What's in Season

Late-Summer Pies

Whether you’re craving salty or sweet, these three easy-to-master pies will help you savor summer and welcome fall

Illustration: John Burgoyne

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.

Perfect Pie Crust

A simple, universal recipe from Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery


    • 4 cups all-purpose flour

    • 1 tbsp. sugar

    • 1 tsp. salt

    • 10 oz. cold unsalted butter, cubed

    • 1 cup very cold water

James Beard–nominated pastry chef Phoebe Lawless, of Scratch Bakery in Durham, North Carolina, says there are two secrets to perfect piecrust: practice and good-quality unsalted butter. Her simple, universal recipe works with sweet and savory pies.



  1. In a food processor, mix flour, sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined. Cut butter into dry ingredients and pulse until a coarse, peppercorn-size meal forms. Transfer into a large bowl.

  2. With a fork, incorporate small amounts of water into the mix, about 3 to 4 tablespoons at a time, just until dough is slightly moist and holds together when clumped.

  3. Gather dough into a large mound on a clean work surface. Cut into 4 equal portions and shape into balls. Wrap each in plastic and press into 1-inch-thick flat rounds, making sure no dough is exposed. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or freeze up to 2 months.

  4. To roll pastry, remove dough from fridge and let stand 10 to 15 minutes. (If frozen, defrost in fridge overnight.) Liberally flour work surface, pastry, and rolling pin, and roll dough from the center outward, rotating it 10 to 15 degrees after each press. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Once dough is roughly 10 to 11 inches in diameter, roll it all onto pin and transfer onto pie dish. Press lightly to form, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Tuck edges under and crimp. Fill as desired.

Recipe from Phoebe Lawless of Scratch Bakery in Durham, North Carolina

Tomato Pie

In time for the season, Drew Robinson of Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q in Birmingham, Alabama, shares his recipe for tomato pie


    • 4 shallots, minced

    • 3 garlic cloves, minced

    • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

    • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

    • 9-inch pie shell

    • 1 lb. assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

    • 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

    • 1/2 oz. fresh basil chiffonade

    • 1 tbsp. Grenache vinegar

    • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

    • 1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

    • Salt and pepper

In summer’s fleeting moments, a few heirloom tomatoes—Brandywines, Cherokee Purples, Green Zebras—are still thriving and make for a vibrant filling. “This recipe is an old-fashioned tomato pie with the lightness of a tomato salad,” Robinson says.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In a small pan, sauté shallots and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in mustard, and set aside.

  3. Place pastry shell in a 9-inch pie dish. Layer in half of the tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper; spread shallot mixture over top. Add goat cheese and half of the basil, distributing evenly. Layer in remaining tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and vinegar over the tomatoes; top with remaining basil.

  4. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle evenly over tomato filling.

  5. Bake 30 minutes, or until topping and crust are golden brown.

Recipe from Drew Robinson of Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q in Birmingham, Alabama.

Apple Pie

Made with Empire apples, this is a delicious take on the American classic


    • 1 large egg yolk

    • 1 tbsp. heavy cream

    • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

    • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

    • 1/4 cup flour

    • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

    • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

    • 1/4 tsp. salt

    • 3 lbs. Empire apples, peeled and sliced

    • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

    • 1/2 cup toasted pecans

    • 2 9-inch pie shells

Set up in a thrift shop storage space in 2009, the former Pie Lab in Greensboro, Alabama, churned out some of the South’s tastiest pies (while teaching area youths to bake). Among its best sellers was this pie made with Empire apples, which mature in September and October.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and cream and set aside.

  3. To make filling, mix lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Add in apple slices and toss to coat. Dot with butter. Fold in pecans.

  4. Place a pastry shell in a 9-inch pie dish. Add filling. Top with second shell and crimp edges to seal, removing excess dough. Brush top shell with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and cut several small slits to ventilate.

  5. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

  6. Optional Topping: 
    Serve pie slices warm, and finish with a generous drizzle of heavy cream and a spoonful of whole cranberry sauce.

Recipe from Kelley and Seaborn Whatley of PieLab in Greensboro, Alabama

Raspberry Pie

Avis Renshaw of Mom’s Apple Pie Company, Leesburg, VA brings ripe raspberries to the table


    • 1 cup plus 3 1/2 tbsp. sugar

    • 1/4 cup cornstarch

    • 1 lb. raspberries

    • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

    • 2 9-inch pie shells

    • 1 egg

When raspberries ripen in September, Renshaw (the “Mom” in Mom’s Apple Pie) lets the sweet fruit star in her pies. “I told my daughter to fill my mouth with fresh raspberries when I die,” she says, “because they are the one earthly pleasure I want to take with me.” momsapplepieco.com


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar and cornstarch.

  3. In a medium bowl, toss raspberries with lemon juice; add sugar mixture and stir to combine.

  4. Place a pastry shell in a 9-inch pie dish. Add in berry filling. Top with second shell—either solid with slits cut in or woven into a lattice pattern—crimping edges with your fingers or a fork to seal.

  5. In a small bowl, gently whisk egg with remaining sugar until just combined. Paint mixture onto top shell, taking care to avoid the outer edge.

  6. Bake 15 minutes at 425; then reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake 25 to 35 minutes longer.

  7. The pie is ready when the filling has been boiling for at least 5 minutes.

  8. Optional Topping:
    Dust the top crust with a sprinkling of large sugar granules before baking. Or forgo the second shell altogether and opt for a cobbler-style nut-crumb topping instead.

Recipe from Avis Renshaw of momsapplepieco.com