Grandmother Nora’s Pie Crust

This wonderful pie crust recipe came to us from one of our volunteers, Sharon Reavis Ward. We find this recipe will make two 8 or 9 inch crusts or one 10 inch deep dish crust with enough for a lattice top.

My grandmother, Nora Lee Reavis, was born in 1898 on a farm in North Carolina. There were ten children in the family, and she, being one of the oldest, was expected to help with the cooking . . . so she became one of the best.

When my grandparents were married, they moved to Indiana. As a child, walking into her big farmhouse kitchen was like walking into Heaven for me. She always had pies in the freezer, ready to put in the oven. Anytime anyone walked through the door she would lift the lid to that big old freezer to reveal pies whose fillings would have been grown and canned there on the farm. Grandfather and she worked side by side to fill the basement pantry. My heart is warmed just to think of her.

Sharon Reavis Ward


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons of water
  • 3 cups flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup lard


Break egg in a cup and beat with a fork. Add vinegar and water.

In mixing bowl, mix flour, salt and cut in lard. Mix wet ingredients to the dry.

Knead lightly until a ball is formed and roll out to desired thickness.

Place pie plate on crust, trim and lay crust into plate.

Fold under the outer edge. Flute edges as desired.


Green Tomato Pie

We grow Brandywine tomatoes in the kitchen garden at Venoge. They always come in late which coincides with our Rural Heritage Tour in the fall. Being aware of the somewhat out of the ordinary green tomato pie and having an excess of green tomatoes, it was a natural thing to try the recipe at the fall event.

In the past we have altered the recipe and used half apples and half tomatoes. The version pictured below, with a crumb topping, is by far our favorite. The ginger adds a unique flavor we hope you will enjoy!

Our recipe is adapted from America Eats by William Woys Weaver, food historian, author and gardener.


  • Grandmother Nora’s Pie Crust, use for the top and bottom crust
  • 1 1/2 pounds green tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Grated lemon rind (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger


Skin tomatoes and slice as thin as possible.

Mix tomatoes with lemon juice, sugar, zest and ginger.

Line an 8 inch pie dish with pie crust. Fill crust, cover with a top crust, lattice or a crumb crust. Pierce the crust if you use a top crust. Bake in a medium oven at 350° about 1 hour.


Pumpkin Pie with Molasses

Adding molasses to the pumpkin filling gives this pie a distinctive flavor. It is easy to make and easy to eat. At one time molasses was the most popular sweetener in the United States. Refined sugar replaced it in popularity in the first part of the 20th century, mostly because of the cost. Molasses goes well with cinnamon and ginger (think ginger bread), both of which are used in this recipe. We use our own pumpkin grown at Venoge when possible.

Our recipe comes from The Williamsburg Art of Cookery Book, 6th printing. It comes from the Wicomico Church c 1829.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed steamed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs beaten


Beat well together.

Pour into partially baked pie crusts and place in the Baker.

Bake in a medium oven at 350° for about 1 hour. This will make one pie. 

Pumpkin pie with Molasses

Pumpkin pie with Molasses