Concord grapes are one of fall’s glories in Western New York, yet they don’t appear on many restaurant menus. One of the exceptions is Torches (1141 Kenmore Ave., Kenmore).
There, owner and pastry chef Cynthia Richert bakes little one-person Concord tarts, served with berries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Dolci ($7).
One of the reasons Concord grapes aren’t more popular as an ingredient is they’re labor intensive, said Richert. To make her grape filling, she squeezes the pulp out of grapes one at a time, into a pot, and saves the skins.
The pulp is simmered for a few minutes, to soften the globules, then pushed through a strainer to catch the seeds.
Her tart crust is enriched with cream cheese. She fashions a crumble topping out of flour, sugar and almond paste, the stuff used to make marzipan.
Then she adds sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, cornstarch and butter, and she whisks it all together to make a fruity filling. She carefully layers grape skins on top of the tart crust, then ladles in the filling.
“I bake it for a few minutes until it gets a little crust on top of the filling, so I can put that crumble topping on it and it’ll stay afloat,” she said. If you don’t, it’ll disappear, she added with a chuckle. “It’s gone wrong a few times.”
As long as the Concords are in the market, she’ll buy more and freeze them.
“It is sort of depressing when I make that final batch,” Richert said. “I did try a product from a place in the Southern Tier, but it’s not same.”
For more information, call 447-7915 or visit www.torches1141.com.
Foodie find: St. Peter’s roast pork dinner. All-you-can eat buffet dinner includes roast pork, potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, homemade desserts and beverages from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday in St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church (4169 Church Road, Cambria). For eat-in customers, it’s $9, $5 for children 6 to 12, free for ages 5 and younger. Takeout is available. For more information, call 433-9014.