Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies
By Mollie Cox Bryan;
(Ten Speed Press, Hardcover, 9781580089807, 128pp.)
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
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Legendary Recipes from Virginia's Queen of Pie Mrs. Rowe, known fondly as "the Pie Lady" by legions of loyal customers, was the quintessential purveyor of all-American comfort food. Today her family carries on this legacy at the original Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant and Bakery in Staunton, Virginia, as well as at the new country buffet. The restaurant's bustling take-out counter sells a staggering 100 handmade pies every day! With the pies being snapped up that quickly, it's no wonder that Mrs. Rowe urged her customers to order dessert first. In Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies, recipes for Southern classics like Key Lime Pie and Pecan Fudge Pie sit alongside restaurant favorites like French Apple Pie and Original Coconut Cream Pie. Additional recipes gathered from family notebooks and recipe boxes include regional gems like Shoofly Pie and Lemon Chess Pie. With berries and custards and fudge--oh my!--plus a variety of delectable crusts and toppings, this mouthwatering collection offers a little slice of Southern hospitality that will satisfy every type of sweet tooth--and convince even city slickers to take the time to smell the Fresh Peach Pie.
Mollie Cox Bryan is an award-winning writer, essayist, and columnist. She has written for GRIT magazine, Relish magazine, Taste of the South magazine, NPR's "Kitchen Window," the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Sun-Times, and parenting magazines across the country. The author of Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook, she is also a family life columnist for the Daily News Leader in Staunton, Virginia. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Waynesboro, Virginia.
THE AUTHOR SCOOP
What was your first job?
I worked at a little country restaurant/truck stop called "Mary's" in Raccoon Township. I scooped ice cream and made donuts, which I loved because I could make the icing any color I wanted and decorate it creatively. Eventually I was fired for my inefficiency–I used too many nuts and sprinkles.
Do you eat your vegetables?
I am a vegetarian and can't think of a vegetable that I don't like.
Who would you cast as yourself in a movie of your life?
Mrs. Rowe–Maggie Gyllenhaal
Are you "six degrees of separation" away from anyone famous?
My grandfather's cousin was Jean Harlow.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I've always been a writer, but I have had some other ambitions, like dancing and acting. One time, when I was 14 or 15, the circus came to town and I decided I wanted to join as an acrobat. I even got the application, and filled it out, but because I was under age, I needed my mother's legal consent. Of course, that did not happen.
Writer and poet Bryan follows up 2006's Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook by zeroing in on the Virginia establishment's highly lauded desserts. Bryan's compilation of 65 recipes hits all the sweet spots, offering reliable standards like peach, blueberry, coconut cream and sweet potato pies, as well as caramel coconut, german chocolate and watermelon variations. Though most of the recipes are basic, achieving the perfect crust isn't; Bryan offers patient tutelage and step-by-step photos, but acknowledges that Mrs. Rowe's technique took years to master. Even experienced pie makers should pick up a trick or two; Virginia's Almost Impossible Coconut Pie, for instance, has no crust--the custard filling creates a firm outer layer when baked. Those looking to tweak their crust might want to consider cream cheese, which makes a tangier product than butter and flour alone. Bakers stymied by weeping meringues, meanwhile, will be comforted by the restaurant's "weepless" version, bolstered with salt and cornstarch. Seasoned pie pros and newbies will both find this ode to southern desserts a helpful and lasting resource. (July)
--Publishers Weekly, 6/8/09
"Those pies! Man, oh, man. Like no other. She made a butterscotch pie that we would buy whole and take up to my granny's in Bluefield, West Virginia. I can taste it now." --Kendra Bailey Morris, "Accidental Chef" columnist, Richmond Times Dispatch