Given the abundance of crops currently in the field, there’s no better time to bake a pie, says Phoebe Lawless, owner and chef of Scratch Bakery in Durham, North Carolina. Emptying the produce drawer into a pie shell is a long-standing Dixie tradition. “There isn’t this history of urban neighborhood bakeries in the South, because back in the day most of the baking was done at home, and recipes and technique were passed down in the family,” Lawless says. “Pies have long been an easy way to put supper or a sweet dessert on the table.” Lawless wasn’t always a pie guru. She came into baking later in life while working with renowned Magnolia Grill pastry chef Karen Barker. “It was her appreciation of pie that opened my eyes to it as a legitimate category of baking,” says Lawless, who recently received a James Beard Award nomination for her pastry prowess. “In a way, pies are the perfect baked goods because they let you incorporate ingredients that are readily available, and the long growing season in the South provides access to incredible produce year-round.”
Use her piecrust recipe (below)—an ideal vessel for any of these three fresh fillings—to savor the changing seasons, slice by slice.