Grapes are in season during the fall, but don’t get used as much in baking as some other end of summer and fall fruits. Grapes can actually be a fantastic fruit to bake with because they have a lot of natural sugar, so they become very tender and especially sweet when they are cooked. In these Plum and Black Grape Hand Pies, I combined fresh plums and grapes for a pie filling that has a deep flavor that matches its deep purple color.
Black grapes are a type of grape whose name comes from the color of its skin – just like red and green grapes. Also like red and green grapes, the name is quite broad and there are many different varieties of grapes that can be described as black grapes. These grapes tend to have a richer sweetness than some red and green grapes, which is perfect for baking. I always bake with seedless grapes because it makes my life much easier, but if you only have seed-in grapes, you can simply remove them with a pairing knife before beginning.
Neither the grapes nor the plums need to be peeled before baking. Both fruits have very thin skins that add a lot of color to the filling, but won’t take anything away from the tender texture of the fruits. The grapes can be used whole, while the plums should be sliced into smaller pieces. I usually dice mine when making hand pies because it makes them easier to shape than with larger slices of fruit. The finished pies have a fantastic, sweet filling that will make you wonder why you don’t bake with grapes more often. Both fruits become very tender during baking and contrast nicely with the crispy, buttery pie crust enclosing it. These pies are best served the day they are made, but can also be stored in an airtight container, where they will keep for another two or three days.
Plum and Black Grape Hand Pies
dough for two 9-inch pie crusts (recipe below)
2 1/2 cups diced plums (approx 5 plums)
2 cups black grapes
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine diced plums, grapes, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla and toss until fruit is well coated.
Working with one piece of the crust at a time, roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface int a rough rectangle until it is no more than 1/8-inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 6 rectangles. Transfer dough pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining piece of dough.
Place about 1/4 cup of filling onto half of each rectangle, leaving about 1/2-inch of dough around the outside edges. Brush edges of the dough with a little water, then fold over the extra dough to cover the filling. Use a fork to seal the edge of the pie.
Refrigerate pies for 20 minutes.
Brush pies with a the tablespoon of milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cut 2-3 vents in the top of each pie with a sharp knife.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Makes 12 pies
All Butter Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
10-12 tbsp ice water
Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in butter with your fingertips, pressing it into the flour mixture and breaking it up, until mixture resemble very coarse sand and no pieces larger than a large pea remain. Using a fork, stir in ice water until dough almost comes together into a ball. Press dough into a ball with your hands and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 60 minutes before using.