Although whoopie pies have been in the news lately and have been popping up in bakeries left and right, there is nothing like a big slice of real pie, with a flaky pastry crust and a filling from fruit to custard. Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies is a cookbook devoted to classic pies of all kinds. The recipes in the book are based those sold at the popular Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant and Bakery in Staunton, Virginia, a family restaurant that is over a half century old and that sells more than 35,000 homemade pies to loyal fans every year.
The charming cookbook starts out with the history of the pies that Mrs Rowe herself made, the pies that put the family restaurant on the map. The restaurant still keeps up the tradition of top notch pies today, but reading the descriptions of the “queen of pie’s” creations puts you so in the mood for homemade pie that you can almost smell that buttery crust baking. Aside from the history lesson, the introduction to the book contains lots of pie making tips and includes a good amount of detail about the terminology behind the recipes, detailing how to cut in butter and use other techniques. The conversational style almost makes you feel as if your grandmother (or Mrs Rowe herself) were helping you along, which is especially helpful if you’re a novice making some of your first forays into pie making.
The recipes themselves are well written and very diverse. The book is broken up by type of pie and includes chapters on Fruit, Berry and Nut Pies; Cream and Custard Pies; Frozen and Icebox Pies; and Pies for the Cupboard. The last chapter includes things like Brownie Pie and Shoofly Pie, pies that don’t quite fit into the other categories. There are many lovely photos throughout the book, but it is the homey feel of it that will really motivate you to get in the kitchen and try some of the recipes out yourself.