Well, today is the first of something that has never happened on Making My Boast. Today we are featuring our first guest blogger!! So… Enjoy!! =)
When you have as many grapes squeezed as you want, put the heat on the pots. Pour a little bit of the liquid from the insides in with the skins, to keep the skins from burning, and put it on medium or low – let it simmer. Technically, the skins don’t need to cook, but heating them up helps the skins get softer, which is preferable in my opinion. The grape insides need to cook down enough for you to be able to strain the seeds out. This only took a few minutes for me, but the ones I used were really overripe, which made them cook down faster. Still, I don’t think it would take much more than five minutes after it comes to a boil. You can turn off the heat from the skins at the same time the pot with the grape insides is done.
After the grape insides have cooked down, you strain out the seeds while it is still hot. You can do that either of two ways: 1) use a food mill to remove them, or 2) just use a strainer, which is what we do. Make sure the strainer doesn’t have holes so big that the grape seeds can get through. Set up the strainer over a bowl, and dump the liquid through. The most liquid-y (yes, making up a word here) stuff will go through really fast, while the stuff that has a texture more like applesauce goes through slower. Stir it around to help it go down. The seeds will be left behind, but there always is pulpy stuff clinging to the seeds. Just keep stirring it around till as much of it as possible goes through; it’s impossible to get it perfect. (A fact I always ignore, since I always try to get it perfect and every last bit of pulpy stuff down.)
After I cooked down the insides when I made it, it was so liquidy (like juice) that I was concerned it was too liquidy, like maybe I had cooked it down too much. The pies came out fine, though. I think it was so liquidy because the grapes were SO ripe, they turned into juice a lot faster than they would normally.
Now you should roll out the pie dough. Cut your ball of pie dough in half – one half for the top crust, one half for the bottom. Sprinkle some flour on your working area. Lightly flour the rolling pin you will be using, too. Roll the chunk of dough in the flour to lightly coat it with flour; this just helps keep it from sticking. Make the dough into a circular shape with your hands, and press on it to flatten it slightly. This is just getting the starting-shape for rolling it out. Begin rolling it out, rolling from the center towards the edges in each direction. Keep rolling, making sure that the thickness in the center of the dough gets spread out evenly, till it looks a little larger than your pie pan. Keep sprinkling a little more flour if the dough starts sticking to the table or the rolling pin. (Sometimes the pie pastry comes out more sticky than others.)
Hold your pie pan upside-down over it to check. The dough should extend about 1 1/2 inches beyond the edge of the pan, so that there is a little extra for folding the crust down. As for transferring it into the pan, I think sometimes I’ve been able to just pick it up and put it in, “easy as pie”. 😉 Other times, you’ll need to fold it to keep it from breaking apart. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough to keep it from sticking, and fold it in half. Again, sprinkle a little more flour, and fold it in half again the other direction. Place that in the pie pan, and unfold it.
Roll out your upper crust (or if you want, assemble the pie filling first); the upper crust should be a little larger than the pie pan, too, but not quite as big as the bottom crust. (It’s not rocket science, though. 😉 )
Also, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. (Grape pies bake at a higher temperature than other pies, to keep the crust from getting soggy.)
Now, combine the grape pie filling ingredients! Get a big bowl – big enough so that the liquid won’t splash out when you stir it. First, put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl, and stir them together. (If you add the flour later, it will clump up.) Then dump in the grape insides and the grape skins. Stir together. Ahhh . . . looking yummy! Stir in the lemon juice.
Fold the edges of crust over, (where it is hanging over the pan) and crimp it with your fingers if you wish. You may want to trim the overhanging crust before you fold it over. Since the crust is never rolled out perfectly, usually there is too much overhanging in some spots which you have to cut off. Most of the edges of the crust come from the bottom crust, which had that extra length so that you could fold it down to make the crust. I forgot to take a picture of this part too – oops! I was too busy trying to hurry up and get the pies in the oven so that we wouldn’t be having them at 10:00 at night.
Next, stick in the oven preheated for 425 degrees! Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The crust should be getting golden-brown when it is done. Err on the side of less-done, because over-baked crust is more dry and not as tasty. Since I was doing six pies, I had to put three on an upper rack, and three on a bottom rack, and switch them around halfway through. They don’t cook as fast when there are so many in the oven at once, because there isn’t as good air circulation. (That’s why the racks can’t be too close together.) The ones on the bottom rack’s bottom crusts cook faster, while the ones on the top brown at the top faster.
Now, eat and enjoy!! You can let it cool first if you want . . . some people in our house aren’t so big on waiting, being impatient to eat them. The pies will be rather messy – not firm – but not “liquid-y” anymore, because of the flour you added. The next day, when they’re completely cool, they will be more firm.
Here is the recipe we use for making pie dough:
Sally’s Pie Pastry:
Note: This recipe makes 5 crusts, enough for two pies with a bottom and top crust each plus one crust more. Kind of an inconvenient amount, I know. I would scale it down, except it’s hard to scale down “1 egg”. You can freeze the extra to use later.
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
2 teaspoons vinegar
Stir together flour and salt. Measure out the shortening and cut in with a butter knife. The shortening should be in lumps from pea size to marble size, with no dry flour left. (see Cadie’s Note below.)
Mix the egg in a 1 cup liquid measuring cup. Add the vinegar and enough water to make one cup. Pour the liquid into the flour/shortening mixture until evenly moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill 3 hours or overnight. This is supposed to make 5 single crusts, but my mom says she has rolled it extra thin and used the scraps, and managed to get 8 crusts from it. When rolling out, use a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover for best results. Dust the ball of dough before rolling out. You can make the crust with part whole wheat flour.