Since I sometimes get requests for this pie recipe, I thought I would publish it for the world here. This is a selection from a guidebook in progress called “Central Texas Urban Foraging” which I’ve been writing with Kim Hill of

  • 8-10 cups of unripened grapes
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • Salt
  • Rosé to taste
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Powdered sugar to taste (about a quarter cup)
  • 1 Pie crust

Of all the pies we’ve made, this one has the most enthusiastic fan base. 

Pick the mustang grapes while they’re still green, while the seeds are still undeveloped and pasty-white. Somewhere around gumball-sized. The earlier you pick them, the less intrusive the seeds are, but the less creamy the flesh of the grapes. We’ve made this recipe four times, at four different stages of the grape development, and each time has produced a wildly different pie. 

Pick about two large HEB tupperwares worth of green grapes. Once you’ve completely de-stemmed them, you’ll have about one large HEB tupperware filled to the brim, about 8-10 cups. Put about half of the grapes through a food processor, chopped up fine. Add the remaining grapes to the grape-slurry in a thick-bottomed pot. Mix in 3 cups of sugar. A dash of salt. Splash the mixture with a generous helping of rosé wine. This gives the pie a certain tang, but also helps the sugar melt.

Cook on the stovetop for a while, stirring occasionally. Keep it at boiling temperature until the chopped grape pieces are soft, and the whole grapes are infused with sugar. Maybe 20 minutes or so.  Follow your gut on this one, and take frequent test tastes.

When the mixture gets to a point that you like, take it off the heat. Pour about a third into a heavy bowl to cool it down from boiling. Mix in a full cup of corn starch, stirring until it becomes a fairly smooth paste. Then slowly pour the corn-starchy third back into the main pot, mix in thoroughly (this process prevents corn starch lumps). Then put it back on the heat at low and stir constantly until the pie filling has thickened to the consistency of hot tar. 

Pour the filling into a pie crust. I prefer an old family recipe for the pie crusts called Hill Country Fare-brand graham cracker crust. You can go the extra mile and make a graham cracker crust from scratch, but this is one occasion where no one will notice the crust. Cover the filling with a piece of cling wrap to keep it from developing a skin, put in the fridge overnight or until it’s cooled. Once cooled, that cup of corn starch should be enough to keep any slice standing on end and not glooping once you remove it from the pie tin. 

Top with whipped cream. HEB-brand heavy whipping cream, very lightly sweetened with powdered sugar will give good results. It’s the densest, richest, most decadent whipped cream out there. 

The pie taste is reminiscent of rhubarb. Nice and sour like a pie should be.