Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grape Leaf Pie: Another Excellent Culinary Adventure

The grape leaves came with the house.  Here they are growing on the side of the garage.  Even though I'm very fond of grape leaves in Middle Eastern cuisine, I've never used my own grape leaves in cooking.  Until today.

Enter the grape leaf, yogurt, and herb pie:

This cookbook is a fountainhead of excellent culinary adventures.
The requirements for the grape leaf pie seemed pretty straightforward.  I start by gathering 24 grape leaves.
Then I put them in a bowl, covered them with boiling water, and let them soak 10 minutes.  No problem. But the recipe didn't say that when they came out of the boiling water they would have the consistency of wet kleenex.  That meant I had to unroll and flatten them out and dry them on ...tea towels.  Who has tea towels?  
Next, I had to cut off the stems and drape and arrange the leaves in a 9 inch pie dish.
The recipe called for a pie filling consisting of Greek yogurt, pine nuts, parsley, tarragon, dill, mint, lemon zest, and rice flour.  After the filling was put in, the grape leaves were folded over the top and the whole was covered with breadcrumbs;

While that was in the oven (375 degrees, 40 minutes), I made burnt eggplant with tahini--a side dish suggested by the cookbook.  This one called for some unusual ingredients, such as pomegranate molasses and pomegranate seeds.  It also called for an unusual cooking technique:  burning the eggplant directly on a stove burner:
What a mess!  That's a bottle of pomegranate molasses standing by next to the burner.
The eggplant was charred on the outside and raw on the inside.  I gave up and finished it in the microwave.  But what a flavor that burning produced!  It was deelish!

Here's the finished recipe of burnt eggplant with tahini, decorated with pomegranate seeds and being scooped up by Joe Rubin, with a piece of pita at the ready in his other hand.
Here's how the grape leaf pie looked after its trip through the oven and after we'd helped ourselves to a couple of servings.
And we both wanted seconds.


  1. Diane,
    I heard this cookbook is amazing! Is it as good as the pictures look? (Your pie seems to prove that it is!)

  2. I prepared also today pls have a look ..

    1. Dear Melike--Thank you for telling me that you made the grape leaf pie! I looked at your Facebook page but I couldn't tell which photo was the grape leaf pie. Maybe you could put a label on that photo? Anyway, thank you for letting me know. I wonder how you found my blog.