A few years ago my wife and I went out grape picking at a local “U-Pick” farm. The farm offered a variety of u-pick options, including raspberries and a number of different apples along with the grapes. We enjoyed ourselves, filling pint after pint of raspberries, a couple basketfuls of apples, and way more grapes than we could possibly use. The apples were turned into Apple Butter, pie filling, Apple Dumplings while the raspberries were all turned into jam including my favorite – Raspberry Jalapeno Jam. With the grapes, my wife canned our own grape juice and a couple varieties of grape jelly, but we were still left with a considerable amount of grapes, way more than we would eat, fresh, before they went bad. Wanda searched through cookbooks, and surfed the web for grape recipes and happened upon a number of recipes for Concord Grape Pie. Neither of us had ever heard of it, but it sounded interesting, if not a little time consuming so Wanda whipped up a pie and we fell in love with it. A Concord Grape Pie is like everything good about grape jelly and grape juice but none of the other’s downsides. The pie is sweet, but nicely balanced by a tartness that is provided by using the skins. It is also very “grapey” but not overwhelmingly so. Now when we go grape picking we make sure to pick more than we need and get our fill of Grape Pie during harvest. We also freeze a quite a few pounds of the little purple spheres so that we can enjoy a Concord Grape Pie anytime of year.

I am someone who believes that any fruit pie is best served with ice cream. That being the case, the first few times Wanda made grape pies we ate it with vanilla ice cream. While this proved to be a good pairing (and what fruit pie isn’t enhanced by a scoop of vanilla ice cream?), I began to think that I could come up with better. What is the ultimate kid inspired pairing? Peanut butter and jelly, so why not serve peanut butter ice cream along side this pie instead of vanilla. It’s not easy to find straight up peanut butter ice cream. Most of it is peanut butter cup or some other mix of chocolate and peanut butter. While not bad, I really wanted an ice cream with just peanut butter to create the Ultimate PB&J’s.

Each of the recipes below are wonderful on their own, but I hope that you try them together for a great adult take on a kid favorite. One thing to take note of; the recipe calls for peeling the grapes. Don’t worry, Concord grape are not like the standard table grapes which are very difficult to peel. To peel Concord grapes just squeeze them between your thumb and finger, the skins should slip off. Don’t discard the skins as you will be adding them back to the grape puree.

Concord Grape Pie

1 each Pie crust for a 9 inch pie
1 1/2 pounds Concord Grapes (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup Sugar
1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
For Topping:
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter

Line pie plate with crust and set aside. Remove skins from grapes (see note above), setting skins aside and place grape pulp into a nonreactive saucepan. Bring pulp to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pass through a strainer to remove all the seeds then add the skins back into the puree. In a large bowl combine sugar, flour and salt. Mix well then add the grape mixture and the butter. Mix well again then pour into prepared pie shell. Cover edges with foil to prevent over browning and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile make the crumb topping by mixing together the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove the pie from the oven. Remove the foil edging and sprinkle crumb mixture over pie. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool completely and set before cutting and serving.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

3 cups 1/2 and 1/2
3 each Eggs, large
1 cup Sugar
2/3 cup Peanut Butter
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 pinch Salt

Heat 1 cup of the 1/2 and 1/2 over medium heat. Meanwhile combine the eggs and sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. When 1/2 and 1/2 comes to a simmer pour 1/3 of it into the the egg mixture to temper the eggs, stir and add the egg mixture back into the sauce pan. Stirring constantly, over medium heat, cook the custard mixture until it thickens slightly and just starts to steam. Don’t overcook or you will curdle the eggs. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter and salt. Stir until they are dissolved. Pour into a large bowl and add the remaining 1/2 and 1/2. Place in the refrigerator to chill then freeze in an ice cream machine, following the manufacturer’s instructions. When done scrape into a container, cover and freeze until hardened.