Have Green Tomatoes, Make Pie

are never any leftovers of this flavorful pie at Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant and
Bakery Staunton, Va. Customers look forward to it—such a short season—with its
robust spice and vinegar flavors,
perfectly mingled with an underlying sweetness. The flavors unfold with every
Long-time regular customers know to get to the restaurant early enough
to enjoy a slice.  If the green tomato season
slips by, try tomatillos instead. This pie also works as a side dish with pork chops, chicken or veggie burgers.

you’d like another way to use your green tomatoes, check out my other blog for
a sandwich spread recipe.)

two 10-inch pies.

12 cups of mincemeat

recipes pie crust (You will need a top and bottom crust for both pies.)


pounds green tomatoes (or tomatillos) 

3 1/2
pounds apples

pounds brown sugar

pounds seedless raisins

tablespoon salt

2 ½
tablespoons cinnamon

teaspoons ground allspice

tablespoon nutmeg

tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/4
cups vinegar

the tomatoes though a food chopper. Add
salt and let stand for one hour. Drain
the tomatoes and add water, enough to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for five
minutes. Drain. Pare,
core, and chop the apples until very fine. Add
the tomatoes and other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Bring
to a boiling point and simmer for one hour. Stir frequently to keep from
burning on bottom of the pan. Cool. This will take about 3 hours at room
temperature. This
will keep in refrigerator or will freeze well.

oven to 425°F. 

the unbaked pie shell with mincemeat (approximately 5 cups).   Cover with top crust and seal

at 425°F for 15 minutes.

temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for 35 minutes.

for 2 hours at room temperature before serving.

Pie Drunk Days

This past
Saturday as a fateful event for me—it was the first time I have ever reached my
fill of my much-loved dessert of choice.

Cvillepiefest (http://www.cvillepiefest.com) took place on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Mudhouse in Crozet, Va.
The “piebrainchild” of 

Steve Whitaker, Brian
Geiger, and Marijean Jaggers,

Cvillepiefest, the
grassroots fundraising event was a great success, with well over 100 people
attending and countless pie
competitors. The count was more than any of us expected—there
were many, many last minute entrants.

I lost trck of
the number of cream pies I tasted. There were three categories: fruit, cream,
and nut and other. I volunteered with six other pie lovers to judge the cream
pies. The pies I tasted were pretty good—even the one that I think sent
me over the edge, which was the Turkish Mocha Delight. Any other time, I could
sit alone with that pie and really get to know it intimately. But it was
probably pie number 10 for me and one of the richest, deepest-flavored pies
I’ve ever eaten. I think it had coffee in it—as well as
plenty of cardamom and dark chocolate. 
About 10 minutes after eating it, I was peeling off my sweater and holding on to the table because the
room was spinning. Someone said I looked green. For the rest of the day, I was completely, well, pie drunk.

But, as all good
pie people must, I kept going. Eventually, I had to break away to sign some
books. I understand that I missed the last eight pies. Did you read that? The
last EIGHT pies. I am grateful for it. I don’t think I could have eaten another
bite. Thank goodness for my book signing duties.

most important part of the event was that we raised money for PACEM, which is
an interfaith, community-based, grassroots organization that helps to house the
homeless in Charlottesville. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to chat with
them, but what an awesome, inspiring group.

also didn’t get a chance to chat with many of my pie comrades who organized the
event. It really was jam-packed and difficult to have meaningful conversations.
I really have to mention three of them here. Brian Geiger, (aka The Food Geek)

who was the previous Charlottesville pie champ, stepped up and assumed the role
of head judge. He wrote a beautiful piece on what to look for in a pie when
you’re judging it. (His wife Melanie graciously accepted the role of money-taker and organizer.) Elizabeth McCullough (another judge and pie-loving writer) helped him out on his
tallying duties. Marijean Jaggers, to me, represents the spirit behind the
whole piefest.

She probably baked more pies than anyone for the charity and is
an incredible pie baker. (I am still wanting that butterscotch pecan pie recipe
of hers.) She and Brian were the original pie competitors that got the ball
rolling. And then there’s Steve Whitaker

—an endearing, personable young man who
organized the event, taking care of countless details, and of course, getting
his share of pie.

We all love our pie.

few words about the winning pie—a lemon chiffon that was like a fresh breeze in
my mouth. Simple in it’s elegance. It says a lot that the pie that won out of A
LOT of other pies was this basic. Yet, to make a lemon chiffon is easy, but to
master it? Hmm. Well, that’s another matter. The graham cracker crust was
perfect in texture and flavor against the smooth, silky lemon chiffon. As the
pie cutter, I noted how it sliced easily and came out of the plate perfectly.
The baker also placed raspberries around the edges. I was lucky enough to get one
bite of it all—raspberry, lemon chiffon, and graham cracker.

were some other notable pies for me. If I had to pick the winner myself, it
would have been the coconut cream, which to my taste, surpassed the lemon
chiffon. I also really loved one of the pumpkin pies—I’m sure it was made with
fresh pumpkin and wow, what a difference it makes. The other pie that stands
out, of course, it Marijean’s butterscotch pecan. I didn’t judge the nut pie
category, but I did get a bite of this incredible pie. The butterscotch added a
really deep flavor. The drunken nut pie that won that category must have been
fabulous. The fruit pie winner was “roadhouse” apple, which I didn’t get a
chance to sample.

think it’s worth noting that the winning pies were not pies with countless complicated
flavors and ingredients. Mike DiGrassie, owner of Mrs. Rowe’s often tells me
that, that the best Southern cooking is always kept simple—and that holds true
for pies, Southern or not.

