I’ll admit that I am not a particular fan of wine made from muscadines (or, for that matter, scuppernongs). But just because I prefer a dry wine doesn’t mean the beauty of the muscadine, a grape with a long history in North Carolina, is lost on me. As it turns out, making sweet wine is just one of the many things a muscadine can do.
First off, muscadines are lovely on their own, though you have to eat them in comfortable company because they require a fair amount of spitting- the seeds and the skin are not palatable raw. They also make the most wonderful jam. And simple syrup, perfect for cocktails. But above all else my favorite application of the muscadine is the hull pie. Seeded and simmered to soft perfection, a hull pie allows the tart and unique flavor of the grape to shine.
I’m currently in the midst of packing my house (so that we can move approximately .5 miles away) which means my pie plates are somewhere in a box deep in my dining room. Easily accessible were my mini tart pans, which made a handful of the sweetest little muscadine tarts I’ve ever seen, perfect for topping with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and eating as I stared at a pile of empty boxes, waiting for me to get my second wind.
makes 8 tartlets or one pie
2 cups flour
1 stick butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4c cold water
2 pints muscadines, seeded
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cornstarch
In a saucepan combine grapes, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
While your muscadines simmer combine flour, butter, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the dough resembles cornmeal. Slowly add water, pulsing until a dough ball forms. Chill.
Once your grapes have cooked down preheat your oven to 350F. Roll your dough out on a floured surface and press into greased tart pans (or pie dish). Fill each tart with filling. Roll out remaining dough and either cut strips for a lattice or cut shapes to decorate the top. Whisk egg and brush crust of each tart.
Bake for 45 minutes or until browned and bubbling.