Autumn means the smell of grape must, mustopita, which is an annual ritual dessert for our family!
(I revamped this recipe, that was originally posted on 14/10/2011.)
Grape is native to the Aegean region and its juice sometimes called as nectar of the gods.
The traditional mustopita (μουστόπιτα) or mustoalevria (μυστοαλευριά) recipe has wood ash in it. When I first heard that wood ash is used while making grape paste, I was astonished. But very interestingly, wood ash set offs the taste, makes the pudding more sweet, gives a distinctive flavour. Also wood ash neutralizes the grape must’s acidity.
This made me search the contents of a wood ash. I found out that soda and cream of tartar have a similar effect (but never the same delectable taste of a wood ash).
It is known from the ancient times that, wood ash is rich in potassium and it is an antibacterial.
- 1 lt freshly blended grape juice
- 2 T fireplace wood ash (clean and pure wood ash – no paper or other materials/additions)
- 4 T flour
- walnut (cut in big pieces)
Prepare the grapes (2 kg) by removing the stems. Wash and drain. Put them in a juicer or a blender and juice the fruit. 2 kg of grapes, approximately make 1 lt of grape juice.
Pour the grape juice in a pot.
Place the ash in a cheesecloth. Make the cheesecloth triple folded and bring the four corners together to make a knot.
Tie up the ash packed cheesecloth to a wooden spoon. Swing the wooden spoon into the grape juice pot and bring to boil.
When it comes to a full boil, remove the cheesecloth and set aside. Allow to rest overnight or at least 6 hours, to cool slowly.
Cover the sieve with a clean cheescloth and filter (strain) the grape juice.
Cook the filtered juice by stirring constantly over low heat until it boils.
At the same time, take 4-5 T. of grape juice in a separate bowl. Add 4 T. flour in it and beat until the flour dissolves to make a paste.
Then combine the paste to the simmering grape juice and stir well all together occasionally.
After about half an hour, the mixture begins to thicken. Skim off excess foam.
Add coarsely chopped walnuts. Rinse serving cups with cold water and pour the thick mustopita into them. It will thicken more as it cools.
Decorate with extra walnut on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.