A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Savory: Carolina Dogs Calabash Shrimp Sweet Potato Biscuits with Country Ham Ham Hocks & Collard Greens Cheerwine Barbecued Chicken Crook’s Corner Shrimp & Grits Easy Pimento Cheese Chowchow Skillet Cornbread

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Savory: Carolina Dogs Calabash Shrimp Sweet Potato Biscuits with Country Ham Ham Hocks & Collard Greens Cheerwine Barbecued Chicken Crook’s Corner Shrimp & Grits Easy Pimento Cheese Chowchow Skillet Cornbread

18 Essential North Carolina Recipes

photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Carolina Dogs

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 4 to 8 servings.

1 pound ground beef
2 cups water (or 1 cup water and 1 cup cheap beer)
1½ cups finely chopped onion
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

½ small green cabbage (about 1 pound), halved and cored
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup finely grated onion
2½ teaspoons cider vinegar
⅓ to ½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
Ground black pepper, to taste

Hot Dogs and Buns:
8 hot dogs
8 hot dog buns, warmed
Yellow mustard
Finely chopped onion

For the chili: Stir together the beef and water in a large saucepan, crumbling the meat with a spoon. Bring to a boil, stirring to finish breaking up the meat.

Reduce the heat and stir in the onion, tomato paste, chili powder, Worcestershire, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the chili is thick, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the chili thickens, stir more often.

Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. The texture of the chili should be very fine, so mash the beef with a hand-held potato masher, or purée the chili in a blender or food processor, if needed. Reheat gently before serving.

For the slaw: Finely grate the cabbage on the large holes of a box grater to yield about 2½ cups shredded cabbage. Transfer to a colander and toss with the sugar and salt. Set the colander over a large bowl to collect drips, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Press firmly to squeeze out any remaining liquid. Transfer the cabbage to a large bowl.

Stir in the onion and vinegar. Add ⅓ cup of the mayonnaise and stir well. The slaw should be lightly and evenly coated. If the slaw is too dry, add a little more mayonnaise, a spoonful at a time. Season with pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Stir well before serving.

For the hot dogs: Place the hot dogs in a single layer in a large skillet and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until the hot dogs lightly plump, about 1 minute. Pour off the water and return skillet to the heat. Cook the hot dogs, turning as needed, until sizzling and browned on each side, about 8 minutes total.

To assemble, place the hot dogs in the buns. Spoon a generous amount of warm chili over the hot dogs. Run a bead of mustard over the chili. Top with slaw. Sprinkle with onions. Eat ’em up.

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photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Calabash Shrimp

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Peanut oil, for frying
2 large eggs
1 cup canned evaporated milk or whole milk
1 cup self-rising flour
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds large or medium-size shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
Tartar sauce and cocktail sauce

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a deep fryer or deep, heavy pot. Heat over medium-high heat until the temperature registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the oil at that temperature throughout the frying process.

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl.

In a second shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper.

Working in batches, coat the shrimp in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip away, and then coat lightly and evenly in the flour mixture.

Slip the shrimp into the hot oil, adding no more at one time than can float freely. Cook until the crust is crisp and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Transfer with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon to drain on paper towels or a brown paper bag. Sprinkle the piping hot shrimp with salt and serve at once with tartar and cocktail sauces on the side.

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photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Country Ham

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 15 (2½-inch) biscuits.

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 cup baked sweet potato purée
1 cup heavy cream
Additional all-purpose flour, for rolling
Country ham, sliced paper-thin

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and mace in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingertips to work in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly.

Stir together the sweet potato purée and cream in a small bowl. Pour into the flour mixture and stir only until the dough comes together and pulls in all of the dry ingredients.

Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth and supple, about 8 turns. Roll or pat the dough to a ¾-inch thickness. Stamp out the biscuits with a round cutter. If the dough sticks, dip the cutter into some flour. Push the cutter straight down without twisting so that the biscuits can rise to their full potential. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet. Gather, roll, and cut the dough scraps.

Bake until the biscuits are firm and spring back when lightly touched on top, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Store at room temperature in an airtight container overnight before serving. (These biscuits are not great served warm.)

Serve with room-temperature, paper-thin slices of country ham.

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Ham Hocks & Collard Greens Recipe

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Ham Hocks & Collard Greens

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4-6 servings.

