My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

First Harvest and Nanny's Grape Pie

Hello Everyone
I spent some time this past weekend out in the potager...

image from Pinterest

One of my favorite places on earth!

this picture was taken a few years ago...but I still love it!

I was collecting grapes from our very first harvest!

Our vines were actually planted 4 years ago but this was the first year I was able to get enough grapes to harvest!
I was so excited about this years crop. I only wish Nanny was here to share it with me.
Nanny was my husbands precious grandmother, she was the most amazing gardener...
I have ever known.
She was all of 4 foot and the sweetest little lady you would care to meet.
She planted, not by the day of the month, but by the way she felt in her joints. She showed you how deep to plant by using her fingers "About this deep honey" and she would bend her tiny knuckles. She was my greatest mentor and I was very close to her. She past away 3 years ago at the age of 93, just before planting season. (Probably needed to tend a greater garden!)
It was Nanny who told me which varieties to plant, how to plant them, and when they could be picked.
She also shared a family recipe which I got to use for the very first time!
I thought I would share it with you as well.

After my grapes were washed and removed from the stems, I started the arduous task of removing the pulp.
The trick is to pinch them at the opposite end of where the stem was attached.
I began to fill my pan  with the pulp...

And the bowl with the skins.

This was quite time consuming and sticky!
While I worked, I thought of Nanny and how much love she put into everything she did. How many hours she spent between her garden and kitchen; and the work it took to "put up" her gardens bounty and make this pie for so many of those she cared for.
At one point during this process, I told my sweet hubby..."You were much loved!"
You see, Nanny made this pie every year for my husbands birthday!
After a few hours, I was able to get the 5 1/2 cups of grapes skinned and put the pulp on to boil.
I let it come to a full boil for about 8 minutes.
Next, I needed to remove the seeds from the just cooked pulp, I don't have a food mill so, I used the screen colander method. Very messy!
Next, I poured the hot pulp over the skins and let the mixture set for about 5 hours! Yikes!
But this step is what gives it color and softens the skins some.

While I waited...I worked on another project that I will share later on  in the week; but here's a sneak peak.

Just after dinner, I added the required sugar and tapioca. Now this is where it got confusing. You see, the grapes were already very sweet and very juicy. I didn't want to make it too sweet but needed it to "firm up" a little... I only added a 1/4 cup of what was "suggested" and stuck with the tapioca required.( I should have added more tapioca! :) It wasn't as firm as I would have liked....but delicious none less!

Nanny always made her own crust...this is not my I bought mine but used the old deep dish pie plate and didn't get fancy with it. Nanny never did and it was always amazing. she also did what she called a floating crust. This allowed a ring around the edges for the juices to escape.
I then placed it in the oven for 400 degrees for 15 minute and then lowered the temperature to 350 for an additional 20 minutes.
My notes said "until the juices start to bubble" .

This is how looked just as I started to cut it. ( I almost forgot to take this last picture, oops!)

There you have it...Nanny's Grape Pie. It's best served warm with vanilla ice cream~

Pop the skins off of the grapes; set them aside.
Put the pulp in a heavy pan, bring to a boil letting it boil for about 6 to 10 minutes.
Put the pulp through a  screen colander or food mill to remove seeds.
Pour hot pulp over the skins and let this sit for  at least 5 hours. 
Add sugar and tapioca, then pour into a pie crust and dot with butter.
Put on the top crust, we used the floated top method (a circle of dough slightly smaller than the pie)
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minute and then, lower the temp. to 350 and bake another 20 minute or until the juices are bubbly and the top is browned.

Serve with warm with vanilla ice cream.

Now, until I tried Nanny's Grape Pie...I had not even heard of such a thing! I wasn't even sure what I thought about trying it. Just one bite...was all it took and I too was a fan of this pie. It was always made as a labor of love and given to those she loved and cared for...pretty much everyone who had ever met her!
It  is  now a treasured family recipe, one that I hope to hand down as well...and share with those I love...
Have a blessed week...I'm off to paint!


  1. Hi, Donna -
    The paint on your staircase is awesome. Can't wait to see more....very cool! Geez, I hope I make it to 93. I would have loved to chat gardening with Nanny. It's the best way to learn....from other gardeners. Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe :-)

  2. Donna- I have never heard of grape pie! Who knew this was possible? I am sure that there is a big hole in your heart as you miss hubby' grandmother. The blessing is that what she shared with you leaves you with lots of sweet memories. Blessings to you- xo Diana ps...can't wait to see your whole project-

  3. Donna,
    My mouth is watering for a piece of that pie...YUM! How cool to have grown your own grapes too! What a beautiful staircase.I can't wait to hear how you did that!

  4. Love this post... only wish I could have met her! She must have died just before I came there for the first time.
    Mom and Cindy got in yesterday and Sarah and Savannah leave today along with Cindy's daughter Brenda. (Brenda heads south - Sarah north.) Jody left Sunday. Did Kane but the girls set up because I had been down with vertigo. It's been a wild week!
    Blessings to you... enjoy your pie!

  5. Donna,
    It's only recent that I have heard of grape pie. How wonderful that you were able to harvest enough to make Nanny's recipe! Your potager is most beautiful and a reflection of her inspiration.

    The stairs are also a labor of love!
    Have a wonderful day, my friend!

  6. I would love to try this pie but I can guarantee you I don't have the patience to take the skins off all those grapes. So I'll just go sew something and pretend I never heard of such a thing as a delicious grape pie!!

  7. Now THAT'S a pie with heart and soul in it. What a wonderful story. His grandmother sounds like the coolest lady ever. I loved you telling about her showing how deep to plant by her finger joints... and can you believe all the work it took to make that pie, even planting the seeds and waiting for the grapes to mature. What a wonderful tribute to her and meditation on her you did by making that pie from her old recipe...


  8. Donna, I never knew you could make pies from grapes. I am amazed. It looks so good. Hope your husband enjoyed it:):) Smiles, xo, Susie

  9. Donna - I absolutely loved this post! AWWW - it sounds like she was an amzing woman , full of love for he family - precious .
    What a nice little tribute to her ~ and an honor to her to make the pie . I also have never heard of grape pie!
    I bet it brought back great memories to your husband! What a great wife your are!
    Have a pretty day!

  10. I have never heard of grape pie. LOVED this post! And can't wait to see more of those amazing stairs!!

  11. Oh my... that pie! Nothing is better than a homemade pie.
    And I really want to see more that project.

  12. I'd never even heard of grape pie until now - it looks and sounds delicious! Those stairs look fabulous!


Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment!
I love reading them~they truly make my day!
~Donna Reyné