Friday, August 17, 2012

Lavender Champagne Grape Pie Bites

Lavender Grape Pie Bites

I sort of disconnected myself from the internets the past week and half or so in an attempt to savor the remnants of summer. Especially since the weather has been perfect post-torrential-downpours. So I've been spending time with my kitten, rediscovering my exercise routine, clearing out my kitchen and closet, and getting my act together, so to speak. I like to start a new (and final!) school year with a clean house and clear mind.

Last weekend, my mom visited and brought with her the Texas sunshine, minus the Texas heat. We hit all the high points food-wise, including my favorite farmers market, and did a little shopping, a bit of Olympics watching, and lots of balcony wine drinking and gossiping. It was pretty much perfect, although far too short.

Ah, summer, how I wish I could dip my toes in thee forever.

Grape Pie Bites

After making scones with champagne grapes, I still had quite a few left and wanted so badly to bake with them again. I began making a lavender dough with the idea of a grape galette but then decided that the grapes might not fare well when it came to slicing the finished product. Thus, something mini seemed to be in order.

I wasn't really sure what to call these. They taste like little bites of pie to me--light, flaky crust and soft, fruity center--so, naturally, I shall call them pie bites.

Grape Pie Bites

The grapes bake up whole like sweet juicy raisins and burst open in your mouth in the most delightful way. The hint of lavender in the crust adds a lovely, unassuming floral note that pairs nicely with the fresh sweetness of the fruit.

I suppose you could add a top crust and pinch it with the bottom crust and have a little hand pie, but these just look so lovely with the haphazard pile of grapes atop, don't you think?

Grape Pie Bites

Lavender Champagne Grape Pie Bites
makes 14-16 bites

Lavender Cream Cheese Pie Crust (recipe below)
approx. 8 oz. champagne grapes
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
flour for dusting
1 egg
2 Tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, gently stir the grapes, sugar, and vanilla until the grapes are evenly coated.

Once the dough has chilled, roll it out to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Use a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out as many circles possible. Gather the scraps, re-roll, and cut out more circles. Place circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Whisk together the egg and water and brush a thin layer over each circle of dough. Strain grape mixture and discard liquid. Place 1 Tbsp. of the grapes into the center of each circle of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border of dough around the edges. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown and puffed on the edges. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Lavender Cream Cheese Pie Crust
adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon

120 g all purpose flour, plus more to bring the dough together
2 1/2 tsp. dried culinary lavender
large pinch salt
85 g butter, cold and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
113 g cream cheese, cold and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 Tbsp. cold water
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Whisk together flour, lavender, and salt. Cut in the butter and cream cheese until mixture is grainy. Add the water and vinegar and knead just until the mixture comes together and a dough forms. Add additional teaspoons of flour to bring the dough together if necessary. Pat the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.

Grape Pie Bites