I ran across a listing of the oldest restaurants in each of these states:
Alabama: Bright Star in Bessemer
Georgia: Plaza in Thomasville
Louisiana: Antoine’s in New Orleans
Mississippi: Weidmann’s in Meridian
Tennessee: Varallo’s in Nashville
Texas: Scholz Garten in Austin
Thankfully we have Bright Star all the time (snapper throats!) and Antoine’s is also a favorite, and Weidmann’s reminded me of the dish they’re best-known for: black-bottom pie.
Doing some research, I found the recipe for theirs, tweaked a little and printed in Delta Magazine, and the original is here at Mississippi Magazine.
I didn’t have gingersnaps so used those Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. Theirs is definitely prettier!
This was a good diversion, but if my family is in the mood for chocolate pie, they 100% will ask me to make my recipe for the Ollie’s Barbecue chocolate meringue pie:
That makes everyone happy. When I’m making tons of pies for distribution to the shelters in town for the holidays, I’ll sometimes include hot fudge pies or chocolate chess pie.
At the holidays, just for our table, I’ll do a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. In fact, I read a couple of weeks ago at VinePair about The Historical Reason Bourbon is used in American Desserts (there’s a splash of whiskey in that black bottom pie too). Likely a large part of the reason bourbon was included in old cookbooks? The availability of vanilla.
The article goes on to discuss Lane cake, Alabama’s official dessert, that according to the original recipe calls for 1/3 brandy or bourbon.
In today’s episode of MTV Cribs, we visit the refrigerator of Ginger, stocked with Lane cake and a jar of pickled okra.
From the VinePair article:
President Jimmy Carter, who grew up in neighboring Georgia, recalled holidays where Lane Cakes were at the forefront. “My father … would even make a couple of Lane cakes for Christmas,” Carter wrote in his 2004 memoir, “Christmas in Plains.” “Since this cake recipe required a strong dose of bourbon, it was just for the adult relatives, doctors, nurses, and other friends who would be invited to our house for eggnog.”
And while we’re on the topic of alcohol in desserts, let’s not forget that before too long it will be time to make fruitcake and the biggest reminder: if everything you put in the fruitcake is delicious, the fruitcake will be delicious (so don’t add jars of fruit menagerie that magically appear this time of year on grocery shelves — add things you like to snack on already). Also, adding chocolate chips is fun. And consider cupcakes rather than a loaf shape.
And don’t forget the bourbon.