The muscadine is a Carolinian classic. We might not be able to grow bunch grapes, but we’re proud of our muscadine wine, even if its sweet. It’s a native fruit, and one we’ve used in the kitchen for over centuries.
Native Americans had been preserving the wild fruit long before Europeans reached America, but the first cultivar was found around 1760 by Isaac Alexander in Tyrell County, North Carolina. The grape was named the “Big White Grape” and later became known as the Scuppernong (the bronze varieties of muscadines). Today some of the best bronze cultivars are ‘Carlos’, ‘Doreen’, and ‘Magnolia.’ The best purple varieties are ‘Nobel’ and ‘Nesbitt.’ You’ll find ‘Carlos’ and ‘Nobel’ among our assortment of fruit-bearing plants.
If you already have a good sized vine growing in your yard, or if you’ve walked away from the farmer’s market recently with a large box of this musky sweet fruit, you might be running out of ideas of what to do with them. Traditionally, muscadines have been used for wine, juice, made into a puree for cake, or even pie. So we decided to try something new.
This cake is gluten free, vegan, and uses only natural sweetener. It has a pecan crust, cashew-grape filling and is a rich and indulgent as cheesecake, believe us! Enjoy!
1 c. pecans
1 c. fresh dates, pitted
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 ½ c. raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours to overnight
1/3 c. coconut oil
¼ c. lemon juice
1/3 c. agave or maple syrup
1 c. muscadine puree (see directions below)
Garnish: pecan halves
1 lb muscadines
1 tsp. cinnamon
To make the muscadine puree:
1. Separate the skin from the pulp by gently squeezing the grapes so the pulp slides out. Put the pulp in a large saucepan and the skins in a large bowl.
2. Simmer the pulp on medium-low heat until the seeds loosen from the pulp. Using a mesh bag or nut milk bag, squeeze the juice and pulp out, discarding the seeds. Return to saucepan.
3. Add the muscadine skins to the de-seeded pulp and simmer on medium-low heat until the skins are soft.
4. Place the muscadines and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth.
To make the dreamcake:
1. Place pecans in a food processor and grind for about a minute. Add dates and coconut oil and process until everything comes together. You can test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it into a ball. The ingredients should hold together. Flatten the crust across the bottom of a 9″ cheesecake pan or tart pan with a removable bottom. Place in refrigerator while you make the filling. Rinse food processor well.
2. Drain the soaked cashews. Place all filling ingredients except for the muscadine puree in your food processor and process on high until very smooth (this make take several minutes).
4. Pour 2/3 of the mixture on top of the crust.
5. Add the muscadine puree to the remaining filling. Blend until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Arrange pecan pieces around edge of cake as a garnish. Place in freezer for about 2 hours until solid.
6. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating or transfer and keep refrigerated.