Southern Lady Magazine

Baking Sweets and Cherished Memories from the Kitchen, an Essay

 

Illustrations by Judy Jamieson.

By Ann Dorer

In summer when I was a girl, my mother would make the most delectable peach pie in the South—and probably the world. This, according to me.

The fresh Georgia peaches she used in her pie were sweet perfection. And Mama always made her own flaky piecrust, using the recipe she first found on the blue label of her shortening can.

Sometimes when Mama had a few cut-up peaches that didn’t fit into her pie and had some extra pie dough, she would let me make a little pie. I think I basically just scraped the sugared peaches into the crust. I might have dotted the top of the peaches with bits of butter. I most likely got to sprinkle the top crust with sugar once Mama put the crust over the peaches in her pie. My memory is fuzzy on these details.

What I will always remember, however, is that when Daddy tasted my little pie, he always declared that it was the best. I was so proud.

A few years back, I ate one of those store-bought snack-size pecan pies and discovered it was baked in a small pie tin. This, I knew immediately, I had to save.

So last week when my 5-year-old granddaughter picked all the blueberries on our bushes, making a total of 14 berries, I was ready. I had the perfect pie tin for my Maggie to bake a little pie in.

I halved the recipe Mama always used to make her pie crust. Maggie sugared—quite heavily—the berries. I helped her use a little rolling pin to roll out the dough. She dotted—some may call it clumped—butter on the berries. We put on the top crust, and Maggie “lightly” sugared it—a lot.

When my husband came home, Maggie’s little pie was baked and ready to be tasted. Granddaddy took a bite, and with no prompting declared, “This pie is the best!”

Oh, my Maggie was so proud—and me, too.

Every few weeks, former editor and consummate Southern lady Ann Dorer shares her reflections on life in our beloved region. See her previous essay on Becoming a Southern Lady for more of her thoughts on the feminine characteristics we love to celebrate.