Food & Drink

Southern Muscadine Pie

A dessert from Asheville’s Buxton Hall Barbecue for the tail-end of muscadine season

photo: Courtesy of Buxton Hall Barbecue


Some of pit master Elliott Moss’s fondest memories from his childhood in Florence, South Carolina, involve muscadines. “We had old muscadine vines on our family property when I was growing up,” says the Asheville, North Carolina, chef and pit master. “They were torn down with Hugo in 1989, but some of my earliest memories are of my dad making wine with the muscadines, and my grandma making whole-grape pies.” 

photo: Courtesy of Buxton Hall Barbecue; Tim Robison

From left: Ashley Capps; Elliott Moss.

Not long after Buxton Hall Barbecue opened in 2015, Moss’s pastry chef, Ashley Capps, brought in a crate of muscadines, immediately reminding Moss of the early fall days of his childhood. “We made this pie with that in mind,” he says. Capps peels the grapes, cooks down the pulp, and strains the seeds before folding in the grape hulls. “The skins give it a beautiful color,” Moss says. While he grew up with meringue-topped pie, Capps sprinkles hers with an oat crumble or folds a second layer of dough over the top with decorative cuttings. “It’s pretty nostalgic and emotional for me,” Moss says. “Just smelling this pie brings me back to being a kid.” 


Ingredients

  • Muscadine Grape Hull Pie (Makes one 9-inch pie)

    • 25–30 muscadines

    • 1 cup sugar

    • ⅛ tsp. ground cardamom

    • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

    • ⅛ tsp. ground allspice

    • ½ tsp. salt

    • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

    • 1½ tbsp. cornstarch

    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

    • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

    • 1-2 recipes pie dough (the second is optional for a double-crust pie)


Preparation

  1. To prepare the grapes: Separate muscadine skins from pulp. (Squeeze each grape to release the pulp into a bowl. Reserve the skins in another bowl.)

  2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook pulp over medium heat (gentle simmer) for 10 to 15 minutes. The grape pulp will begin to break down, become translucent, liquify, and slightly reduce. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

  3. Use blender on low speed to help thin out the pulp for straining. Blend for one minute or less.

  4. With a bowl underneath a fine mesh sieve, pour blended pulp to save juice and strain seeds. Discard the seeds. Reserve the strained juice. You will need 1 cup and 2 tbsp. 

  5. Use a food processor to pulse skins into smaller bits or cut into smaller pieces by hand with a chef’s knife. Reserve processed skins. You will need 1 ½ cups. 

  6. For the pie: 

    In a pitcher, combine strained grape pulp and skins; stir well.

  7. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, spices, salt, flour, and cornstarch to combine.  

  8. Pour half of the juice and skin mixture into the dry mix. Stir this well and pour into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Reserve the remaining juice/skin mixture for later.

  9. Over medium-low heat, use a spatula to gently stir and thicken the grape mixture. Aim for a slow simmer and frequently stir the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking and scorching. The color will brighten to a beautiful purple and the filling will be quite thick.

  10. Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice, vanilla, and the reserved skins and juice to the pot. Stir well. Cool filling before baking.

  11. Pour filling into a blind-baked crust, cover with your favorite streusel topping or fold a second layer of prepared dough with decorative cut-outs over the top, brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is brown and filling is bubbling. Cool for at least two hours before slicing.  Serve at room temperature. 


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