Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Grape Cream Pie

Here it is; I’d been wanting to try this recipe for a while, and yeah, it was pretty darn good. It was perfect on Memorial Day, when we didn’t want to have the oven on for long, and the chill of this dessert was especially welcome.

It’s a lot like lemon meringue pie, only topped with whipped cream instead of meringue, and made with grape juice instead of being flavored entirely with lemon. And there are no eggs.

An old friend of mine got me hooked on grape pies—the traditional kind, double-crust, made with concords that have been skinned and deseeded, and then you add the skins back to the deseeded pulp—which is a whole lot of labor. This following grape pie is much simpler but is just as gloriously purple.

It’s so simple, it could easily be one of those “first recipes” a young person learns.

As I mentioned in the previous post, this recipe comes from the 1949 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cook Book, ed. Dorothy B. Marsh (New York: Rinehart, 1949), page 730.

The comments in brackets are mine; sorry, I can’t resist it.

Grape Cream Pie

1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablesp. cornstarch
1/4 teasp. salt
1 tablesp. grated lemon rind
1/2 teasp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups grape juice
1 tablesp. lemon juice
1 baked 9˝ pie shell [the book gives that recipe on p. 727]
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped [the basic deal; freeze/chill the bowl and the beaters, and just before serving, whip it with a tablespoon of sugar and a few drops of vanilla]

Combine first 5 ingredients in saucepan [which is to say, blend together the dry ingredients first; the cornstarch will mix in better with the grape juice if you do]. Stir in grape juice and cook, stirring, over low heat until a small amount mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon [this cornstarch transformation is way cool, if you’ve never done this before; it’s, like, “Wow, man”]. Add lemon juice. Cool; chill until very thick. Meanwhile, make and bake pie shell; cool. Spoon chilled grape mixture into pie shell; chill. Top with cream. Makes 1 9˝ pie.

Now, I don’t know why you couldn’t make the pie, chill it thoroughly, and then slather a meringue on it and toast the meringue peaks quickly in the oven, then rechill, thus making “Grape Meringue Pie.” But the whipped cream was good, too. (It always is, isn’t it?)

You’ll have to try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Next, I plan to use this same technique using some other juice or beverage. Apricot juice, perhaps? Or fresh carrot juice, plus spices? That would be neat. Or do you think elderberry wine would work? . . . Ooh la la.

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