We do love our pies here at StateEats, because, you know …. PIE!! The Black Bottom Pie is a Southern staple. This icebox pie is a very close cousin to the Mississippi Mud Pie, only without the nuts and
liquor. Usually made with a graham cracker crust (or sometimes a gingersnap crust), the black bottom is a chocolate cream layer made with both cocoa powder and chocolate chips. The Gaines Ridge Dinner Club in Camden, Alabama, is said to have a superb Black Bottom Pie. If you can’t make it there, try to get yourself invited to a church potluck or Sunday supper anywhere in the south. Chances are, someone’s grandma made a Black Bottom Pie.
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, is the site where Dr. Martin Luther King planned and led the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956 while he was pastor. Still a vibrant congregation, you can attend services or take a tour Tuesday through Saturday.
Black Bottom Pie
For the crust:
- 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve, blitzed in food processor)
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter, melted in microwave
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Salt, a pinch
For the filling:
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Salt, pinch
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
For the topping:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon sugar
- Chocolate shavings (optional)
For the crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and pinch of salt. Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes or until crust begins to slightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa powder, sugar, salt and cornstarch. In a slow stream, add milk and heat on medium, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Add chocolate chips and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and butter. Whisk until smooth and glossy. Pour filling into cooled pie crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
For the topping: In a medium bowl, add heavy cream and beat with electric mixer on high until mixture begins to thicken. Add sugar and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Add whipped cream on top of chocolate filling. Add chocolate shavings (a vegetable peeler on the edge of a chocolate bar works well) if desired.
Barbeque sauce takes on a different meaning depending where you are in the country. North Carolina has their vinegar based sauce. South Carolina likes their mustard based sauce. Kansas City sauce is on the sweeter side with the addition of brown sugar and/or
molasses, while Memphis BBQ sauce is a little more balanced. And the Texans, they like to add tomato sauce or tomato paste to their barbeque sauce.
Now comes Alabama White Barbeque Sauce. This mayo-based sauce was created by Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama and will elevate your barbequed chicken to something near heavenly. Bonus points for being super easy to whip up with ingredients you probably have on hand, this is one unique sauce that you need to try.
Get your Great Gatsby on by visiting the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, a house the couple rented in the 1930s. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday.
Alabama White BBQ Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, shaved on a microplane
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and whisk together. Spoon over chicken or pork after it is cooked. This will keep up to 2 weeks in refrigerator.
Summer, summer, summer. Ice cream cones, lazy days at the pool, catching fireflies at dusk. And tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. If you garden, this might be about the time you start wondering what to do
with your surplus of the red juicy orb. Tomato Pie is just the ticket. This very southern dish dates back to the 1830s. We gussied up the traditional version to include sautéed onions, garlic, basil and feta cheese which plays so nicely with tomatoes. One thing we dared not mess with is the mayo/cheese topping which bakes into a layer of gooey goodness. Serve with a green salad and maybe some grilled chicken sausages and you’ve got yourself a darn good meal.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a museum and cultural center that highlights the role of the city in the civil rights movement beginning in the 1950s.
Tomato Pie with Basil and Feta
- 1¼ cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons shortening
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 ½ lbs. tomatoes
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Basil, diced
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup mayonnaise
For crust: Place all ingredients except water in food processor and blend until fine crumbs are formed. Add water a little at a time until the dough is moist and forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use (can be made a day ahead). Roll out onto floured surface, adding a bit of flour at a time if the dough is too sticky. Gently lift into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edge. Set aside.
For filling: Slice tomatoes thinly and place in colander. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside for approximately 10 minutes.
In the meantime, cook onion over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and continue cooking until onion is just beginning to brown and garlic is fragrant.
With a paper towel, blot tomatoes until most of liquid is removed. Combine cheeses. Reserve ¾ cup for topping. Mix this ¾ cup cheese with ½ cup of mayonnaise. Set aside.
Put one third of the cheese in the bottom of the pie plate. Sprinkle with one third of the onion mixture, then one third of the tomatoes. Season tomatoes with pepper. Finish with a sprinkling of basil. Repeat this step two more times so that there are three layers. Cover top of pie with the mayo/cheese mixture. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Let pie set 10 minutes before serving or serve at room temperature.
When you travel through the Heart of Dixie, as the state of Alabama is known, you’ll undoubtedly see fried green tomatoes listed as either a main course or a side dish on menus in dining establishments ranging from humble meat-and-three roadside diners to more upscale sit-down spots. The association between the dish and the state harks back to the 1991 movie of the
same name, set around the fictional Whistle Stop Café near Birmingham. Truth be told, we can’t actually say if the dish has its origins anywhere near Alabama, since it’s found on dinner tables throughout the South. But the hot, fried slices – which you can either pan-fry or deep-fry – have become undeniably associated with the state, courtesy of Fannie Flagg’s quintessentially Southern novel. If you’ve never tried this dish, what we can say for sure is that the pairing of fried cornmeal-flour batter with the tart and firm flesh of unripe fruit is irresistible – especially when served with a cool dipping sauce (we chose ranch dressing). Pour a glass of ice-cold sweet tea to go along with it, and you’ve got yourself some good eatin.’
If you’re headed to sweet home Alabama, check out the Whistlestop Festival in Irondale, September 27, 2014.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy of Phyllis Foster of Athens, Ala., used with permission.
- 4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk (or buttermilk)
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Pinch paprika
- Vegetable oil
- Ranch dressing for dipping
In a deep fryer, preheat oil to 350 degrees. Season tomatoes on both sides with salt and pepper.
Mix flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, beat eggs with the milk. First dredge tomatoes through the flour mixture, then the egg wash, and then back through the flour mixture again. Add only a few pieces to the fryer at a time, so pieces cook evenly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and serve with buttermilk ranch dressing.