Category: sweet treats

Part 1: Old Fashioned Coconut Cake… and Caramel Cake from Hell #CakeDisaster

I like a good moist coconut cake… not “love,” but do enjoy on occasion.   As is the case all around, there have been some ladies in my community, who, over the years, made a name for themselves with their cakes.  I’ll start this tale with a funny happening I had regarding “vintage” cakes that will take us full circle to this coconut cake saga.

I was recipe developer and food stylist for years at Our State Magazine here in North Carolina. (Check out my work there here and here!)  Before I came on board, they had been asking readers to send in their favorite church and community cookbooks for consideration in the new section they were creating in the magazine where these books would be featured. By happenstance, I judged at the NC State Fair that October as I do each year, but one day the Our State editor, Elizabeth Hudson, happened to be judging too.  We exchanged cards and she said, “well maybe we can use you at the magazine someday.”  Well of course I was giddy at that idea but had little faith anything would come to be.  But a couple of weeks after that, they got in touch and told me of this new section starting… in JANUARY!  Now keep in mind, this was the end of October, and they, like all magazines, work months in advance of publication!  They asked if I would like to prepare the foods for this new cookbook feature section each month….
Ummmm, a nanosecond later I said, “why yes I would!”
Now keep in mind, I’d n.e.v.e.r. done any such thing, and had no idea nor training in the world of food styling!!  

But off on yet another culinary adventure I went.

For the first few months, we did 10…. yes, TEN recipes each month!  Folks, that is a LOT of food shopping, prepping and cook’n. To have to cart over to monthly shoots in Greensboro one day a month that we started at 9:00AM!  

A few months later, that was trimmed to 8, then 5, and by the time I left 5 years later, we were down to 3 a month!  Much of that is dictated by ad sales and how many pages will be in each issue.

So the first 4 years, the editor in charge of the recipes would select which book(s) would be featured (there were hundreds if not thousands of books on the shelf there at the OS office).  Then, she would speak to the entity who did the book and find out any favorites in the book(s). The recipes chosen to be featured would be sent to me to shop, prep, prepare and prop!  It wasn’t until 4 years later I got to create and feature my own recipes each month.  

Now most that know me know that I don’t particularly care to BAKE.  The words “yeast” and “knead” send my brain into a tizzy!  I didn’t let this on for a while at OS because I was so tickled and excited for this opportunity, I didn’t want to be negative about such.

So without fail, each month, there would be a “vintage” cake of some sort for me to fix!  UGH…
And they NEVER would turn out right!  I’d make the recipe several times with failure each time.  I’d call the editor in panic and despair, and she’d sometimes pick another last minute recipe for me to sub.

Well one month, sometime into the first year and after multiple cake “issues,” I was sent a caramel cake to make.
I made that damn cake 3 times. It called for use of a candy thermometer (another tool causing me extreme stress)!  
Before I could lift the pot of sauce off the burner and turn around to spoon over the cake, that damn frosting turned to concrete, right there in the pot!  The one recipe I did manage to get “poured” onto the cake wasn’t enough to ice a large cupcake! (see picture below).
I actually found some pictures of this nightmare I shot that day to send the editor to show her what this recipe she sent me was doing… and asked… “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?”  Do excuse the horrible quality of them… they were shot quickly on an old phone to send to her to see what I was trying to describe and are as bad as the icing and cake themselves!

The caramel cake disaster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was crying. The shoot was the next morning. I was on try 4 of this monster! 
I was posting my angst on facebook! 

A baking friend saw my panic and called me… said to send her the recipe to make. She got the stuff together and made it.
Well low and behold, it did the same thing for her too!
She surmised, which made perfect sense…. that oftentimes, these ladies (Church Cake Ladies I call them) were known for “their” cake!  Their particular cake was their claim to fame so to speak in their community! So when somebody in the church or community was putting together a fundraiser cookbook and asked them to contribute their recipe, they’d change it in some way, unbeknownst to the cookbook person, so nobody could actually successfully duplicate “their” cake!
I’m certain that was the case with those old recipes I was sent.  And in each case, the book contact was asked to get in touch, but the ladies had passed on. 

