My great-grandmother Florine, who lived in a wood-sided cottage on the farm until she was 100 years old, used to make these cornmeal pancakes (what most folk call hoecakes) right on the big, round top burners of an old potbellied stove that sat across from the piano my Nana played. I still have one of her old irons that I use as a doorstop. Slathered in butter and Muscadine Jelly, the griddle cakes were our after-school snack—our version of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the cornmeal, flour, and salt in a large bowl and create a well in the center. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, the salted butter, buttermilk, and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients and whisk together until just incorporated and no lumps are left. Let batter sit for 10 minutes.
- Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes, then pour in a tablespoon of the clarified butter to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Using a regular-sized ice cream scoop or ladle, spoon 2 to 3 griddle cakes into the hot skillet, making sure not to crowd the pan. Allow each cake to cook 1 minute, or until the edges appear dry. Then, using a long and broad spatula, flip each cake over. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute more.
- Remove the cakes from the pan and place on the prepared baking sheet in the preheated oven to keep warm as you cook the rest of the griddle cakes. Serve warm with butter and Muscadine Jelly or Muscadine Compote.
- Place the muscadines and water into a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn down to low and simmer until the skins of the muscadines split open.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Using a potato masher, press the grapes to release all their juices, then strain the grapes through a sieve into a large (8-cup) measuring cup or bowl. Set aside and cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator, covered, for 24 hours.
- Strain the cooled muscadine juice through cheesecloth into a large stockpot. You want to ensure there are no solids in the juice.
- Prep your canning jars and lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions or by running them through the sanitize cycle of your dishwasher.
- Meanwhile, mix the pectin with the muscadine and lime juice in the stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the pectin has fully dissolved, start pouring in the sugar, stirring constantly. Bring the jelly back to a boil.
- Let the jelly boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, then using a wooden spoon, skim off the frothy foam. Ladle or pour the jelly, evenly distributing among the sterilized jars, leaving a ¼-inch space at the top of each jar.
- Place the lids on the jars and screw down tightly. Wipe any excess jelly off the jars. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, place the jars into the canner and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and let cool to room temperature. The jelly can be stored in a cool dry place for up to 1 year, but once the jars are opened, they will need to be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Excerpted from Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer. Copyright © 2021 CheFarmer Matthew Raiford and Amy Paige Condon. Photography © 2021 by Siobhán Egan. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press, a Division of W.W. Norton & Company. All rights reserved.