Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes, from Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan (Anglais) Broché – 14 septembre 2010
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So far, I have only tried three recipes, the strawberry rhubarb pie, chocolate chess pie and chocolate angel pie.
The strawberry rhubarb was the best strawberry rhubarb pie I have ever made, and I bake several each year. I didn't have to prebake the crust or the filling, and it came out really good. The chocolate chess pie was creamy and good. The chocolate angel pie was my first angel pie ever. The chocolate layer really needs to be eaten with a bit of the meringue layer for all of the sweetness to work. I am still delighted with this book. None of the recipes so far have been disasters or bad. I made the Kentucky Bluegrass pie with Alaskan cowbush cranberries instead of regular cranberries, and it was wonderful.
The recipes in this book include chocolate pies, Nation of Islam style bean pies, summer fruit pies, fall fruit pies, Chess pies, buttermilk and sweet potato pies. There is a section describing how to make pie crusts. Readers have their choice of using butter, lard or canola oil crusts. The book is peppered throughout with real tips about baking pies and crusts.
The recipes in the book include:
Cliff Burton's New Orleans Lemon Pie
Pineapple Coconut Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Damson Plum Custard Pie
Egg Custard Pie
Irish Potato Pie
Sweet potato pie
Old-Time Chess Pie
Karen Wilcher's Buttermilk Chess Pie
Martha Hall Foose's Sweet Tea Pie
Strawberry Icebox Pie
Lattice top Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
Sandra Gutierrz's Peach-Pecan Pie
Virgina Willis's Fried Apple Pie
Muscadine Grape Hull Pie
Bluegrass Cranberry Pie
Shaker lemon Pie
Key Lime Pie
Black Walnut Pie
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Black Bottom Pie
Tar Heel Pie
and Joe Trull's Peanut Butter -Banana Cream Pie with Fudge Sauce
That list is only for about half of the pies in the book - you get a lot of pie recipes here. Some have ingredients that may be difficult to find if they are not available locally, like Muscadine Grape. Others, like the Chess and Bean pies, make great use of easily available ingredients.
I had never even heard of bean pie or chess pie before reading this book. I am really excited about trying out more of the recipes. I plan to come back and update this as I do!
I got interested in recreating authentic southern pecan pie after I enjoyed the house recipe while dining at the Eclectic Café in Memphis, TN (you really must go there if you're passing through Memphis). I picked up Southern Pies in the hopes that at least one of the pecan pie recipes contained within could approximate the fantastic pie served at Eclectic Café. I wanted to save my formal review of the cookbook until I'd attempted the pecan pie recipe but the results of the two recipes I have already tried have been so great that I didn't want to sit on my opinions any longer.
Hubby and I baked the Strawberry Rhubarb Lattice Pie a couple of weeks ago. The pie was perfectly sweet- not cloying but not tart either (if you like a more sour flavor you can cut the sugar back). It was also very pretty. It got such rave reviews in our house that we made it again last week for our brother and sister-in-law in Seattle while visiting them. I roped in my nephew as my sous chef and in no time at all the whole family was chowing down on the still warm pie fresh from the oven.
Earlier this week I tackled the Amazing Coconut Pie. This is a custard based coconut pie that forms its own crust during the baking. Very clever and it was quite tasty with a lot of coconut throughout the custard (I hate those wimpy coconut pies that have nothing more than a few sprinklings of coconut hidden under layers of other ingredients). For best results I recommend you use frozen coconut pulp (available at most Asian grocery stores) and not that dried out sweetened bagged junk in the baking aisle.
As mentioned above, I will probably attempt one of the pecan pie recipes next. But no reason to stop there - McDermott's cookbook is packed from cover to cover with creamy custard pies, ripe fruit pies, the usual meringue pie suspects, chess pies, and some interesting pies like bean pie or sweet potato pie. These aren't McDermott's original recipes by the way. She's used this book as a way to present some of the best southern pie recipes she's come across in her research, cleaning up the presentation and making slight modifications after taste testing the original recipes. She's done a great job assembling a master collection of pies and I understand that she has another book out that's done in a similar fashion aptly named Southern Cakes.
I recommend this cookbook without hesitation. And here's a bit of interesting trivia for you. While reading through this cookbook, my husband and I along with a friend of ours got into a friendly debate about what should top a cream pie (such as banana cream, coconut cream, or chocolate cream pie). Dear hubby and I both assert that obviously cream (whipped cream, or Chantilly cream as it is sometimes called) is the correct answer. Most southern cooks like McDermott however (and our friend, who is not from the south but from the midwest) think that a cream pie should be topped with meringue. It's definitely a cultural and regional preference; I didn't realize putting meringue on top of a cream pie was even an option till I started researching it. Better Homes and Garden cookbook opts for meringue while the Betty Crocker cookbook calls for cream. Martha Stewart prescribes cream for topping some of her cream pies but meringue for others. So the debate rages on. I would be interested to know what fellow readers have been raised to believe is the proper cream pie topping.
This beautiful book has thick, semi-glossy, splatter resistant pages for messy cooks like myself! It will stays open without force, making it easy to follow while cooking. The pages wipe clean easily as well. When splatter or spills occur, just wipe it clean before it dries.I love that! That feature is my another favorite of mine - second only to the astonishingly beautiful pictures.
If I owned a restaurant, I would frame the photos and mount in sight of each hungry customer! Offer them to purchase "to go" if you live in a resort area...people on vacation love having pies on hand without having to cook!
Seriously, 'Southern Pies' is worth buying for the pictures alone, a feature that makes it great gift for any recipe book lover. A must have for a cookbook lover's library.
Oh! About the recipes...
The recipes are well organized and the outcome of every one I've tried has been a big hit! Try serving the 'Muscadine Grape Hull Pie' at a social gathering - you might hear something like "somebody's Momma must be in the kitchen"! We southerners love our muscadines and this is the first time I've seen a recipe for muscadine HULLS! A 5 star winner!
My family & friends say the 'New Orleans Creole Coconut Pie' is *to die for*. It's on the 'request list' of several groups of friends & co-workers. I have many opportunities to try out new recipes and the results of each recipe in this book have been great! The only problem to note is that there are never any leftovers to take home!
Goodness gracious, southern ladies & gents, there are truly 'heavenly pies aplenty' in 'Southern Pies'. Loving the pies in Alabama, I highly recommend it.
If you don't like to cook, but love photography - here's your sign! Just buy it already!
I came back to edit my review - I took the Japanese Fruit Pie to a church dinner and was lucky to grab a piece for myself! It was delicious and was a big hit!