We are in the thick of Concord grape season, and while we won’t be stomping grapes in vats anytime soon it is time to go on the hunt for Concord grape pies.
New York is known for its Concord grapes (think Welch’s in Mayville and the Grape Discovery Center).
Baking a grape pie is a labor of love. It involves slipping the pulp from the skin, cooking it down, then straining it into the bowl of skins (after discarding the seeds) and cooking the filling down with sugar and tapioca as in this recipe from Saveur magazine. The recipe is from the Grape Pie Queen of Naples, Irene Bouchard, who began baking these pies in the early 1970s. She died in November 2015.
Today, Monica Schenk of Monica’s Pies has unofficially taken over the role of queen of pies, and sells grape pies year round in her shop in Naples where folks can also buy jams, jellies and conserves.
If you can’t make the trek to Naples, here’s where you can find the elusive grape pie, but fair warning, they do go fast, so you may want to call ahead.
At Carriage Trade Pastries (1654 Elmwood Ave., 881-2326, ctpastries.com) Jeanne Rollo says, “We slip the skins and seed out the pulp. It’s bit of work but we'll worth it. Pies will be around for about two weeks. Placing an order is the best bet.” Pie price is $17.
Julie Carriero’s Cutie Pies Bakery (Facebook) will offer grape and other pies at Locktoberfest, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 1, along Canal Street. Five-inch pies will be $5.75 or two for $10 until they run out. Normally at the Williamsville Farmers Market at Island Park on Saturdays, Carriero will return to Williamsville on Oct. 8 and said as long as grape season continues she’ll make grape pies.
And finally if you are in Lockport for the Locktoberfest festival, Lake Effect Ice Cream (79 Canal St., Lockport) is serving Concord grape ice cream which we cannot help but think would be fantastic on the pie, but would also be nice on its own.