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Jefferson Davis Pie
(Adapted from The Glory of Southern Cooking by James Villas)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon bourbon
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup seedless golden raisins
1 unbaked 9- or 10-inch basic pie shell, homemade preferred

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and two sugars with an electric mixer till fluffy. Add the flour and eggs and beat till well blended. Add the half-and-half, bourbon, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla, and continue to beat till well blended and smooth.

Stir in the raisins, scrape the mixture into the pie shell, and bake for ten minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about thirty minutes. Cool the pie completely on a rack.

Serve in wedges at room temperature or chilled.

Serves eight


Seafood Gumbo
(Adapted from The Glory of Southern Cooking by James Villas)

½ pound bacon, cut into small pieces
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 pound firm fresh okra, stems removed and pods cut into small rounds (about 5 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
½ medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large celery rib, chopped
2 ½ cups canned tomatoes, drained
2 quarts chicken broth
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound fresh claw crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 pint small fresh, shucked oysters

Boiled white rice

In a large, heavy pot, fry the bacon over moderate heat till crisp, drain on paper towels and reserve. Add the flour to the bacon grease, reduce the heat to low and whisk continuously for about fifteen minutes or until the roux is light brown, taking great care not to burn it. Add the okra and cook, stirring, until the okra is slightly browned and the roux dark brown.

Add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Stir well, cover and cook for three minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper and Tabasco; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, two hours, adding a little water if the liquid is too thick.

Add the shrimp, crabmeat, oysters and reserved bacon. Stir, return to a simmer and cook about fifteen minutes longer. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Serve the gumbo over rice in deep soup bowls.

Serves six