6 slices thick-cut bacon
4 bundles fresh collard greens (approximately 6 cups leaves)
1 small onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 ham hocks
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Cook bacon in skillet until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Save drippings.

Remove stem from each collard leaf. This can be done by cutting the stem out or by tearing the leaves away from the stem. Wash collards thoroughly to remove all sand, grit, and dirt. Stack leaves on top of each other and roll. Cut collards in 2-inch-wide strips.

Heat skillet with bacon drippings, and add cut collards and chopped onion. Sauté collards and onions for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a heavy stockpot, add chicken broth, water, vinegar, salt, ham hocks, and brown sugar. Add collards and onions. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours or until collards are tender. Serve with crumbled bacon.

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photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Cheerwine Barbecued Chicken

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup ketchup
1 cup Cheerwine
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar

1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
12 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 4 pounds)

For the sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Use soon or cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to one week.

For the chicken: Stir together the thyme, oregano, paprika, cumin, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Pat the chicken dry and then coat with the seasoning mixture. Place the chicken in a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Seal and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Preheat the grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. (If using charcoal, the embers should be covered in gray ash with glowing centers.) Oil the grill grate generously.

Place the chicken skin-side down on the hot grate; cook until the skin browns, about 8 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 170°, about 5 to 8 minutes longer. Transfer 1 cup of the barbecue sauce to a small dish, reserving the rest. Brush the skin side of the chicken with sauce from the dish; turn skin side down and cook 2 minutes. Brush chicken with more sauce; turn skin side up and grill 2 minutes.

Arrange the chicken on a platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Discard any remaining sauce in the small bowl because it has come in contact with the raw chicken and would be unsafe to eat uncooked.

Serve the barbecued chicken warm with the reserved sauce.

Note: Chicken thighs or leg quarters are best for grilling because white meat pieces dry out easily. If you barbecue bone-in breasts, keep them on the coolest part of the grill. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are not a good choice for this recipe.

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Shrimp and Grits in North Carolina

photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Crook’s Corner Shrimp & Grits

Recipe by Crook’s Corner

Yield: 4 servings

Cheese Grits:
4 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup stone-ground grits
1 cup Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

To Assemble:
6 bacon slices, diced

1 pound medium unpeeled, raw shrimp
¼ cup sauce flour (such as Wondra or Shake & Blend), seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sliced fresh white button mushrooms
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped green onions
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Tabasco sauce to taste (four shakes!)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the cheese grits: In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil over medium-high heat; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in Cheddar cheese and remaining ingredients. Hold in a warm place or on top of a double boiler over simmering water.

Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Rinse and pat dry.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, but save all of the grease.

Dust the shrimp with the seasoned flour. In the large skillet, begin to sauté the shrimp in the bacon grease over high heat. Turn the shrimp, and then add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook a moment, then begin tossing in the skillet, as for a stir-fry. Pour off some of the grease if it appears too oily.

Cook for a minute or two more, until the shrimp and mushrooms appear to be done and have browned a little. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute, shaking the pan vigorously. Add the lemon juice and Tabasco, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from the bottom of the skillet. Add the scallions and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits; sprinkle with bacon.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Easy Pimento Cheese

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 2 cups.

8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 (2-ounce) jar pimentos, drained
1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Place grated cheese in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together mayonnaise, pimentos, hot sauce, salt, and sugar. Pour over grated cheese and stir with a wooden spoon. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy on sandwiches, crackers, burgers, or celery sticks.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman


Recipe adapted by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 pints.

6 pounds Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 heads cabbage, finely shredded
4 large yellow onions, chopped
6 green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
3 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
1 cup salt
½ gallon white distilled vinegar
6 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 pounds light brown sugar

Place tomatoes, cabbage, onions, and bell peppers in a large bowl or food bucket. Cover vegetables with cold water. Stir in salt and let sit at room temperature overnight.

Drain the vegetable mixture in a colander and rinse well to remove salt.

Place vegetables in a large stockpot. Add vinegar, mustard seed, cloves, allspice, celery seed, and sugar. Cook on low heat for 1 to 2 hours.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Skillet Cornbread

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 6 servings.

