photograph by Matt Hulsman

For many people, Tupelo Honey Cafe is Asheville, and Asheville is Tupelo Honey. Pairing such familiar favorites as fried green tomatoes with goat-cheese grits, the restaurant has been at the heart of the mountain city’s vibrant culture for 11 years. Now, home cooks can bring the eatery’s take on Southern classics with a fresh-flair style to their own kitchens with Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville’s New South Kitchen.

Executive Chef Brian Sonoskus, whose attention to fresh, local, and imaginative cuisine is inspiring, shares 125 of Tupelo Honey Cafe’s best-loved recipes. With photographs and features on such local scenes as tailgate markets and area farms, the book is as much fun to read as to cook from.

Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville’s New South Kitchen by Elizabeth Sims with Brian Sonoskus. Andrews McMeel. 2011, 222 pages, hardback, $29.99.


2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup ice water

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and pulse about 10 seconds. Add ice water in a slow stream, pulsing the mixture no more than 30 seconds, until it begins to form a ball. Remove dough from the processor, and divide in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and flatten with the palm of your hand. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Pie Filling

¾ cup light corn syrup
¾ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons tupelo honey
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups pecan pieces (about 6 ounces)
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Roll out 1 (11-inch) piecrust. Lay it in a 10-inch pie pan, and crimp the edges. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, and honey, mixing well. Stir in melted butter. Pour mixture into piecrust. Top with the pecans and chocolate chips. Bake the pie, rotating halfway through cooking, for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until crust is brown and pie filling is bubbly. Serve pie warm with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

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Debbie Moose is a food columnist for the News & Observer in Raleigh. Her latest cookbook, Southern Holidays, is part of the Savor the South series from UNC Press.