Muscadine Grape Hull Pie
Sweet And Musky Muscadine Grapes Are A Delicious Autumn Treat
The cool and crisp days of autumn promise hayrides, visits to the pumpkin patch, apple-bobbing contests, barn dances and costume parties, and Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends.
Filling the kitchens in homes all across the southeastern United States is the sweet and musky aroma of muscadine grapes simmering and baking while being made into delicious preserves, jams and jellies, pastries, juice, and wine.
Muscadine sweets, juice, and wine are a real Southern treat during the cool and long days of the fall harvest. Farmer's markets are bustling with business, muscadine grape hull pies and jellies are being sampled and sold at county fairs in friendly competitions, and families are busy making jams and jellies and preserves to enjoy and share for months to come.
These grapes are the star at potluck dinners, costume parties, and Thanksgiving dinners. They are also prepared with family recipes and traditions that have been passed down for generations and generations.
What Are Muscadine Grapes?
Muscadine Grapes are the official state fruit of North Carolina
The earliest named variety of muscadine grapes was a bronze cultivar called Scuppernong which was discovered by Dr. Calvin Jones in 1810 in northeastern North Carolina.
They are a large high-fiber, low-calorie grape with a thick, tough skin that contain four seeds and come in variety of colors ranging through hues of green to bronze to dark purple to black. They grow in clusters, but are harvested individually.
These grapes not only taste amazing, but they are high in antioxidants, phytonutrients and resveratrol which have significant health benefits that can help prevent heart disease.
There is a little technique involved when eating this special kind of grape - place the grape with the stem facing upwards in your mouth, bite a small hole through the tough skin and suck out the pulp and spit out the seeds until you are only left with the hull.
Muscadine grapes are harvested from August to October in the southeastern United States and if you've never tasted this sweet southern treat before, you don't know what your missing.
What Is Muscadine Grape Hull Pie?
Muscadine grape hull pie was created during a time when food was scarce and not to be wasted and many frugal chefs and southern home cooks have adopted this thrifty dessert recipe.
The skins, otherwise known as the hulls, are cooked down until they are soft and tender then sweetened with sugar and thickened with flour and butter for a delicious pie filling.
Most muscadine grape hull pie recipes have been passed along from generation to generation and hold special memories and history that has been shared among family members and friends.
How To Prepare Muscadine Hulls- Separating The Seeds, Pulp And Hulls
There are a few different ways that you can choose to prepare the muscadine grape hulls for cooking:
- One of the simplest methods of removing the skins is by snipping the bottom with scissors and squeezing the pulp out into a pot and setting the hulls aside. Mash and push the pulp through a sieve or strainer to remove the seeds. This method is great if you are making jelly, juice or wine.
- If you are wanting to use both the pulp and the hulls, put the washed grapes into a large pot and mash until the seeds and pulp separate from the skins. Pick out the seeds by hand and throw them away.
- You can also cut the grapes in half and pop the seeds out with your fingers before tossing the halved grapes into the pot.
Muscadine Grape Hull Pie Recipe
Muscadine grape hull pie was traditionally made with just the hulls of the grape, but today, recipes have been adapted which use the pulp of the grapes as well.
In times when food was scare and families relied on their homesteads, instead of throwing away the tough skins after a day of making muscadine grape jelly, they boiled them in a little bit of water and then sweetened the tender hulls with a little sugar and thickened the mixture with flour to create a delicious pie filling.
This recipe is an adaptation of my grandmother's family recipe and includes both the pulp and hulls of the grapes.
- Prep time: 45 min
- Cook time: 1 hour
- Ready in: 1 hour 45 min
- Yields: Serves 6-8
- Pastry for a double-crust pie, see recipe below
- 5 cups muscadine grapes
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 flour
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cold butter
- Roll out enough pastry for a double sided pie crust. Line a deep dish pie with half the rolled out pastry and trim. Set the other rolled half aside.
- Add the muscadine grapes to a big pot and mash until the pulp and seeds separate from the hulls. Remove the seeds by hand and discard.
- Bring the pulp, juice and hulls to a boil and then reduce the temperature to a low simmer and continue cooking until the hulls are tender about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and salt and mix thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture into a prepared deep dish pie crust and sprinkle the cold butter pieces on top. Cover with the other half of the pastry, trim and seal the edges using your fingers. Or express your inner creativity by cutting fun Halloween shapes out of the other half of the pie crust using your favorite Halloween cookie cutters and laying the designs on top.
- Place the pie on a cookie sheet and bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375F and bake for another 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.
Easy Pie Crust Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Yields: Makes 1 Double Sided Pie Crust
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- In a food processor or mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into the mixture and gently pulse one or two times until the mixture is crumbly.
- In a measuring cup, measure 1/3 cup cold water and add the egg yolk, vinegar and vanilla and stir together.
- Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture in the food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times until it is just mixed. Do not overmix.
- Wrap the pastry in saran wrap and chill for at least one hour before rolling.
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Grow Your Own Muscadine Grapes
In the southeastern United States you can grow the delicious sweet fruit right in your own backyard.
Muscadine grapes thrive in hot and humid weather and don't do well in cooler temperatures or frosts. It is best to plant the muscadine grape vines in early fall to ensure they are ready for harvest in August and September.
There are lots of different varieties to choose from and each have their own unique flavor. Taste a few different ones and decide how you are going to use them before deciding which grape vines to buy.
Have You Ever Tried Muscadine Grape Hull Pie Before?
© 2012 Corrinna Johnson