So I said all that to say this. (I don’t like writing longgggg stories since y’all probably don’t like reading longgg stories!)…

Last week, my friend Lisa Prince (Marketing @ NC Department of Agriculture) I judge for at the NC State Fair each year shared a Coconut Cake recipe on her noon news feature on WRAL TV.  Well mercy, ever since, I’ve wanted to make that cake!  It’s a 5-day-to-make cake, and haven’t had time nor space in my refrigerator that’s full of stuff for February magazine issue recipes I’m working on…  

WRAL TV”s Elizabeth Gardner’s Old Fashioned Coconut Cake! …Photo from NC Department of Agriculture

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It’s such an easy cake to make, and perfect for folks like me who don’t particularly care to bake.  And I’m pretty certain this one will work!  Tried and proven by Lisa!  Even though it’s an old fashioned cake! And y’all know me. I’m always looking for ways to tweak a recipe that has inspired me into my own… 
Sooooo… I’m thinking to myself… “self, I bet that cake would be damn good made with chocolate layers…. like a Mounds, or Almond Joy!” 
So self got in gear.
I dropped by the grocery store today but while in there, to get my favorite Duncan Hines mix… I pondered… “ummmm, which one of all these chocolates would be the best?” 

And “what IS the difference in all these chocolates?”
So I googled there in the Food Lion and pieced together some information to share with you right here… for making a chocolate version of this coconut cake… or just because! 

I am only discussing Duncan Hines mixes here as that is my preferred… because it’s what my Ma Hocutt used, and what my mama used.

Devil’s Food... this is DH’s “basic” chocolate cake.  It offers what might be called a “medium chocolate” flavor.

(Ever wonder why it’s called “devil’s food” cake?)

Butter Chocolatethis is like Devil’s Food, but the oil is replaced by butter (oh yes!) making it a richer (more “devilish?”) version.

Classic Dark Chocolate Fudgedeep rich chocolate flavor

Swiss Chocolatemost like milk chocolate with a less “chocolatey” flavor

German Chocolatea light German flavored chocolate.  This cake is most likely frosted with a pecan and coconut frosting.

My mama’s favorite candy bar was an Almond Joy. So sometime this Christmas season, in her memory, and because I’m curious, I’m going to make this old fashioned coconut cake. BUT… I got the Classic Dark Chocolate Fudge mix for my layers… and some almonds I’m going to toast and put on top!  So stay tuned. When I get around to Part 2 of this cake tale, you won’t want miss out on MY version!

Till then, if you make this cake, come over to my facebook community and share your experience… review, and pictures too! Hopefully it will look a whole lot better than this thing!

The caramel cake from hell!

 

Who needs pie when you can have Apple Cheddar Biscuit Cobbler instead!

Who needs plain old apple pie when you can lip-smack with this Apple Cheddar Biscuit Cobbler instead?

keep reading

Peach on the Atlantic Beach Pie!

 

Pie.  This pie. My “ugly” pie. 
My delicious ugly pie.
Atlantic Beach Pie.
PEACH on the Atlantic Beach Pie!

You’ll want to make my Peach on the Atlantic Beach Pie… it might be ugly… and weepy (read the story), but the damn good taste makes up for all that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter what you call it, this pie has deep roots in the “SOBX” area of North Carolina. Referred to by some as the South Outer Banks, the geographic area stretches for about 85ish miles… from the Cape Lookout/”Down East” areas on the upper end down to the Shackleford Banks/Bogue Banks area on the other… with the most familiar areas including beaches of Carteret County (“Crystal Coast area”) down south along with a few ports on the intercoastal waterway. The most well known towns and townships in this region are Harkers Island, Beaufort, Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and Swansboro. 

Those of us fortunate enough to have part time happy places in these “South Outer Banks” or live on the “Crystal Coast” as permanent residents are blessed, and are surrounded with a whole lot of land and sea culinary offerings, steeped in a history of its own.

Like this pie.

Ever since Chef Bill Smith at Crooks Corner in Chapel Hill introduced hundreds to his version of the vintage Atlantic Beach Pie a few years back at a Southern Foodways Alliance event, nearly every culinary magazine and blogger has made and written about it, or created their own version.  It’s a yummy pie, and except for the crust, is pretty much one of the few things my mama “cooked”… Eagle Brand Lemon Pie.

The pie is a “descendant” of the Harker’s Island Lemon Milk Pie. The recipe can be found numerous places online, but I highly recommend you get yourself the Island Born and Bred Cookbook where you will find it and so many other local recipes handed down through generations.

