What started off as a pie ended up as a tart! Honestly, sometimes, it can be hard to predict where things can end up, even in the kitchen. I had intentions of making one big jammy grape pie, that would be full of sweet sticking juices overflowing from the sides after it had bubbled in the oven. But, at one last moment when I sneaked in a taste of the fresh concord grape juice, I changed my mind.
Of all the grapes, I think the Concord variety has a robust and unique flavor that makes it stand out. The only thing, I wish it would have or rather not have is the seeds. I once went as a guest to a dinner where they served concord grapes as part of a fresh fruit dessert but having to get rid of the seeds proved to be much more of an arduous task than I'd like to have undertaken. And thank goodness for dark lighting and napkins!
To prepare this tart filling, I blended all the grapes together with the skins and the seeds. You can use a ricer, if you have one but I used a blender and I loved the taste of the fresh grape juice.
This pie has very little sugar added to it, the filling has none because concord grapes are rather sweet to begin with but if you feel the filling isn't sweet enough, then add about a teaspoon more, just taste and get a feel for things. The almond crust has a little sugar added to it to balance out the flavor of the almonds. So you can feel better about eating this tart!
I prefer to serve and eat this tart chilled. The crust is similar to that of a shortbread cookie and crumbles easily
concord grape tart with almond crust
yields: 1 rectangular tart (14 inch X 5 inch)
concord grape tart filing
1 lb concord grapes or 2 cups concord grape juice, fresh
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1. Pick the grapes and discard any stalks, place the grapes a blender and blend until completely smooth. At this point you can choose to strain the liquid via a sieve lined with moistened cheese/muslin cloth or use it directly (I used it directly). Alternatively, you can also use a ricer to get the juices out of the grapes.
2. Take 2 cups of this grape juice and place it in a large thick bottomed saucepan. Heat on a medium-high flame and bring to a rolling boil. In the meantime, whisk the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to form a slurry.
3. Whisk the cornstarch into the boiling grape juice until it is completely combined. Cook for 2 minutes with constant stirring on medium-high heat. It should coat the back of a silicone spatula or spoon. Strain the liquid through a sieve to remove any clumps. Stir in the lemon juice and pour the hot liquid into the tart shell as directed below in step 5 of the almond crust tart shell.
almond crust tart shell
0.5lbs almond flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature + extra butter for greasing the tart pan
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
zest of one lemon, fresh
1. In a large mixing bowl, mixing all the ingredients together by hand. The mixture will coming together and resemble a cookie crumb like texture.
2. Line a rectangular tart shell with parchment paper at the base and grease the sides lightly with a little butter.
3. Place the almond flour mixture in the tart pan and using your fingers/or using the bottom flat surface of a measuring cup press the dough up the bottom and sides of the pan to form a layer of even thickness. Cover the crust with cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.
4. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F.
5. Prick the surface of the chilled crust a few times with the prongs of a fork. Line the top surface of the pastry with parchment paper and place some pie beads or dried beans over it. This will prevent uneven rising during the baking process. Bake the pastry for 30 minutes in the center rack of the oven (this is also called blind baking). The edges will be slightly golden brown at this point. Carefully remove the pie beads along with the parchment sheet paper on the top surface.
4. Once the crust is cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment paper with the pie beads. Allow the tart shell to cool for another 10 minutes.
5. Pour the hot concord grape filling into the tart shell and allow to cool to room temperature. Wrap the tart in the pan with cling film and refrigerate for at least two hours before slicing. Unwrap the cling film and remove the tart from the pan and garnish with a little lemon zest before serving.