NC Pie Series: What comes at the end is always remembered: the goodnight kiss, the famous last words, the three-point shot at the buzzer, the homemade pie following a fine meal. What’s a plate of flounder in Calabash or oysters on the Outer Banks without a slice of lemon meringue, served on a Styrofoam plate with a plastic fork? Can you imagine a rib eye at the Angus Barn in Raleigh without the grand finale — that famous chocolate chess, drizzled with syrup, dolloped with whipped cream? What of the perfectly fried chicken at Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill, culminating with a slice of sweet potato or pecan? Sure, we love our cakes, cobblers, and banana puddings, but pie provides the sweetest memories.
Dees Drugstore was 100 years old when it closed in 2016. A classic pharmacy-meets-soda-fountain, Dees was the place in Burgaw for a BLT and an ice cream soda. But it was more than that: It was a community center. Which is why, as the town mourned its loss, Leann Carroll opened a new spot to honor the drugstore’s memory — Olde Carolina Eatery. Carroll snagged Dees’s tables. And menu favorites, like egg salad sandwiches and hot dogs. And even the woman who, for 14 years, ran its lunch counter — Frances Burns. “I’ve been cooking my whole life,” Burns says. “My mom taught me everything I know.” Like how to make blueberry pie from scratch. “That’s the first thing that flies off the shelf,” Carroll says.
Burgaw is tucked within Pender County, which hosts the annual North Carolina Blueberry Festival. Burns’s recipe is as classic and cozy as it gets. “The fruit is soft and loose and oozes out at you,” she says. “Don’t come in here looking for fancy!” But do look for flaky pastry crusts and a lot of friendly faces. “Our goal is to make everyone feel comfortable,” Burns says. “When you come in here, you’re coming home.”
Olde Carolina Eatery
113 West Freemont Street
Burgaw, NC 28425
To try this pie, you’ll have to go straight to the source. But we’ve got home bakers covered, too. This recipe comes to us courtesy of Carol Mann, author of the Bountiful cookbook. To purchase it, email Carol Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried
2 tablespoons butter
2 pie crusts, unbaked
Preheat oven to 400˚. Mix sugar, tapioca, nutmeg, and cinnamon together. Gently toss berries with sugar mixture.
Fill 1 pie crust with berry mixture, and top with second crust. Make a few openings in top crust for steam to escape.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.