Harker’s Island North Carolina’s history, culinary and otherwise, in this tasty cookbook!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is a collection of Harkers Island food, fun, fact and fiction compiled by the Harkers Island Methodist Women! You will love the recipes and history scattered about this book that was featured in Good Housekeeping’s “Cookbook Corner.” And if opportunity presents itself, be sure to grab tickets to one of Core Sound Museum‘s dinners with some of these recipes… oh my gosh!  The local food is lovingly prepared by ladies of and supporters of the museum, and you’ll not find any better meal along the crystal coast!  As I finish writing this today, they are busy preparing for tonight’s sold out supper and disappointed I couldn’t go this time as I’ve done in the past. Just take a look at the menu… and drool!

So, back to the pie!

Now I’m a citrus love’n gal, but not especially fond of lemon. Give me lime, and especially orange! I alway order my sweet tea with orange… and now most of my friends do the same. Even if I just get ice water when out, “no lemon, orange please!” is my order.  Most places have some, definitely those that have a bar, and are usually happy to oblige.  

Since the original version was made with just lemon and most of the remakes use that or lemon-lime combination, I’m thinking to myself… “Self, why not add some ORANGE in there too?” 
So that’s exactly what I did.  And unlike most newer versions, I stayed true to the original with a meringue, although you can use fresh whipped cream, which will work equally as well on this pie.

But I added to my twist on the pie!  Fresh.Juicy.North.Carolina.PEACHESohhhh la LA!  Such a great pairing with this tangy citrusy filling.
So… here’s Wendy’s version of Atlantic Beach Pie… with the bonus of North Carolina peaches tucked in as an added surprise!  Without further adieu… Peach on the (Atlantic) Beach Pie! 
Do make one to enjoy, and run on back over here and tell me what you think?

P.S.  When I was making my test and final versions of the pie for Carolina Country Magazine, it was a terribly hot and humid week here in North Carolina. I was nearly weeping myself at the weeping pie meringues. And my ugly pies! I can’t shoot THAT thing to put in the magazine!
So I threw it out for conversation on my facebook community and personal page too… to get everybody’s consensus on weeping meringue. It was 100% votes FOR weeping… with folks calling them “little droplets of gold,” and “I thought all good pies weep” to “it reminds me of my grandma’s pies.” Even the staff at the magazine where I took one of my “ugly” test versions agreed and asked, “don’t ALL good pies weep?”
I agree with all those sentiments, so if your pie meringue weeps, don’t let it make you weep! It’s supposed to be that way… right?

Here’s my weepiest pie!  It doesn’t make me sad, how about you?

You’ll love my version of this vintage Atlantic Beach Pie… made with a surprise of juicy North Carolina peaches nestled inside.

Peach on the Atlantic Beach Pie
In recent years, a revival of the vintage Atlantic Beach Pie has occurred. We created our version of the recipe by using a combination of citrus juices (not just one), a little zest, and snuck in a surprise layer of NC peaches. Enjoy!
Course: Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: North Carolina Goodies, Southern, Southern Desserts
Servings: 1 pie
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 sleeves saltine or Ritz crackers, or combination
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed juice, (lemon, lime and orange mix)*
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk Eagle Brand preferred
  • 1 cup chopped North Carolina peaches
Meringue
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


  2. Roughly crumble crackers into bowl. Knead in butter and sugar until crumbs stick together, breaking up any large pieces of cracker (but not into dust). Press into 8-inch pie dish and chill for 15 minutes. Bake about 16 minutes until the crust starts browning.


  3. Beat yolks, juice and zest into condensed milk.


  4. Scatter peaches over crust; cover with the filling.


  5. Whip egg whites and tartar until soft peaks form. Add vanilla, salt and sugar, one tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling and bake about 18 minutes.


  6. Chill at least 6 hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

*One large lemon, lime and orange should give you at least a half cup of juice,

…krave-worthy Krispy Kreme Kroutons!

Being that today is “National Doughnut Day,” seems fitting to share one of my Krispy Kreme Kreations with you.

It just so happens that my lastest, krunchy Cinnamon-Butter Krispy Kreme Kroutons, is one of four North Carolina food icons I got to blab about in the November issue of Carolina Country Magazine. I chose Krispy Kreme as one of the four for a couple of reasons. For starters, when talking about iconic foods here in North Carolina, KK is at or near the top of any such list. KK is also celebrating a milestone birthday this year… their 80th! I even made this scrumptious sundae with KK Kroutons and Kookies to celebrate.

