The South was once the apple capital of the world.

By Mary Allen Perry
November 07, 2016
Recipe: Ambrosia Pudding PieFollowing British tradition, the earliest custard pies were recorded as puddings in antebellum cookbooks. And—as any Southerner knows—ambrosia is a church cookbook staple. This is the best of both worlds.
Alison Miksch

Apple pie may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fruit-filled Southern pies and we certainly don't claim sole ownership. However, the South was once the apple capital of the world and some towns still claim the title (lookin' at you Winchester, Virginia!). Many farms had their own orchards, growing heirloom varieties such as Grimes Golden, Arkansas Blacks, and tart Albemarle Pippins that turn irresistibly sweet when baked. A root-to-stem take on nose-to-tail cooking ruled the day; with frugal cooks even canning sugared apple peels for winter pies. Rufus Estes, the first African-American chef to publish a cookbook, amped up the flavor of his apple pies with lemon and cloves, and a sugar syrup infused with apple peelings and cores. In the past 50 years, Southern Living has published more than 100 different recipes for apple pie. Our latest is a Deep South twist on New Mexico's brilliant green Hatch chile apple pie: the Tex-Mex Apple Pie. We riffed on the classic Southern pairing of cream cheese and pepper jelly to make a pie that's a little bit spicy and a whole lotta delicious.

For more apple pie recipes, check out our 10 Best Apple Pie Recipes.