1¼ cups yellow cornmeal
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole buttermilk
3 tablespoons bacon drippings, plus extra
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425°. Place cast-iron skillet in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Remove skillet from oven and carefully oil the pan with vegetable oil using a paper towel. Pour batter into hot skillet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are crispy and top has turned golden brown.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

“Killed” Lettuce

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

3 bunches green leaf lettuce (about 9 cups), rinsed, dried well, and torn into bite-size pieces
4 slices bacon
4 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Place lettuce in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet and cook over medium-high heat until evenly browned and crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes. Place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate.

Add green onions to bacon grease; cook, stirring, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Pour sautéed onions and bacon grease-vinegar mixture over lettuce and toss. Crumble bacon and add it to lettuce. Top with black pepper and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Fried Chicken Livers & Onions

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

1 pound fresh chicken livers
1 cup whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, cut into ¼-inch rings
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Hot sauce (optional)

Soak chicken livers in milk for up to a couple of hours to help remove any strong flavors. Place livers in a colander and rinse under cold water; discard milk. Cut each liver in half.

Pour ½ cup oil into large skillet and bring to 350°. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until golden in color. Remove onions with a fork and place on paper towel to drain.

In a pie pan or shallow dish, whisk together flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge livers in flour mixture until well coated.

Bring remaining oil to 350°. Shake off excess flour from livers and fry in batches of 2 or 3 to avoid overcrowding. Cook livers about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until the outsides are crispy. The centers should be slightly pink with an internal temperature of 165°.

Transfer livers to a paper towel-lined platter and top with cooked onions. Salt to taste. Serve immediately with your favorite hot sauce, if desired.

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photograph by Tim Robison

Atlantic Beach Pie

Recipe by Crooks’s Corner

Yield: 1 pie.

1½ sleeves of saltine crackers
3 tablespoons sugar

⅓ to ½ cup softened unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup lemon or lime juice, or a mix of the two
Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish

Preheat oven to 350˚. Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced.

Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

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photograph by Matt Hulsman

Perfect Tar Heel Pound Cake

Recipe by James Villas

Yields: 10 to 15 servings.

Crisco shortening for greasing pan, plus ½ cup, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 3 cups
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Generously grease a 10-inch tube pan with shortening, add the 2 tablespoons of flour, turn the pan to coat evenly with flour, tap off the excess, and set aside. (Or spray the insides of the pan generously with a cooking spray.) In a bowl, combine the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt; stir until thoroughly blended; and set aside. Pour the milk into a large glass or small bowl, add the 3 extracts, stir till well blended, and set aside.

In a standing mixer, combine the butter, remaining shortening, and sugar, and cream the mixture at medium-low speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, beating about 15 seconds before adding another, and scrape sides of the bowl (do not overbeat).

In batches, alternately add the flour and milk and beat just till the batter is smooth and silky. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and firmly tap the pan on a counter to allow batter to settle evenly.

Bake in the center of the oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, never opening the oven door.

Carefully transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan about 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely before slicing. Store the cake in a tightly covered cake plate up to 5 days (never in the refrigerator).

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photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Strawberry Sonker with Dip

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 12 servings.

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup water
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted, plus more for brushing
8 cups fresh strawberries, halved or quartered if large

½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
3 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pastry: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Work in the shortening with a pastry blender or fingertips until the mixture is crumbly.

Whisk together the egg and vinegar in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the egg mixture, and stir with a fork to form soft dough that pulls in all of the dry ingredients. Form two balls, one using about ¹⁄3 of the dough and the other using what’s left. Place each ball on a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten to a disk about 1 inch thick, wrap well, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

For the filling: Whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk in the water and butter until smooth. Gently stir in the strawberries.

To assemble: Using lightly floured fingertips, press the larger disk of dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until the pastry is dry to the touch, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Pour in the strawberry mixture.

To make a lattice top crust, roll the other piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 13×4-inch rectangle.

Starting on one long side, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut 4 long strips of dough that are 1 inch wide; arrange them lengthwise over the filling, spacing them evenly. Starting on a short side, cut the remaining dough crosswise into strips of dough that are 1 inch wide; arrange them perpendicular to the long strips of pastry, spacing them evenly to make a lattice. (If you are not the lattice type, just cut the rolled pastry into strips or other shapes and arrange them over the filling however you like.) Brush the pastry with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until the pastry is deep golden brown and the filling bubbles, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Meanwhile, make the dip.