Aren’t we so happy Krispy Kreme was born?

I’ve been making these blissful little krouton morsels for years, just never got around to sharing until now!  You can make ’em in no time flat, but be warned.

….krunchy krispy kreme kroutons

Nobody can eat just one, or 10, so make a big old mess of them! Folks love to munch on “kroutons” right out of the bowl, but I enjoy on top of Ma Perry’s Boiled Custard, a Perry family tradition that started before I came along… a long time ago.

I do hope you will make some kroutons, and come back to let me know what you think… I’m pretty sure you will be the Kueen if you serve up a pile of these sometime soon.
Don’t you think KK should bag my kroutons too?  

Krispy Kreme Kroutons

Cinnamon-Butter Krispy Kreme Kroutons

Cinnamon-Butter Krispy Kreme Kroutons
Krispy Kreme “Kroutons” are a fun treat by themselves, but floating in boiled custard to enjoy at the bottom of your cup is good, too!
Ingredients
  • 6 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts,
  • 1 stick butter. melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Using kitchen scissors, cut each doughnut into 12 "coins." Spread cut pieces out on baking pan and let air dry, uncovered, overnight.

  2. Preheat toaster oven or oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in microwave and stir in cinnamon. Toss “kroutons” in bowl with cinnamon butter. Bake about 5 minutes, tossing as needed, until golden brown.

  3. Cool and store in airtight container.
Recipe Notes

Variation... Instead of cinnamon, use other spices or blends, like Apple Pie or Pumpkin Spice.  

So, what are your ideas for using Krispy Kreme Kroutons?
Do tell…

What time is it? Muscadine time….

One of my favorite things about the arrival of fall would be grapes! Muscadine grapes…. native to the south grapes. We know, as they turn into those sweet little balls of deliciousness and ripen into nature’s candy, that fall is on our doorstep. And for those of us who are drained by the heat and humidity of another North Carolina summer, they are a harbinger of cooler days ahead!

I have fond memories as a child of the vines….  one was in my Mama and Daddy Hocutt’s back yard… a vine he’d planted and tended and nurtured long before I came along in 1958. He left us when I was just 8, but I still can remember going up under that big shady vine with him that would be hanging full of luscious scuppernong grapes. We would suck the slimy pulp and juice out of dozens of grapes, spit seeds, laugh… then fill our bowls to put in the refrigerator to get nice and cold for later.  I remember how sweet the air that surrounded us was. I remember how nice and cool it was up under there. I remember…

muscadine grapes

Now let’s stop right here and do a little grape lesson… 
Scuppernong grapes are muscadines, but not all muscadines are scuppernongs…. got it?  Scuppernong is a variety of muscadine… but many of us grew up with only scuppernongs and thinking they were one an the same and only muscadine, so we grew up believing what turned out to be a myth.

OK… back to the topic at hand!
So, I’d never cooked anything using muscadine grapes. The few recipes I’d come across just seemed like a whole lot of work with those seeds and skins and all… for only a few bites of something.  Oh my, was I WRONG!

A couple of years back, my old friend Lisa Prince (at NC Department of Agriculture) asked me if I would like to be a part of an episode of Flavor, NC they were going to be filming on muscadine grapes!  And if so, I would need to come up with a few recipes using them. Well of course I would LOVE to be a part of a show I love… and helping promote goodness grown here in North Carolina… but I admit, a bit of panic set in about creating grape recipes!  But I love a challenge and new culinary adventures, so I jumped right on it.

However… my first question as we were to film in November…. where the heck shall I get grapes at that time of year?

First thing I learned… you can freeze grapes!  Whaaaat?  
Yep, Lisa assured me so and said they would have bags for me to work with!  Who knew?!?  So folks, as we are in the prime days of our muscadine grape season here in North Carolina, grab yourself some big old zippered bags and freeze away! Because when you see my Muscadine Crisp recipe, you’ll know why.

So with that worry aside, I started googling, and “Pinteresting” (my new word) to find inspirations and “how-tos” from others who have created muscadine grape recipes. I quickly learned… these are about as scarce as a fresh muscadine grape in April!  I could count on one hand anything close to what you’d call “creative” that my searches turned up.
No problem… I’ll figure this out because that’s what I do… even if I have a limited supply of frozen grapes, with little room for error to recreate or start all over. (Insert mini panic attack, but hey, I’ve GOT this.)

