By Jodi Helmer
Pie is an iconic American dessert: It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without apple pie and pumpkin and pecan pies are a staple on the Thanksgiving table and flavors like lemon meringue, chocolate chess, blueberry and brown sugar pies are crowd pleasers any time of the year.
Pie is so popular that it has its own holiday. January 23 is National Pie Day.
The event, which celebrates the diversity and deliciousness of pies, was created in 1970; the American Pie Council has sponsored National Pie Day for the past 35 years to spread the gospel of pie.
In honor of this very tasty holiday, celebrate with a pie (or two) from some of Lynchburg’s most storied pie shops.
Woodruff’s Pie Shop: The cinderblock building that houses Woodruff’s Pie Shop has been a fixture in Amherst County since 1952. Angie Scott lived in the upstairs apartment with her parents, who operated a grocery store out of the main floor more 30 years. In 1988, she renovated the building and opened a bakery and her scratch-made pies quickly became the talk of the town.
“We’ve been known to sell out on a Saturday morning,” says Angie.
Scott makes custard, fruit, nut and meringue pies. The self-taught baker has modified her recipes over the years but stuck with traditional favorites such as buttermilk, blueberry, coconut custard, lemon chess and pecan. Her double crust apple pie consistently sells out, which is no surprise given that Southern Living magazine declared it, “the best apple pie ever.” Stop in for a slice or call ahead to order a whole pie.
Chestnut Hill Bakery: The bakery has been a popular spot to satisfy a sweet tooth for 60 years (and counting). Richard and Glenda Hinkley still use the original recipes, making their flaky crusts and pie fillings from scratch.
“People who have been eating our pies since the bakery opened tell us that they taste just like they remember,” says Glenda.
The menu features staple flavors such as brown sugar, egg custard, German chocolate, coconut custard, chocolate meringue, lemon meringue and sweet potato pies. The most popular pie on the menu: A French apple crumb pie with a made-from-scratch double crust. Yum!
The nine-inch pies are perfect for sharing. If you can’t decide on a flavor, purchase a few five-inch pies to get a little taste of everything.
Montana Plains Bakery: Traditional pie flavors like apple, pumpkin, maple pecan, milk chocolate truffle, cherry and coconut custard might be mainstays on the menu, co-owner Lucia Coates knows that pies don’t have to be sweet to be delicious.
“Savory pies make a quick, healthy dinner,” she says.
Montana Plains Bakery has been serving up savory pies since it opened in 1996. The Quiche Lorraine, California vegetable, ham and potato and spinach feta pies are also made from scratch with fresh ingredients and they are so popular that the bakery, which sells them by the slice of the whole pie, often sell out at its Boonsboro and Wyndhurst locations.
On National Pie Day, celebrate with slice of ham and potato pie for breakfast, tuck into a piping hot piece of apple pie at lunch and treat the whole family to a sweet potato pie for dinner—and thank the local bakers who make every day a good day for pie.
Jodi Helmer writes about food, drink and travel for National Geographic Traveler, Hemispheres, Huffington Post, AARP and Our State. She lives and works on a hobby farm near Charlotte, North Carolina.
Learn more about Jodi HERE