Shana Tova from Israel! I am here for the year, studying and touring and eating lots of good food. I won’t be posting very often, but I’ll pop in once in a while to share a recipe or two and a couple of pictures and updates from this beautiful country.
While I love lots of things about Israel, I have to admit that I miss Fall. Here in Israel, it’s still quite hot (it was 100 degrees just two days ago!) and in general, while it cools off eventually, Israel doesn’t have the sharply defined seasons I am used to. I find myself craving fall in New York, and craving it deeply: the crisp air in the morning, the sunshine filtering through the slowly shedding branches, the delightfully crunchy ochre and ruby leaves, and perhaps most of all, the beguiling mix of late summer and early autumn produce. Which brings us here. To this giant, Concord grape stuffed hand pie. Concord grapes, if you haven’t had the pleasure, are one of the season’s jewels: with tart skins and sweet insides, they’re so intensely grape-y that they’re reminiscent of wine. They’re only around for a month or two, so I like to use them as much as I can when they’re here. These grapes are just as good for snacking as they are for baking (although be warned that they are seeded) but when do I leave good enough alone? Here, I turned the grapes into a quick jam and tucked that jam between my pie dough, which, already flaky, rises to new heights when it’s unfettered by the heavy weight of a fruity pie. This is a fun, delicious hand pie made for sharing and splitting between friends. Go ahead! Indulge in autumn while you can.
Yield: one big hand pie, yielding 12 medium pieces or 6 large ones
Why I love this recipe: here, my favorite flaky pie dough envelops a quick and simple concord grape jam. It puffs grandly in the oven and slices nicely into little squares for a handheld, intensely grape-y treat.
For the galette crust:
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 stick frozen butter
- 1/2 stick cold butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 ounces water
For the concord grape jam filling:
- 2 cups (around 1 lb.) concord grapes, washed and pitted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for the egg wash
- raw sugar, for sprinkling
- To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers to cut in the stick of cold butter until it is the size of peas.
- Then, cut in the frozen butter, leaving it in bigger, visible pieces. Grab handfuls of the flour/butter mixture and rub them between your hands to create long sheets of butter throughout the dough.
- Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix the water into the flour until just combined.
- If the dough seems dry, add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. Press the dough together, form into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill the dough overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425º. Remove the dough from the freezer and let it warm up slightly on the counter if from the fridge, or defrost if from the freezer.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. On the stove-top in a small pot over medium heat, combine the pitted grapes (and their skins, if any slipped off), the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt.
- Bring the mixture to a low boil and stir for around five minutes, until it begins to thicken. Add in the cornstarch, give it a good stir, and let it bubble and thicken on a low boil for another 4-5 minutes.
- Let the grape jam cool completely and meanwhile, on a floured piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a 6×6″ rectangle.
- Trim the ragged edges. Reroll them into one square and cut a few little circles, one stem and two leaves.
- Spread the cooled filling on one half of the dough rectangle leaving a 1″ border on the sides. Brush the border with the egg wash.
- Lift the uncovered half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges by pressing them lightly together, or use the tines of a fork. Using the parchment, transfer the pie to a baking sheet.
- Brush the top of the dough with the remaining egg wash quickly transfer to the cut out circles, stem and leaves to the top of the pie, forming a cluster of grapes. Brush the grape cluster with egg wash and sprinkle the whole thing with raw sugar.
- Bake until golden brown and set, about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly before slicing.