We first learned about these Catahoula, Louisiana, pies in Marcelle Bienvenu's Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? (1991), published in the Cajun city of Lafayette. The crust intrigued us, being a cross between a French pate sucree and an American sugar cookie. We found Catahoula on a map, called around the area and finally located a delightful piemaster named Emma Lou Bourque, who calls herself Miss Emma Lou. She told us that sweet-dough pies, usually filled with blackberries, are a Good Friday tradition that goes back at least as far as her grandmother's day. Miss Emma Lou and other ladies of the local church bake some 350 large pies, providing a hefty slice for all their 1,700 neighbors. For herself, the spry octogenarian also makes a smaller turnover version, which we emulate here.
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