Pie of the Week: Pear and Concord Grape Pie
Here is an example of a pie with a sum that is greater than its two parts. A deep dish pie composed of nothing but pears and crust is just fine, but in a season that's all about flavor and spice, the mild flavor and gentle texture can become a bit monotonous. On the other hand, a pie filled with nothing but Concord grapes can get overwhelming, like eating great purple mouthfuls of concentrated jelly. As stand-alones, these pies do OK. But together, pears and grapes make an amazing team. You get all of the subtle, mellow flavor of pears, punctuated by bursts of tart, electric grape flavor.
Now is the time that Concord grapes are harvested, so get yourself to a farmer's market stat. Choose grapes that are full and smooth (as opposed to shriveled) and don't be alarmed if you see a light, powdery coating on the skins. Ask for the seedless kind, but if they are not available you can either remove the seeds (a somewhat tedious process) or add the grapes as they are (grape seeds are edible).
If you're planning to hold off on your baking project (Thanksgiving is right around the corner), squirrel the grapes away in the freezer—they'll hold well there until you're ready, and pears will still be available.
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About the author: Lauren Weisenthal has logged many hours working in restaurant kitchens and bakeries of Brooklyn and Manhattan. She is a graduate of the Artisan Bread Baking and Pastry Arts programs at the French Culinary Institute and holds a CS certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. You can follow her on Twitter at @evillagekitchen.