In an encore installment of our Found Recipes series, cookbook writer Katie Workman talks about an amazing citrus and whipped cream pie called "Atlantic Beach Pie," which she had at Crook's Corner in North Carolina. Bill Smith, the restaurant's chef, also explains pie's origins.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And now a good story about a great pie.
KATIE WORKMAN: The most amazing pie I think I've ever had.
SIEGEL: That's Katie Workman, author of "The Mom 100 Cookbook," and frequent contributor to our Found Recipes series. Today as a summertime treat a rebroadcast about her first encounter with Atlantic Beach pie.
WORKMAN: I went down to North Carolina, and I made a beeline for Crook's Corner which is a fabulous destination restaurant. It's been there for a very long time. It's a shrimp and grits and fried oysters and hush puppies, kind of Southern food restaurant. And the longtime chef, Bill Smith, was sending us out so much food and we were having this amazing dinner, eating more than I think I've ever eaten in my entire life. I had no intention of eating dessert. And then he sent out this pie. It is a creamy citrus filling, much like the filling of a key lime pie or lemon meringue pie, covered with billows of whipped cream. But the crust is made out of saltines. So it's this dense, crispy, thick, saltine, salty crust which is such an amazing balance to this tanginess and the sweetness of the inside. When I first took a bite of this pie I think the only reaction I had was oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. For quite a while that was pretty much the only thing I could say. It was definitely a slightly "Harry Met Sally" moment. I think I was under control but I was in sort of a fugue state so I can't be sure.
BILL SMITH: Well, first of all, it's not really my pie. It's a pie that served all over the coast of East and North Carolina. My name is Bill Smith and I am the chef at Crook's Corner Restaurant in Chapel Hill North Carolina. I called it Atlantic Beach pie but down there it's just called lemon pie. When we were growing up everybody believed that, for some reason, that if you ate any kind of dessert after having seafood that you would drop dead sick. I asked my mother about that, I said, why did we think that? She said, I still think that. And she still won't do it. But anyway, the one exception was this lemon pie that all the fish restaurants along the coast served. The best thing about this dessert is it takes like four seconds to make. You cook the crust for like 15 minutes and then the filling another 15 minutes. You don't have to wait for the crust to cool. The only thing that takes any time is it has to cool enough when you're done so you can cut it without making a mess but it couldn't be faster.
WORKMAN: Oh, yes, I have that recipe, and the pie was so ridiculously easy to make. But I'll tell you there was a slightly sad grim finale to this pie which was we ate a chunk of it, and I covered it gently with Saran wrap. And we took it in the car some place, and my husband left the car, jumped back and jumped into a different seat in the car and sat on the pie. And I said, did you just sit on my pie? And he said, I think I did. How do you not know if you sat on a pie? And I was so sad. Not sad enough to not eat it but sad, nonetheless. It was squished but it was so good still.
SIEGEL: Katie Workman talking about Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach pie. And yes, you also heard Bill in there. You can get the recipe and see a picture of Katie's pie before it was sat on, on our Found Recipes page at npr.org. You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.