Amanda from Southern Baked Pie Company shares her expertise on making the buttery, flakey, made-from-scratch pie crush that captured her heart and taste buds and inspired her to begin her pie company.
Southern Baked Pie Company
Amanda Wilbanks never imagined she’d be spending her days baking some of the South’s best pies. I got the chance to meet Amanda over coffee about two years ago when she wanted to bring some of our aprons into her gorgeous new pie shop a few miles down the road from me.
Amanda started Southern Baked Pie Company after a buttermilk pie stole her heart and her tastebuds. In the kitchen with her mother-in-law, she watched as she made the pie from scratch, right down to the crust. The aroma that filled her home was sweet, unmistakably nostalgic, and captivating. The rest is history.
Her connection to pies is one that ultimately goes back to a love of the kitchen and the preservation of the technique and patience it takes to make homemade baked goods from scratch.
Amanda baked hundreds of pies out of her house with one tiny oven until she realized it was time to expand to Southern Baked Pie Company’s first shop in Gainesville, Georgia. After three years in the Gainesville location, the company opened additional locations in Buckhead and Alpharetta. Her pies are well-known in Georgia, but reach far beyond the state. The caramel pecan pie even won the 2016 Taste of Georgia award! They’re not all sweet though; one of the best-sellers is her unbelievably savory chicken pot pie (I can attest, it’s a family favorite over here).
These signature recipes come from both sides of Amanda’s family, dating back decades. Now, the recipes have been given new life and a legacy that’s carried out by Amanda, Southern Baked Pie Company, and their team of bakers.
I sat down with Amanda and we talked over how to make a gorgeous, old-fashioned pie crust using timeless techniques. She uses an all-butter pastry dough for both the taste and texture of a 100% butter crust.
When I make pie dough, I tend to get flour absolutely everywhere. Amanda had this problem too, until her mother-in-law showed her the mess-reducing trick of rolling her dough between two pieces of parchment, eliminating the need for flour. Once rolled out, she double checks the size of the dough by placing the upside down pie pan on top, making sure there’s about an inch extra for pleating the crust.
Amanda showed me what she calls “The Fold-Under” — a crust technique that requires folding under the edge of the crust and pressing it back down onto the pan to form a thicker outer edge. On that outer edge, she and her bakers pleat the crust beautifully, using a simple finger method. It tastes as good as it looks!
We then went on to the ultimate challenge: a gorgeous lattice crust. Amanda showed me how simple it can be to achieve the classic look of a woven crust, even in my own kitchen. We cut half-inch strips out of a piece of rolled pie dough and proceeded to weave the pieces together loosely. A woven crust works best for a fruit pie, so it’s best to weave loosely so that you can see how colorful the filling looks underneath. Amanda’s pie crust tactics play on those feelings of nostalgia and the image of a perfectly pleated and woven pie on a picnic blanket or in Grandma’s kitchen.
Born from a small oven and inspired by sweet smells and even sweeter memories, Southern Baked Pie Company brings a little bit of homemade, hand-pleated goodness to Georgians (and they even ship nationwide!)
At this moment, Amanda is probably out on the road sharing her brand new cookbook, Southern Baked: Celebrating Life With Pie – just in time for holiday baking to begin.
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