Raisin Pie

WHAT ARE RAISINS? Raisins are simply dried sweet grapes, of course. Until medieval times, raisins were the second in choice as a sweetener, honeybeing the top choice. At one time in ancient Rome, raisins were considered so valuable that two jars could buy a slave. In the 13th century, Damascus had quite a reputation for their sweet raisins.The majority of the world’s supply of raisins comes from California, dried from Thompson seedless (95 percent), muscadine, or Black Corinth (Zante) grapes. In 1873, California suffered a devastating drought which literally dried the grapes on the vine. Looking to recoup some of the grape crop, an enterprising marketer in San Francisco sold the dried and shriveled grapes as “Peruvian Delicacies,” and the California raisin industry was off and running.

Most raisins are dried naturally by the sun right in the vineyards, although some are mechanically dehydrated. Once sun-dried, a process taking two to four weeks, they are then graded, cleaned, and packed. Some raisins are kept golden in color by the use of sulfur dioxide (sulfites).




3 cups raisins

Boiling water

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Whipping cream, for garnish


1.)   Roll out one crust and line an 8-inch pie plate with it. Roll out the second crust and set aside.

2.)   Place the raisins in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 15 minutes. Drain and return raisins to the bowl.

3.)   Add the sugar, flour, lemon zest, and vanilla to the raisins. Stir until thoroughly combined and set aside until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.

4.)   Dump the raisins into the prepared pie plate. Dot with the butter and season with the nutmeg. Top the raisins with the second pie crust, crimp the edges, and trim the excess dough. Pierce the top crust all over with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5.)   While the pie is chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

6.)   Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until golden, 30 to 40 minutes more. If the pie crust begins to darken too much, cover the edge with a collar of aluminum foil.

7.)   Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm toped with whipping cream.


About Chef Noah

Noah was born in the village of Barnesville, Lawrence County, Tennessee in 1926. His parents were George and Rettie Belew. He was the fifth of six children born to his parents - four males and two females. Noah is the last living member of his Tennessee family. His parents were farmers. They owned a rocky-hilly farm of about 75 acres adjacent to Saw Creek in Barnesville. Their farm's working tools were mules, plows, wagons, hoes, etc. This was before tractors, and even if tractors were available, they could not have been used on the hills where the Belews farmed. Noah has come a long way since the days when he lived on the family farm. Today instead of pushing a plow, he cruises the Florida Gulf Coast, steering his shiny 21st Century Lincoln TownCar during the week and his Mercedes-Benz on weekends. He grows older and wiser, but he continues to be young-at-heart.
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