Five things I thoought during my morning run:

1.Tink and her fear of bus tires. Every morning she barks like a mad dog at the school bus tires. this morning there is a tour bus sitting at my neighbor's hours (his a driver) and we had to walk on the other side of the street. She wouldn't go near it.

2. Olive Kittridge is so good so far. MAN!

3. I hope we go to Rowe's this morning. I could use some of those pumpkin pancakes.

4. Steve knowing Mike Tomlin.  Wow. The more I get to know Steve, the more I think he should really meet my husband. And also–he could SO be a stand-up comedy guy.

5. My memoir proposal is done–all I need is to work on the essays a bit more and figure out which ones to send as part of the package. I read a bit to my mom from the overview. She actually liked it. I have a list of mom's kitchen rules or ways. One of them is "Low fat, my ass." Her only comment is "Change that, please to 'low-fat, to my foot.' I don't want people to think I have a gutter mouth." But…Ma…

Mollie Cox Bryan


Mollie has just signed a book contract with Kensington Publishing for THREE books. The first book, MAGGIE RAE’S SCRAPBOOKS, will be published in 2012;  the second book, SCRAPBOOK OF SHADOWS, will be out in 2012, and so on. The mystery series is set in a small Southern town and centers around a group of women who get together to scrapbook and, as it turns out, to solve mysteries. Recipes will be included, of course! For more information about my fiction, click on My Fiction Life in the side panel. And stay tuned for some exciting changes!


Mollie’s Cookbooks

MRS. ROWE’S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIES was recently named one of the Best Cookbooks of 2009 —All Foods Considered, Rose Kennedy.

It was also named in a “New York Times” list of Summer 2009 Cookbooks to Watch.

Other blurbs and mentions:

“Talking with Bryan about pie is like talking with Michael Pollan about organic chicken,” Bethanne Patrick, The Book Studio. Cover SPIE-jpeg

“Bryan’s compilation of 65 recipes hits all the sweet spots,” Publisher’s Weekly

“For the perfect pies of summer, the freezer trumps the oven every time with frosty confections in flavors like peanut, strawberry daiquiri and grasshopper. In “Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies” (Ten Speed Press. $16.95),  Mollie Cox Bryan offers a well-chilled batch of freezer sweets, plus tips for preparing them with ease. ” New York Daily News

“Buy this book, a rolling pin, Pyrex pie plate and a 5-pound bag of all-purpose flour and you’ll be on your way to being a pie king or queen,” TheCityCook.com


“More than just a cookbook, this collection of recipes, notes, memories, and tips tells the story of the Virginia diner that became a landmark for travelers and the benchmark for pie,” Southern Lady Magazine.

MRS. ROWE’S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIES (Ten Speed Press, 2009) a sweet collection of 60 pie recipes and slices of local life is available  on Amazon and from the publisher at Tenspeedpress.com.

Mollie is also the author of MRS. ROWE’S RESTAURANT COOKBOOK: A LIFETIME OF RECIPES FROM THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY  (Ten Speed Press, 2006), a narrative cookbook that tell s the story of a woman who grew up in the hills of Virginia on a struggling family farm and went on to build Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant and Bakery—one of Virginia’s most successful family-run restaurants.

Library Journal says it’s one of the top ten narrative cookbooks.


Saveur Magazine listed it as one of top five cookbooks in a 2006 list of Christmas gift suggestions.

DSC_0068 Mollie is an essayist, columnist, freelance writer, and cookbook author. Her essays have appeared on NPR’s Kitchen Window, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Sun Times,  Relish Magazine, as well as in several regional parenting magazines across the country. Her articles have appeared in  Grit MagazineTaste of the South Magazine, and Virginia Living, the Roanoker, German Life, and Blue Ridge Traditions. She’s a regular contributor on NPR’s WVTF.  Before working as a freelancer, Mollie was employed in the Washington, D.C., area, holding various positions in editing, writing, and communications. She’s won awards for newsletter writing and poetry. She is a member of American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).

For press and event bookings, please contact Kristin Casemore at Kristin.Casemore@tenspeed.com.

Click here for Mollie’s newest blog Kitchen Queen of Fish Pot Road

CHECK OUT the latest details about MRS. ROWE’S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIE (Ten Speed Press, 2009) on her the blog. Click on the side panel!

For more information about Mollie Cox Bryan, the author of the book, click the side panel “About”  or contact publicity@tenspeedpress.com. She can also be contacted at molliebryan@comcast.net. She is represented by The Miller Agency. For more information on the restaurant, contact Mike DiGrassie at 540-886-1833.

You can find Mollie on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

She is a proud memeber of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). She will be moderating a panel at their national conference in April 2011. 2011ModBadge