For the dip: Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

To serve, scoop warm sonker into serving bowls. Ladle a little warm dip over the top and serve at once.

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photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Moravian Sugar Cake

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 12 to 16 servings.

1 medium-size russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (¼-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
½ teaspoon plus 1 cup sugar, divided
¼ cup warm potato cooking water (100° to 110°)
½ cup shortening
¼ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes and chilled
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Place the potato in a small saucepan, cover with water to a depth of 1 inch, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well, reserving the cooking water. Force the potato through a food mill or ricer into a small bowl, or mash as smooth as possible with a fork. Measure out 1 cup of potatoes into a small bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of the potato cooking water. Cover and keep warm.

Dissolve the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in ¼ cup warm potato water; let stand 5 minutes, or until mixture bubbles. Discard any remaining potato cooking water.

Stir together the warm mashed potato, the remaining 1 cup sugar, the shortening, ¼ cup butter, and salt in a large mixing bowl; stir until the shortening melts. Stir in the yeast mixture. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°) free from drafts, 1½ hours, or until spongy. Stir in the eggs and flour to make soft dough.

Shape the dough into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap misted with nonstick spray and let rise in a warm place (85°) free from drafts, 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. (Hint: To keep yeast bread dough from sticking to your hands, begin kneading with a plastic dough scraper or metal bench knife. You can lift the dough and fold it over on a floured surface. When the dough becomes less sticky, complete the kneading by hand.) Pat the dough evenly in a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Deeply dimple the surface of the dough with your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon. Tuck a butter cube into each dimple. Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle evenly over the dough and down into the dimples.

Bake in center of oven for 20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

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Sweet Potato Casserole Pie Recipe

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Sweet Potato Pie Casserole

Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 2 pies.

2 (29-ounce) cans sweet potatoes, mashed (or bake 3-4 sweet potatoes until tender, allow to cool, then peel and mash; measure out 3½ cups)
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅔ cup butter, melted
½ cup whole milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 deep-dish pie shells, baked
1½ cups packed brown sugar
⅔ cup butter, softened
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ⅔ cup melted butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla and orange extracts. Mix well. Spoon mixture into baked pie shells.

Combine brown sugar, remaining ⅔ cup butter, flour, and pecans in a small bowl; mix well. Top each pie with pecan mixture. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until pies are set.

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photograph by Charlotte & Johnny Autry

Banana Pudding

Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 12 servings.

For the Pudding
1 cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 small ripe, firm bananas, cut into thin rounds (about 6 cups)
8 ounces vanilla wafers (about 60 cookies)

For the Meringue
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup sugar 

For the pudding: Whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan or in the top of a double boiler. (If using a double boiler or a metal bowl sitting securely over a saucepan, fill the bottom pot about ⅓ full of water and bring to a simmer. The top pot should not touch the hot water.)

Add the milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously until smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously with a heatproof spatula, until the pudding thickens and just begins to bubble around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.

Line the bottom of a large, oven-safe serving bowl with vanilla wafers. Top with a layer of banana slices. Pour a thin layer of pudding over the bananas, spreading it with the spatula. Repeat the layers until you have used all of the remaining ingredients, ending with a top layer of pudding.

For the meringue: Preheat the oven to 325°. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean, dry, spotless metal or glass bowl. Beat with an electric mixer set to medium speed until foamy. Increase the mixer speed to high and add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, beating until the meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Spoon the meringue over the warm pudding, spreading to the edges of the bowl. Use the back of the spoon to make pretty swirls and peaks in the meringue.

Bake until the meringue is golden brown with toasted peaks, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Serve slightly warm, or cool completely and refrigerate until chilled.

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photograph by Charles Harris

Chocolate Chess Pie

Recipe by Angus Barn

Yield: 8 servings.

1 unbaked pie shell
1 stick of butter
2 (1 ounce) bakers semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 dash salt
Whipped cream, for serving

Melt butter and chocolate.

Mix with other ingredients which have been blended together.

Pour into a pie shell and bake 35 minutes (no longer) at 350°.

Top with whipped cream.

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This story was published on Oct 11, 2023

Our State Staff

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