It took fall a while to get here, but now it’s the real deal.

Farmer’s market vendors are full of apples, and pears, and root vegetables are showing up gnarly as ever. But there is one stand that catches my eye at the market each week without fail: Morren Orchard. Every week, we claw our way to the front of the line to get their apple cider. Every week, I stare at their beautiful arrangement of concord grapes and pears and think to myself, I need this in my life.

Concord Grape Mini Pies and Pear Cardamom Mini Pies | Things I Made TodayA few weeks ago, the timing was right, so I took a quart of both home with me. Then I immediately regretted not buying more, because I desperately wanted to make a concord grape pie, but I didn’t have enough grapes. I desperately wanted to make a pear pie too, but still, not enough fruit. So I did the only reasonable thing you can do in this situation. I made both, miniature style.

Concord Grape Mini Pies and Pear Cardamom Mini Pies | Things I Made Today

I consider mini pies to basically be portion control. Baked in muffin tins, they are a perfect portion of pie delivered in a shape that demands you eat the whole thing. You cannot split a mini pie. It has the word “mini” in front of it so you should feel no shame eating it all.

Concord Grape Mini Pies and Pear Cardamom Mini Pies | Things I Made Today

I love the concord grape filling for it’s simplicity: grapes, lemon juice, and a tad bit of sugar (plus a little starch and butter to thicken it up). The hardest part of the concord grape filling is needing to peel each grape, which seems like an impossible feat until you realize that once you get into the groove of it, the pull-squeeze-drop motion becomes fluid and you can do the whole pound in under 10 minutes. The taste is so dense, so richly grape—I just can’t get enough of it.

Concord Grape Mini Pies and Pear Cardamom Mini Pies | Things I Made Today

You can, of course, double the grape recipe and have 12 mini concord grape pies. But then you’d be missing out on the wonder that is cardamom paired with pears. It’s a bit more sophisticated than the concord grape pie but still requires basically no work to pull together. If I had to choose a favorite, I’d lean towards pear, but it’s a tough call.

Concord Grape Mini Pies and Pear Cardamom Mini Pies | Things I Made Today

So yeah. I’m happy fall is here. I’m happy to not have enough ingredients for one pie and ending up with 12 mini pies. I’m happy I can wear long sweaters and cozy pants for the next couple of months. Because truth is—I’ll be making mini pies for the next couple of months, and I’m not going to regret a single moment of it.

Concord Grape Mini Pies and Pear Cardamom Mini Pies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 mini pies
 
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 2¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the concord grape filling:
  • 1 pound concord grapes
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
For the pear cardamom filling:
  • 1 pound bartlett pears, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
To make the dough:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cubes of butter and use your hands to work butter into flour, until a shaggy dough starts to form. Combine water and vinegar and add to dough. Knead dough until it comes together.
  2. Divide dough into two even pieces. Shape each into a disc and wrap in plastic. Chill for an hour while you make the filling.
To make the concord grape filling:
  1. Peel the grapes by using your fingers to squeeze the fruit out of its skin. Place skins in a bowl and grapes in a medium saucepan. Once grapes are peeled, use a wooden spoon to mash them a bit, then cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, bringing to a boil and stirring. Let cool slightly.
  2. Press grapes into a bowel through a fine mesh sieve to filter out the seeds. Transfer grape juice back to saucepan and add skins, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until grapes thicken. Set aside and let cool completely.
To make the pear cardamom filling:
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine pears, sugar, cardamom, lemon juice, cornstarch, and butter. Bring to a boil, and continue to stir until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside and let cool completely.
To make mini pies:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Remove first disc of dough from refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about ⅛ inch thickness. Use a 4½ - 5 inch round to cut out 6 circles of dough. You may need to re-roll scraps to get 6. Fit the dough circles into half the slots of a 12 cup muffin tin. Repeat process with second disc of dough. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes, or until fillings are cool.
  3. Once fillings are cool, scoop concord grape into 6 of the pie crusts and pear cardamom into the other 6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until filling is bubbly and dough starts to brown. Let cool completely before gently removing mini pies from muffin tin.

 

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