Since 1926, the Agricultural Review has been a free newspaper published by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For many years, The Tar Heel Kitchen was a featured column written by the department’s marketing home economist.
These recipes tended to be seasonal with just a handful of ingredients. We thought these recipes needed to be shared in a new format. The Tar Heel Kitchen post will unearth a few of these timeless recipes each month. This week we are revisiting the Oct. 1, 1975 issue and a recipe using delicious North Carolina Muscadine grapes.
September is Wine and Grape month in North Carolina. The state has a long history of grape and wine production. This industry has seen a renaissance in recent years as more people discover North Carolina wines. In 2013, the industry contributed more than $1.7 billion to the state’s economy.
“September is the season and now is the time to indulge in the delicate smelling muscadines,” said York Kiker, former NCDA&CS home economist. “Muscadines thrive best in Piedmont and Coastal Plains sections of North Carolina.” Kiker included the following recipe for grape pie, provided by the N.C. Grape Growers Association.
Since muscadines are in good supply at the farmers market, we decided to try our hand at making this dessert, using a mixture of green and red grapes. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it was a big hit with everyone who sampled it. We were concerned that the skins of the muscadines would be tough, but after baking, the pie had great texture — and even better flavor. We recommend adding a baking sheet below the pie in the oven as the filling bubbled over. Our comments are in italics below.
Fresh Grape Pie
- pastry for 1 double crust pie (We used a ready-to-use refrigerated crust)
- 5 ½ cups N.C. muscadine grapes
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
On lightly floured surface, roll out half of pastry into 11-inch circle. Use to line 9-inch pie plate; trim. Refrigerate with rest of pastry until ready to use. Wash grapes; drain. Remove skin of each grape by pressing between thumb and forefinger until skin breaks and pulp pops out. Set skins aside. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring pulp to boiling, stirring; boil 2 minutes. Press pulp through sieve, to remove seeds. (We had a hard time pushing pulp through a sieve, so we picked out the seeds and discarded the extra juice.) In a large bowl, combine pulp with skins, mixing well. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Add to grape mixture, along with lemon and orange peel. Mix well. Roll out remaining pastry into an 11-inch circle. Make several slits near center for steam vents, adjust over filling; trim crust edges. Fold edge of top crust under bottom crust; press together with fingertips, crimp edge decoratively. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until crust is golden. Cool partially on wire rack; serve warm.