Well it just so happened that in the time between I was to do this creation and then make again for filming the show, I had previously planned another of my culinary adventures up… wayyyyyy up in the NC mountains to the John Campbell Folk School, for a week-long 18th Century Open Hearth Cooking Class! 

{Let me digress here for a moment to tell you that this place is “all THAT and then some!” If you love learning new things… in the old school way, be it wood-working, blacksmithing, banjo or dulcimer making and playing, art by needle/thread/fabric and a gazillion other things, GO THERE! My jaw was on the floor at our lunch on Friday as we all gathered to display our accomplishments that week and I long to go there again and again. A small group actually built, from scratch, their own dulcimers AND learned to play a few songs from Sunday eve till Friday noon!}

So… in my hearth cooking class, where I learned the most amazing things and actually cooked in a ginormous hearth so big we could bend over up in it to move pots and kettles and coals around (while hobbling on crutches as well), we cooked things each day, 100% authentic to that era.

Hearth at John Campbell Folk School

Hearth at John Campbell Folk School and WAY bigger than it looks in this picture!

We even learned which of the herbs we could harvest from the garden there to use in our cooking since not all of them had been brought “here” yet. Recipe choices would be laid out on a wooden table (that was, of course, made at the school in the woodworking shop) that was draped in vintage cloth and we would select those we wanted to prepare. Well normally, I wouldn’t choose any sort of baked thing, but low and behold, there laid a “receipt” for a Muscadine Pie!  And as it was in October, there were muscadine grapes there in the mountains in our pantry fridge. I grabbed that one right away so I could get down to the nitty gritty (and get my fingers stained and “broke in”) of this muscadine phobia here, where I had an instructor who could help me with this self-imposed terror.

First, I had to… MAKE DOUGH for my pie! A terrifying thing in itself…. that turned out to be a piece of cake.
Next, I had to prepare the grapes, and to my surprise, wasn’t such a big deal either… as I had no idea the hulls were a part of the filling. (And oh my, the soft baked texture in the sweet muscadine syrup of the pie was divine!)  

Without belaboring this story to get to why we are here (my Flavor, NC grape recipes!), I share my very first ever muscadine creation!  I even “garnished” it with some edible violets from the garden and a dough design of a bunch of grapes (unlike how you see muscadines growing)… LOL  Pretty snazzy, eh?  

Muscadine Pie

…my first muscadine creation!

And I’m here to tell you, this may have been the b.e.s.t. pie to ever cross my lips. It SO inspired me to get in my cookhouse when I returned home to create muscadine recipes for the show.  I think the timing was surely one of those Godwink moments… to put that muscadine challenge before me, the week before I was to attempt my first creations, with few resources “out there” to help me.  I knew in that moment as I savored that deep, rich grape infused pie… yet, I’ve got this too!

Fast forward to getting back home, after pulling my cute little Squash Blossom Vintage Camper into, and back out of the mountains… as far into the mountains you can go in North Carolina and still be IN North Carolina. Eight hours, much of which was the definition of “white knuckles.” 

My adventure to John Campbell Folk School!

I didn’t fully set up Squash Blossom due to an ongoing foot “issue” but just enough to sleep at night! So this is the abbreviated Blossom….

My mini Squash Blossom set up at John Campbell Folk School.

So… back at home, it was time to hunker down and get some muscadine recipes created for the show! I had sent Lisa my thoughts and she liked them all.  My creations were Muscadine Pepper Jelly, Muscadine Shrub and Muscadine Grape and Gingersnap Crisp. Now I’m here to tell you, although I don’t care for a lot of sweets, this crisp may be in my “Top 5” of the best things to ever cross my lips in that category… not to mention the incredibly wondermous smell of it fresh out of the oven!

We had such a fun time filming this episode in my vintage cookhouse and in the process, I overcame my intimidation of “the grape” cooking, created some tasty recipes, and fill my freezer each fall with grapes to enjoy making my crisp during cold, winter, fireplace months. Find and enjoy all 3 of my Flavor, NC Muscadine Grape recipes down below.

Filming Muscadine Grape Episode for Flavor, NC with Lisa

Fun day filming Flavor, NC Muscadine Grape Episode in my cookhouse with friend Lisa Prince!

