Sunday, November 2, 2008

Keep Your Eye On The Pies

If you have ever tasted a Concord grape pie, you can attest to the fact that the flavor lives on in your memory, long after you have wiped the last crumb from your lips.

My first memory of pie made with grapes dates back more than 20 years. I was on a wine tour in the New York State Finger Lakes region. And, as I was driving through the country side, I was surprised to see that the roads were dotted with various sizes of roadside stands, orchards, vineyards and farmers, each displaying their prized offerings. One of the stands I passed posted a sign that read, “Homemade Concord Grape Pies”. I thought, “Grape pie, what would that taste like?” So I turned around and drove back to the stand and bought a pie. Needless to say, I have been hooked ever since.

The recipe for a grape pie requires patience. You must process the grapes to ensure a seedless and skinless filling, and it is arduous to say the least. This process has always been a major deterrent to making this sumptuous treat at home. But this is no longer the case. Instead, Blackman Homestead Farm has done the tedious work for me.

Last winter while shopping at the Wintermarket on Elmwood , I was introduced to the people at the Blackman Homestead Farm stand. I read in their literature that since 1852, Blackman Homestead Farm has been owned and operated by six generations of the Blackman family. The farm is located in Western New York on the picturesque Niagara Escarpment, a region known for its unique fruit growing characteristics. Blackman Homestead Farm offers several fruit butters that would be great on toast, or paired with cheeses. They also make apple sauces blended with other fruits for use along side meats, or served with pancakes for breakfast.

As I looked over their many nicely packaged items I was surprised to find a 32oz. jar of Concord Grape Pie Filling & Topping. I purchased it immediately with the intention of using it in a number of ways. I could use it as a topping for cheesecake, or served with pancakes or waffles, or to fill the center of a peanut butter thumb print cookie. Certainly I could pour it into a pie shell for a wonderful grape pie, or do as I did, spoon it into ramekins and sprinkle with a crumb topping for a rich and simple dessert. The ingredients are as simple as could be, they are listed on the jar as: Concord grapes, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, we look forward to the deserts that follow our home cooked meals. A Concord grape pie is the perfect addition to the traditional holiday baked goods we expect to find.

And it makes a great hostess gift!

Blackman Homestead Farm
4472 Thrall Road
Lockport,New York 14094
Phone/fax 716.434.7116

No comments: