August 2003 Neighbors
Egg custard soars to new heights in this month’s “Country Kitchen,” thanks to Morgan County artist and novice restaurateur Annie Whitten.
This egg custard is a triple-decker-one, on top of another, on top of another-and odds are strong that, even if your recipe files and cookbooks fill up half your kitchen, you don’t have anything like it. Annie got this rare recipe years ago from her husband Jim’s grandmother, and she says she’s never seen it duplicated anywhere.
Though the pies themselves are easy to make, assembling Stacked Egg Custard can be challenging and is best handled as a team effort, Annie says. Using spatulas, gently lift two of the pies, crust and all, from their plates and carefully place them atop the third.
“It’s a little tricky,” Annie says, “but the end result is definitely worth it.”
Plans are for Stacked Egg Custard to be on the menu soon at Somethin’s Cookin’, a little restaurant Annie opened last November at the art gallery and antique shop she’s operated for several years on Highway 36 about five miles east of Hartselle.
“People stopping by the gallery were always asking where was a good place to eat, and I’d have to send them all the way to Hartselle because there was nothing around here,” Annie says. “Finally, I just decided I’d open a place of my own.”
Thus far, business has been good, but with Annie offering down-home lunches featuring such Southern classics as chicken and dumplings, pinto beans, cracklin’ bread and fried fruit pies, what else would you expect? For those looking for lighter lunchtime fare, Annie also has a wide selection of sandwiches, fresh salads and homemade soups.
Annie and Jim, who’ve been married 56 years this month, both supposedly retired a few years back. But Jim, who retired from Monsanto and the military reserve, now stays busy raising cattle on the Whittens’ Mount Tabor farm. And Annie’s retirement from her job as a fine arts instructor at Calhoun Community College simply gave her more time to run Annie’s Gallery-which features her watercolors, pottery and ceramics. Says Annie, “Jim’s having fun, and so am I.”
Thanks to Annie for sharing her rare, mile-high custard pie recipe and some of her other favorites in “The Country Kitchen.”