concord grapes, washed, or
  • 500g prepared Concord Grapes
  • 1 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the grapes
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Pastry for a 9-inch pie, fluted
  • egg wash (i egg)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Demerara sugar
Instructions
Instructions for Preparing the Grapes:
  1. The instructions for preparing the grapes can be found here.
Instructions for the Pie Filling:
  1. Add sugar and tapioca during the 4th hour of the grapes sitting for 5 hours
  2. Prepare pie crust
  3. Pre-heat oven to 400F
  4. Pour mixture into pie crust; dot with butter
  5. Top with round cut out for crust; brush with egg and sprinkle with Demerara sugar
  6. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes; lower temperature to 350F cook 20 minutes more, or until crust is brown and juice bubbles
Notes
Cover the crust with foil once it reaches the desired brown colour.

I also made Charmian’s recipe for Concord Grape Pie with Crumb Topping which will be published next.

Classic Canadian Concord Grape Pie

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About Valerie Lugonja

Educator, Writer, Gardener and Traveler who believes in buying and eating locally, and most importantly cooking at home!

Join The Conversation!

  1. Bargainmoose says:

    Valerie, your pictures and descriptions actually just made my mouth water. What a fantastic pie!
    - Anna

  2. What a beautiful pie! Valerie, that’s it! I am coming over for a visit. : ) (wish I could!)

    • Valerie Lugonja says:

      Hey, Lizzy…
      Is a grape pie a “new” idea for you like it was for me? Are you familiar with them in Australia? :)
      V

  3. G’day Valerie! What a sensational pie, true!
    LOVE Concord grapes and loved your photos as they brightened my day today! Thank you!
    Cheers! Joanne

  4. Nope, never heard of concord grape pie (or any type of grape pie) but definitely recognize that flute – it’s exactly how I flute my pies! Hello, flute sister.
    Your pie REALLY makes me want to make one too, the next time I see Concord grapes in the store. Your description of the taste is what did it for me.

    • Valerie Lugonja says:

      Wonderful, Margaret!
      I cannot wait to read about you making a Concord Grape Pie – but don’t wait for them to come into the stores! Visit your local farmer’s market – or any of the one’s in Edmonton. I buy mine from Steve and Dan’s booth. They will have their home grown British Columbia “local” Concord Grapes at all of their booths until December.
      Hugs,
      Valerie

  5. Is it an Alberta flute? My family’s always look exactly like that and I will definately be making this pie. Hugs, Brendi

    • Valerie Lugonja says:

      Maybe it IS an Alberta flute and I just don’t know anyone who makes homemade pies anymore – except my friend, Karlynn… and she doesn’t flute like this. :)
      V

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