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Category Archives: Southern Pies

Lemon Meringue Pie

After much research, my search is over for the perfect lemon meringue pie recipe! I have baked this several times for family and friends. Each time, people go back for seconds and there are no leftovers. Southern in origin, lemon meringue is a great year-round pie and ideal for any occasion. It is traditional while still adding an element of surprise for your dinner guests.

(Original Source: AllRecipes.com: “Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie”)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tblp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla for meringue

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Lemon Filling:

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt.
  • Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil.
  • Stir in butter.
  • Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually mix in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture.
  • Bring to a boil and continue to stir constantly until thick.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Pour into baked pastry shell.

Meringue:

  • In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy.
  • Add sugar and vanilla gradually, and continue to whip until soft peaks form.
  • Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

Chef’s Tips:

  • Do NOT over-cook lemon filling! The filling should be thick, but pourable. If the filling boils too long, the water will evaporate and you will lose liquid and volume. I learned this the hard way.
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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Desserts, Pies, Southern Pies, Summer Pies

 

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

(Original source: About.com “Southern Food” Recipes)

One of my culinary goals this summer is to expand my repertoire of pie recipes. You might think that with all the family recipes on this website I would have easy access to a recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie, but not so! After much Google-searching, I finally found the one you see below. I almost tried a recipe from Martha Stewart’s catalog, but did not feel like spending 6 hours preparing a pie. This recipe is quick, simple, and the orange zest adds a pleasant tangy flavor. I suggest making strawberry rhubarb pie in early summer when rhubarb is ripe and available in many major supermarkets.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  • Pastry for a 2-crust 9-inch pie *
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups 1/2 inch pieces fresh rhubarb
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind/zest (optional) *
  • 1 tablespoon butter

* You may make your own crust or buy a prepared one. You also have the option of creating a lattice-style crust.

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl mix together the sugar, tapioca, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  • Add the rhubarb, strawberries, and orange rind and stir until the mixture coats the spoon.
  • Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.
  • Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry; spoon in the strawberry rhubarb mixture.
  • Dot the top of the strawberry rhubarb mixture with the butter.
  • Cover the pie with rolled out pastry; crimp edges.
  • Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until crust is browned.
  • Serve pie warm with with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Chef’s Tip:
If the pie comes out runny, pop it in the refrigerator overnight to allow the ingredients to solidify.

 

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Chocolate Chess Pie

Aunt Gail 

Chocolate Chess is another Southern pie. This recipe is originally from my paternal grandmother Inez who died long before I was born. Although I never had the opportunity to meet her, I have enjoyed many of Inez’s recipes through Aunt Gail’s cookbook, No Matter What, Just Keep On Cooking!

Below, is the story behind this pie as told by Aunt Gail:

“When I was in high school, living on the Franklin Turnpike in Danville, VA, my mother made us this after-school treat every day. And every day, Tommy, Pam, and I devoured a whole pie…before dinner!* I can still remember anticipating it as we came home on the school bus. Pam wasn’t old enough for school yet, but we, out of the graciousness of our hearts, included her in this marvelous concoction! And my kids enjoyed it just as much when I carried on the tradition. (However, I didn’t make it every day)!” 

*Dad insists he and his sisters did not eat pie every day, but regardless of whose memory is correct, the story is sweet!

Preparation Time:
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • ½ stick margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 (8 inch) pastry shell, unbaked

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine sugar, flour, and eggs; beat well.
  • Melt the margarine and add the cocoa, salt, and flavoring.
  • Combine the egg mixture with the cocoa mixture.
  • Pour filling into the unbaked pastry shell and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Bake for the first 15 minutes at 400 degrees and then at 350 degrees for the remainder of the time.

Chef’s Tips:

  • Aunt Gail says “most of the time, Mother never made a topping for the pie;” however, you may cover with meringue if you wish.
  • Use an aluminum pie pan for an 8 inch pie.

 
 

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Key Lime Pie

Aunt Gail

If Aunt Gail’s sweet potato is my favorite pie, her key lime is a close second favorite. Every time I visited her, she had a key lime pie waiting for me. This is another serious Southern pie, native to the Florida keys and is very easy to make. It is also inexpensive and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. I like to decorate my pie with lime slices.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: See note in final instructions.

Ingredients:Key Lime Pie

Filling

  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 can condensed (sweetened) milk
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 3 egg yolks

Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions:

Filling

  • Pour sweetened, condensed milk into a bowl.
  • Add juice.
  • Add egg yolks & stir until smooth.  Pour into pie crust.

Meringue

  • Place egg whites in a large, very clean bowl. Beat with mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.
  • Add sugar gradually, while beating.  When you can turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out, you’re done.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Spread meringue on pie, mounding it.  Make sure it touches all edges of the crust.

Final Instructions

  • Aunt Gail insists that she only bakes her pie “in preheated 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned.” However, whenever I have done this, I end up with key lime pudding. So, I follow the baking time from The Joy of Cooking which says to bake key lime pie for 35 minutes at 350 degrees which has worked well for me.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the pie to thicken. If you are in a hurry, pop the pie in the freezer for 20-30 minutes and then refrigerate.

Chef’s Tips:

  • Juice: Aunt Gail says you can mix limes with lemons to add variety. I like to stick with limes. Key limes are best if available. If not, you can buy bottled key lime juice at a specialty grocery store like Whole Foods. If all else fails, bottled non-key lime juice will suffice, but it isn’t as authentic.
  • Meringue: Any grease in the bowl or on the beaters will interfere with the beating of the egg whites.  Make sure both bowl & beaters are very clean.
 

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Sweet Potato Pie

Aunt Gail

Truly a Southern pie, this is my favorite dessert, period. Aunt Gail was a marvelous cook and she never made a dish I did not enjoy. My step grandmother Martha Webster Thompson made the best sweet potato pie on earth and used to serve it to me with sweet tea while I did my homework at her house in Martinsville, VA as a kid. Unfortunately, none of us ever got Martha’s recipe, but Aunt Gail’s comes very close.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-50 minutes

Ingredients:Sweet Potato Pie

Dry

  • 1 ½ cups mashed sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs. potatoes)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Wet

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups evaporated milk (large can)

Instructions:

  • Combine dry ingredients.
  • Beat eggs with milk.
  • Mix all together and blend until smooth.
  • Heat filling in a sauce pan until almost boiling, and then pour into an unbaked pie crust.
  • Bake 15 minutes at 425; reduce heat to 350 & bake 15-20 minutes more.

Chef’s Tip:
If possible, use organic sweet potatoes. You will notice an enormous difference in the flavor of the pie.

 

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