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If I were a poet, I'd write an ode to the grapes that have graced my local greenmarket recently. I love their pucker-inducing skins, and their sweet juicy insides. I love the way that the squishy, gelatinous centers burst out of the skins and squeak between my teeth. I love the seed-spitting contests my husband and amused ourselves with childishly from a blanket in the park. And, most of all, given their perfect combination of sweet, tart and colorful, I'm loving them for baking.
It's true, they're not the easiest fruits to deal with. Most growers produce them for juice or wine-making, and usually they're filled with seeds, which is enough for some bakers to steer clear. The most prolific grape is the Concord, which is recognized by its deep purple blue color, but green Aroures, and Elviras, as well as red-colored Rosettes are also great for baking (and these are just a few examples that I happened to see last weekend.) Get them now, before the frost hits the farms and these fragile grapes are gone.
If you're lucky, you may come across Glenora or Canadice grapes, which are seedless. No matter which you choose, look for firm, plump fruit, and don't be concerned if the skins look like they have a white dusty residue, it's completely normal.
Deseeding isn't as tedious as it sounds if you have access to a food mill. For this method, first squeeze the grapes gently to pop the insides out (they will look like jelly and come out the hole left by the stem easily), and set the skins aside. Process the insides through the food mill, which will pass the pulpy sweet flesh and juices through the sieve and reserve the seeds. Mix the pulp, juice, and skins together with some sugar and starch, and there you have your filling.
Be sure to taste the grapes that you use for these galettes. If the grapes are on the sweeter side, you can dial down the amount of sugar that you add.
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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.
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