We are enjoying an abundance of fresh grapes right now in Santa Monica, a true wealth of varieties including ones such as the beautiful, translucent Chasselas Dore (below), “the grape you see in old Dutch Master paintings,” that I have never seen or heard of before. More often than not, I am moved to cook with ingredients that have an unusual name or pedigree or appearance . . . . however with grapes I also love and will eat a bunch without batting an eyelash of the plain old supermarket variety.And speaking of supermarket variety, this week I found “cotton candy” grapes that, if you can believe it, taste exactly like cotton candy . . . and I don’t really want to know how . . . and also “witches fingers” grapes that are shaped like sharp little cones. So unusual!
Concord grapes are a particular favorite of mine because of their deep, saturated purple color, and their aroma which takes me straight to childhood and peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches.
Here’s the “Autumn Royale”
Even after eating the grapes straight up for days, we had lots left that were in danger of rotting. With a glut of fruit it’s always a good idea to make a pie, so that’s what I did for this week’s Fiesta Friday, my favorite cooking adventure brought to you by the marvelous Angie at the Novice Gardener, and this week hosted by one of my favorite foraging bloggers, Hilda at Along the Grapevine.
For the crust of this pie, I used half whole wheat “glenn wheat” flour and half all-purpose flour, with a touch of brown sugar.
Next, I roasted half of the figs and half of the grapes. After roasting, I mixed the roasted fruit with some fresh grapes and figs for the pie filling.
Covered the pie with the top crust, popped it into the oven and voila!
Fig and Grape Pie
For Crust (*adapted from Alton Brown’s pie crust recipe); Since I made a smaller, square “tart” pie, I only used one crust and it was enough for a top and bottom crust, but if you are making a regular pie you will want to double the recipe. Or, if you prefer, you can have a “naked” pie with just one bottom crust.
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter, chilled
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lard, chilled
- 6 ounces (approximately 1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
- generous sprinkling of brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 cup ice water, in spritz bottle
- Approximately 32 ounces of dried beans, for blind baking
- Place butter and lard in freezer for 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove and cut both into small pieces.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt by pulsing 3 to 4 times. Add butter and pulse 5 to 6 times until texture looks mealy. Add lard and pulse another 3 to 4 times. Remove lid of food processor and spritz surface of mixture thoroughly with water. Replace lid and pulse 5 times. Add more water and pulse again until mixture holds together when squeezed. Place mixture in large zip-top bag, squeeze together until it forms a ball, and then press into a rounded disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place 2 metal pie pans in the refrigerator to chill.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Cut along 2 sides of the plastic bag, open bag to expose dough, and sprinkle both sides with flour. Cover again with plastic and roll out with a rolling pin to a 10 to 11-inch circle. Open plastic again and sprinkle top of dough with flour. Remove pie pans from refrigerator and set first pan on top of dough. Turn everything upside down and peel plastic from bottom of dough. Place second pan upside down on top of dough and flip again. Remove first pan from atop dough. Trim edges if necessary, leaving an edge for meringue to adhere to. Poke holes in dough and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Place a large piece of parchment paper on top of dough and fill with dry beans. Press beans into edges of dough and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove parchment and beans and continue baking until golden in color, approximately 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Let cool completely before filling.
- 1 lb red seedless grapes
- 1 lb fresh figs, sliced in half
- Divide fruit in half and roast half the grapes and figs in a 425F oven for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on how “roasted” you like your fruit. I roasted my fruit for 25 minutes.
- When roasted fruit is cooled, add to the remainder of the fresh fruit in a bowl.
- Place fruit mixture on top of pie crust and top fruit with second crust.
- Bake in 375 degree oven for 35 minutes and test for doneness. Let cool slightly and enjoy!