We Gourmandistanis are quite the fans of Concord grapes. However, feeling it rude to shove our noses into the neatly closed boxes on offer at a farmers’ market, we failed to discover how un-aromatic some recently-purchased “Concords” were until we returned home. While the flavor of the purple globes was fine, they lacked the deep purple sheen, leathery skin and profound smell of true Concord grapes. It may be that folks around here describe every homegrown purple grape as a Concord. Nonetheless, Michelle decided to proceed with her version of this Martha Stewart Concord grape jam tart. We enjoyed it over several days, finding ourselves comparing it to a debatable “pastry” that debuted during our childhoods, the Pop-Tart®.Introduced in the 1960s, Pop-Tarts were billed by The Kellogg Company as “tasty, tender pastries … ready-filled with … luscious flavor” that could be enjoyed directly from their factory-sealed envelopes or warm from the toaster. The Concord Grape version was added in 1966, and Pop-Tarts are now available in over 25 varieties including Strawberry Milkshake and Gone Nutty!™ Frosted Chocolate Peanut Butter. Steve remembers dusty, tasteless, cardboard-stiff “snacks” pulled from cupboards in friends’ kitchens, their flavor not improved by toasters or (God forbid) the microwave ovens that arrived soon thereafter. Michelle sheepishly admits to a youthful fondness for (unfrosted) Brown Sugar Cinnamon ones, if toasted and slathered with butter.
Fortunately, the only things Michelle’s tart had in common with Kellogg’s pastry were the double crust and its longevity. Even Michelle, who usually tires of her sweet creations after at most 24 hours, enjoyed this tart (reheated in the oven) for days after it was originally baked. A Pop-Tart hasn’t been seen in Gourmandistan for many years, if ever. But even if they’re mislabeled, whenever we see locally-grown purple grapes we’ll make this tart again.
GRAPE JAM TART
(adapted from marthastewart.com)
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 8 oz. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 c. ice water
Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow stream until mixture just begins to hold together. Shape dough into a large disk, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.
In the meantime, make the jam.
- 1-1/2 pounds Concord grapes, stems removed
- 3 TB lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
Combine grapes and lemon juice in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes, until grapes release their juices. You can hasten juicing by pressing with a potato masher. Strain through a fine sieve (there should be about 2 cups of juice).
Return juice to saucepan. Stir in sugar and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 220° F on a candy thermometer. Transfer jam to a bowl, and let cool, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate once cooled.
Have ready a 9-1/2 or 10″ tart pan with a removable bottom (preferably a straight-edged rather than fluted pan).
Cut dough in half and shape each half into a thick disk. Lightly flour a large piece of waxed paper. Roll out one disk to a circle an inch about 11″ in diameter. Place the tart pan upside down atop the rolled out dough and cut around with a sharp knife, removing the excess. Place the waxed paper with the dough on it onto a baking sheet. Using a small round cookie cutter (about 1″), randomly cut out 10 or 12 circles from the dough. (Or, if you’re feeling really crafty, make the grape pattern shown in Martha’s recipe.) Place the baking sheet with the dough on it in the freezer.
Roll out the remaining disk of dough on another piece of floured waxed paper to about 11″ in diameter. Fit into the tart pan. Trim edges of dough flush with the top of the pan, building them up and over the sides of the pan just a tiny bit. Place in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375° F, with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- 1 egg, beaten
- Turbinado sugar
Spread the jam over dough in tart pan. Brush top edge of dough with egg. Slide remaining dough round on top and press edges to seal. Brush top crust with egg, then generously sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Return to freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Bake tart for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and gently tap pan on counter to release air bubbles. Return to oven, and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool, then remove ring from tart pan.
Serve with vanilla or honey ice cream. Leftover pieces of tart warm up beautifully in a 350° F oven.