From left: Scratch proprietor Phoebe Lawless; Apple pie. (Photos by Lissa Gotwals; Johnny Autry)
“I know the look of an apple pie that is roasting on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream.” So wrote Mark Twain in his autobiography. In the 1870s, toward the end of a long European tour, he compiled a lengthy list of all the American foodstuffs he would indulge in upon his return home, including no less than four variations of the humble dessert.
Like Twain, Southerners recognize the power of pie. We’ll pull out the rolling pin for almost any reason—to comfort a sick friend, to welcome a new neighbor, to attend a family reunion, to celebrate the holidays. There’s a pie for every season. In honor of National Pie Day, we rounded up some of our favorite Southern pie shops. After all, not everyone has a baker in the family.
PieLabGreensboro, AlabamaPie brings people together. That’s a fact PieLab founder and Alabama native Seaborn Whatley was counting on when he opened this shop, which also serves as a community center and employs at-risk youth, in tiny Greensboro, Alabama. Staples like chocolate chess, cherry, and bourbon pecan are made using Whatley’s grandmother’s crust recipe. And he’s not sharing—the recipe at least. You can have all the pie you like, though. Try, the signature apple.
Proper Pie Co.Richmond, VirginiaWhile you’ll find sweet standards like pumpkin, pecan, and lemon meringue, folks seek out this Richmond bakery for its savory offerings. New Zealand native Neil Smith serves up the hand-pies of his homeland, featuring simple straightforward ingredients. The popular chicken and kumara (the Kiwi name for sweet potato) pie includes those two ingredients, plus gravy and fresh tarragon.
Red Truck BakeryWarrenton and Marshall, VirginiaAt both locations of Brian Noyes’ Virginia bakery, you’ll find classic double-crust and Streusel crumb apple pie, pecan, chocolate bourbon-pecan, and savory traditional mincemeat year-round. As spring and summer bring fresh fruit to the kitchen, check for seasonal specialties. Ignore the calories and go ahead and tack on a hunk of their signature moonshine cake to your pie order.
Scratch BakingDurham, North CarolinaOwned and operated by pastry chef Phoebe Lawless—a four-time James Beard Award nominee—Scratch dishes out elevated Southern classics like brown butter pecan, heirloom apple, buttermilk, and sorghum shoo fly pies. This spring in the Bull City, Lawless will open the Lakewood, a casual neighborhood restaurant and bar serving lunch and dinner, along with a second Scratch location and a wholesale bakery to supply her sweet treats to area chefs.
Shaker lemon pie at Scratch. (Photo by Lissa Gotwals)
And one we hope reopens soon:
The Pie ShopAtlanta, GeorgiaWith more than a hundred flavors rotating through her menu, Atlanta baker Mims Bledsoe served a pie (fried, hand, whole, or bite-sized) to satisfy every sweet tooth. Last summer, though, she shuttered her popular Buckhead location and is still on the hunt for the perfect new home. Until she reopens, check her website for seasonal orders or whip up one of the watermelon chiffon pies she shared with G&G last summer. Find the recipe here.
What are your favorite Southern pie shops? Let us know in the comments below.
Article courtesy of Garden and Gun