Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
Recently, I detailed some of the most important reasons anyone traveling east of Little Rock, along the I-40, should hop off the freeway and make a pit stop in De Vall's Bluff...this, of course, involved smoked pork and pie. But last time I, along with a rag-tag crew of ravenous travelers, stopped in De Vall's Bluff we attempted to patronize one more local nugget that, unfortunately, was not serving that day. Our friend Sammy—regular here on Eat Arkansas and all-around swell guy—assured us that carving out some time during our trip for another sort of pie in De Vall's would be well worth our time. Of course, he spoke of Ms. Lena's Fried Pies, which just happens to sit only yards away from Craig's BBQ and The Pie Shop. We rolled up, visions of fried pies prancing through our sugar-craving heads, only to find a sign on the front door sadly proclaiming "closed due to sickness." Hearts were broken that day. We left De Vall's Bluff, our souls aching with thoughts of what might have been. But I was determined to return as soon as humanly possible, to roll out of that town triumphant, with a fistful of fried pie and a belly full of joy.
This day, Ms. Lena’s was serving up around a half dozen fried pie flavors, each resting patiently in small wicker baskets, just waiting to be bought up. I sampled three wonderful fruit flavors—apple, apricot, and peach—and a creamy coconut.
But any respectable analysis of these fried pies must start with the delectable fried crust. It's surprisingly thin, making it even crispier when fried, with small pockets of air dotting the surface of the crust. The most sultry part of the whole pie, however, is the small rim of double-layered crust—the section of dough that gets pressed together to seal in the filling. This comes out brittle, crunchy, and delicate—simply divine. God bless the man or woman who first decided to fry a pie.
I've concluded that moving to De Vall's Bluff would be extremely hazardous to my health. Even from Little Rock, I can hear the beckoning song of those pies, but I'm just far enough away to resist. But were I to live there, it would be nigh unto impossible for me to go one week without stuffing myself with pie—whether it be fried or not. Take a detour through De Vall's next time you're on the road—it should be an Arkansan rite of passage.
Ms. Lena’s is serving up fried pies on Fridays and Saturdays only. Cash or check only. Highway 33 at Highway 70 (2885 Hwy 33 South), DeVall’s Bluff, AR.