The pastry is made with pate brisée, a classic French pastry made rich with butter, perfect to offset the sweetness of the grapes. Pate brisée is easy to work with, but needs to rest and chill before using to keep a flaky texture.
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- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold, cut into small cubes
- 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 5 cups seedless red and/or green grapes, halved
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar; whisk together to mix. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add 4 tablespoons ice water, mixing until all the flour is moistened and forms a ball. Add the additional one tablespoon of water (or a little more) if necessary. It is better to have the dough too wet than too dry. If the dough is too dry it will be difficult to roll out. If you feel you have added too much water, add a little more flour.
- Gently pat dough into a 6 inch disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
- On a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the chilled pastry from the center out into a circle about 8 or 9 inches in diameter. Gently pick the pastry up, lightly re-flour the work surface, and replace the pastry upside down. Continue rolling the pastry into a 12 to 14 inch diameter circle.
- Transfer the pastry to a 9 inch pie pan; gently press the pastry to the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Trim the pastry to a ½ inch overhang all around. Fold the edge of the dough under and press down gently around the rim to seal the edge. Leave the border plain for a rustic look or crimp as desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate pie shell until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out the pastry scraps to a ⅛ inch thickness. Using a 2 inch star cookie cutter, cut out about 10 stars for the grape leaves. Tip: Dip the edges of the cookie cutter in flour before each cut to prevent the dough from sticking to the cutter. Place the stars on a flat plate or cookie sheet. Use remaining pastry scraps and shape several small balls for the grape clusters. Place on the cookie sheet, cover stars and balls with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice; stir to combine. Add the grapes and toss to coat them with the sugar mixture. Let the filling sit for 5 to 10 minutes to let the grape juices develop and the cornstarch dissolve. Spoon the grape mixture into the chilled pie shell.
- Arrange the chilled stars and balls on top of the filling to form two grape clusters.
- Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes to chill. Chilling the pie before baking helps to maintain a flaky crust and relaxes the pastry to help prevent it from shrinking while it bakes.
- While pie is refrigerating, preheat oven to 425 degrees F, allowing 15 to 20 minutes for the oven to preheat before baking.
- Remove pie from refrigerator. In a small bowl whisk together the egg white and water with a fork. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg white mixture over the pastry grape clusters and fluted edges, sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake: Line a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Place pie on the baking sheet and transfer to the oven.
- Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F. Bake an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until the juices are thick and bubbling and the crust is a golden brown. Rotate the pan during baking if necessary for even browning. Tip: During baking, if crust is getting too brown, loosely place a piece of foil over the top to prevent the crust from over-browning.
- Remove pie from oven. Cool completely on a wire cooling rack before cutting and serving. Tip: let the pie cool at least 4 hours to allow the juices to thicken. Otherwise the juices will be very liquid and will flow out of the crust when it is cut.
Daley, Regan, In the Sweet Kitchen, Artisan, New York, 2001