When I ate a Concord grape for the first time I understood in an instant why purple colored candy is flavored in that distinct way. It was the same reaction I had when I tasted sour cherries. What seemed like an exaggeration of the actual fruit was somehow based in reality. Concord grapes are a treat in season only for a short time in the beginning of autumn, but they are so magical that all violet hued candy is based on that single variety. I stock up each week at the farmers market to enjoy them fresh despite the seeds or to make enough grape jam to last until early next summer when the cycle of fruits perfect for preserving begins again.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are my absolute favorite food, and slathering the bread with homemade jam makes them even more irresistible. I baked a Concord grape tart with a peanut crumble topping as an homage to my beloved sandwich. The sweet crust pastry was filled with a generous layer of grape jam made from scratch. The subtly salty peanuts balanced the sweetness of the jam and added a contrasting crunchiness. I brought the tart to a get-together last weekend, and I was lucky to snag the last piece from the jam-stained plate. The tart was a big hit. I must not be the only fan of the classic PBJ.
Makes 1 10-inch tart
For grape jam
1-1/2 pounds Concord grapes
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1/4 cup semolina
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For peanut crumble
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the grape jam, slip the grapes out of their skins and separate the flesh from the skins. Puree the grape skins in a food processor or blender with 3/4 cup sugar. Transfer the puree, grape flesh, remaining sugar and lemon juice to a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Carefully push the jam through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl to remove the seeds and any skin. Let the jam cool completely before assembling tart. (The jam can be made up to 1 week in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
For the dough, combine the flour, semolina and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract and add the dry ingredients mixing until just combined. Pat the dough into a 1-inch thick disk, cover in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
For the peanut crumble, in a medium bowl, combine the peanuts, flour, brown sugar and salt. Stir in the melted butter.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm slightly. On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick and large enough to fit a 10-inch diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and trim the excess. (Extra dough can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.)
Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork. Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes and remove the foil and weights.
Spread the jam into the crust and top with the peanut crumble. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the crust and peanuts are golden brown.
Cool completely before removing the tart from the pan and serving.