We had this crisp for our family Christmas dessert last year, and might again this year too. 

muscadine grape and gingersnap crisp

Muscadine Grape & Gingersnap Crisp on Flavor, NC

My Muscadine Pepper Jelly is yummy over cream cheese… or as a baste on chicken or pork & veggie kabaobs!

Muscadine Pepper Jelly

Muscadine Pepper Jelly over Cream Cheese or as a Chicken or Pork & Veggie Kabob Baste!

And to freshen up, how about a nice Muscadine Shrub?

Flavor NC Muscadine Grape Shrubs

Refreshing Muscadine Grape Shrubs for Flavor, NC!

I hope you will enjoy my recipes, and leave a comment about ways you enjoy muscadine grapes too!

Muscadine Grape & Gingersnap Crisp
Don’t be intimidated by using muscadine grapes for crisps, cobblers and pies. It’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes of time to cut into and remove seeds with your fingers… but so worth the time and effort! Every North Carolinian needs to be sure and make muscadine desserts… the flavor will have you asking “why haven’t I done THIS before?”
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, North Carolina Goodies, Southern Desserts
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • about 6 cups muscadine grapes, washed
  • about 1 1/4 cups sugar*
  • about 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 30 small gingersnap cookies
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter cut into small pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. To prepare grapes: Over bowl (to capture juices), cut grapes in half (scissors work best) and push seeds out with thumb. Toss grape halves (hull and pulp) and juice into bowl. Stir in sugar and flour. Mix well and put mixture into prepared baking dish.

  3. Put all topping ingredients except butter into food processor. Pulse until cookies are roughly chopped. Add butter and continue pulsing until incorporated and mixture is crumbly.

  4. Scatter crumbs over grape mixture. Bake about 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Baking time will vary a bit depending on depth of baking dish.

Recipe Notes

*If grapes are super ripe and sweet, you might use a bit less sugar.

This recipe will do best in 9×9” or 11×7” baking dish.

 

Muscadine Grape Pepper Jelly (and basting sauce)
This tasty jelly can be warmed and used as a glaze on meat and vegetable kabobs! Serve over salty and tart cheeses on toast as an appetizer too. The muscadine flavor really shines through with this jelly. If using purple/black hulled grapes, the rich red-hued color is spectacular!
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course, Sauces
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Grilling, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Servings: 8 1/2 pint jars
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 5 cup muscadine grape juice
  • 1 box pectin
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1-2 finely diced jalapeno jelly, optional
Instructions
  1. Heat grape juice and pectin in heavy bottomed pot. Whisk to dissolve the pectin. Stir in sugar and peppers. Bring to a boil for one minute. Remove from heat and put into hot sterilized jars. Process as usual.

 

Muscadine Grape Shrub
This refreshing old-fashioned “tonic” is making a comeback. The syrup is really versatile and can be used for all sorts of tasty beverage concoctions. Such an easy way to enjoy the rich flavor of muscadines throughout the year!
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • about 4 cups muscadine grapes
  • 2 cups sugar, (see notes)
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • aromatic herbs, optional (I use rosemary)
Instructions
  1. Combine grapes and sugar in large jar with lid. Muddle to break up grapes and incorporate with sugar. Cover and sit in a cool dark space for up to 24 hours. Shake occasionally so that sugar dissolves.
  2. Add vinegar and any aromatics as desired. Cover and shake. Let this mixture steep in cool dark place or refrigerator for about a week (or more) to let the flavors meld.

    Using a sieve or cheesecloth, strain the syrup into jar. This mixture will keep in the refrigerator up to six months (if it lasts that long!).

  3. To serve: Pour a bit of the syrup over ice and top with club soda or sparkling water. For cocktails, omit the water and add a splash of liquor. Those that work well are vodka, rum and gin.

    Generally, you will want to mix one part syrup to about 3-4 parts sparkling water. Champagne shrubs are tasty too!

Recipe Notes
  • Sugar options: Most any sugar (and combinations) will work. Just be sure the sugar you use complements the grapes (or whatever fruit you use).
  • Vinegar options: Apple cider vinegar tends to offer best flavor for shrubs, but other flavorful vinegars work nicely, as long as they do not complete with and drown out flavor of the grapes.

So… visit a local muscadine farm right now while the get’n is good… and if you don’t have time to use them, fill up your freezer so when hunkered down on a cold winter’s day, you can make yourself this Crisp… you will be SO glad you did!