Tag Archives: Pie

The Mysterious Origins of the Ohio Lemon Shaker Pie

M’s request for the pie of the month was a Lemon Shaker Pie (aka Ohio Shaker Pie). We live in Ohio now and this custard pie with slices of whole lemons is something of a regional specialty. However, once we added a picture of our pie to our Instagram we got a lot of bewildered comments. Turns out, most people had never heard of this type of pie! One unusual part of this recipe is that it is attributed to the near-extinct fringe religious sect, The Shakers. Another is that it uses whole lemons – rinds and all. According to legend, the Shakers were prolific pie-makers and gardeners, and could make almost any kind of fruit grow in Ohio, except lemons, which were the first fruit they had to purchase. Being famously frugal, the Shakers then made sure to use literally the entire lemon for their pies. That still doesn’t really answer why this version, above all of the Shakers’ pies, now persists, but indeed it does. Cut to 2020, when this old-fashioned pie is now only really found in Ohio, or in home cooks’ kitchens.


We enjoyed the version we made, using the Joy of Cooking’s recipe for filling, and Smitten Kitchen’s Ultra flaky all-butter crust. We sliced organic lemons extra-thin on a mandolin for the pie and let them sit with sugar for over 24 hours to remove some of the bitterness. According to the Joy of Cooking, the longer, the better. This still produced a super-tangy pie (which we like), so if that is not your cup of tea, we imagine that this pie would also be great with Meyer lemons, as some more modern recipes call for. Or if you want to go old school, check out this vintage recipe from a former Shaker community in Kentucky.

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Northwoods charm (and pie) at Honeypie

Happy Pi(e) Day! In honor of this auspicious day, we are revisiting one of our favorite places for pie, Honeypie (2643 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207) in Milwaukee. Our two favorite things about Honeypie are 1. the PIE and 2. the fact that there is something for everyone. The restaurant is decorated with a classic Wisconsin Northwoods theme, with clapboard walls, reclaimed wooded booths, maps and vintage Wisconsin-y ephemera.

Most importantly, there is a dessert case in the back with a variety of pies, biscuits, sweet breads and cupcakes. Over the years, we have sampled a number of Honeypie’s pies, and we have never been let down. Some of our favorites include the black bottom banana cream pie (below), blueberry (below), Milwaukee mud pie, strawberry rhubarb and ginger chai cream. You can order a whole pie in advance ($29 or $32) or by the slice ($6). You can also ship miniature Honeypie pies anywhere in the nation through their Piegram service. To take the pie love to another level, they even host pie-making classes.


Black bottom banana cream pie and blueberry pie.

There is also a large food menu, with Midwestern classics like mac and cheese ($14), grilled cheese with tomato soup ($11), a classic Friday Fish Fry ($16) and – a treat unique to the upper Midwest – the Cornish pasty ($10). There is also more elevated fare like scallop ceviche ($15) and confit chicken ($24). Honeypie is an all-day restaurant and you can also get brunch or a drink off of their full menu of drinks and local beers. So whether you are in the mood for pie, a Bloody Mary or mac and cheese, you will find just what you want at Honeypie.

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Dangerously Delicious Pies for Pi Day

Happy Pi Day Everyone! In honor of this auspicious day, we are covering one of our favorite pie places, Dangerously Delicious Pies, which has few stores scattered across the US, including DC, Baltimore and Detroit. We visited the Washington DC store (1339 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002), which was pretty tiny, but had enough counter space for 4 people to eat in. Dangerously Delicious pies has an assortment of sweet pies, savory pies and quiches. At the DC store, you can choose from a selection of half a dozen or so pies by the slice, which are available in-store, but there are many more flavors available if you call ahead and order a whole pie for pick up. A whole sweet pie will run you $30, a whole quiche ($32)  and a whole savory ($35) pie; and if you are going by the slice, sweet slices are $6.50, quiche and savory slices are $7.50.

What we enjoyed most about DDP was the huge variety of different pie varieties (we are sweet pie purists). Among the dozens of pie flavors available, you can get typical varieties like Apple Mixed Berry and Key Lime. However, we were more intrigued by flavors like Chocolate peanut butter chess, Caramel Apple Crumb, Mobtown brown (pecan pie topped with a layer of melted chocolate ganache and caramel) and the Baltimore Bomb (Baltimore-native Berger cookies in a vanilla chess filling). When we visited, there was a tempting variety of seasonal winter sweet pies. We sampled the chocolate pecan pie and the winter berry pie (apples and mixed berries with winter spices like cinnamon and cardamom). Both were delicious! M also liked that you could order a glass of milk to wash down your pie (plus the heaping helping of whipped cream)!

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Pastry Post-Doc: Tee-Eva’s pies and pralines in New Orleans

NOLAFlagNew Orleans is one of our favorite food cities (heck, ANY type of city) in the US. Unfortunately, it seems like NOLA only enters the general public consciousness around Mardi Gras Time (which is right around the corner). We like to go to New Orleans on Super Sunday, the big Mardi Gras Indian parade day, and while there is a ton of street food available at the parade, the standout was sweet potato and pecan pies from Tee-Eva’s. When we were at Super Sunday in 2016, we happened upon the ebullient Miss Eva Perry herself, selling her homemade pralines and pies to the crowds, and chatting with everyone like they were old friends. And we have to say, this was the best pecan pie we have ever had! Fortunately we found out that Tee-Eva also has a long-standing bricks and mortar shop (5201 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115), so you can sample some delicious treats (and full-sized pies) any time you are in NOLA. Definitely take some time to explore outside of the French Quarter and visit Tee-Eva’s! teeevas

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Pastry Post-Doc: Moose MacGregor’s Apple Pie…in Namibia

namibiaIt’s finally fall! For us that mostly means it is pie season! Though you can find pie-type desserts in many countries, we are always surprised to find it in unusual places. For example, we recently saw apple pie being served in Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes in the Peruvian Andes. And now we think we have found it in an even more unusual location: Namibia. Moose MacGregor’s Desert Bakery is located in the tiny town of Solitaire in the middle of the Namib desert. So how did it get there? The outpost was opened 20+ years ago by Scotsman Percy Cross MacGregor, and the pie is an old family recipe for German Apfelstrudel (similar recipe here). Moose’s also offers other baked goods like cookies, brownies and muffins to hungry travelers. In Solitaire, which is on the way to Swakopmund and Sossusvlei, there is Moose’s Bakery, a gas station, and a general store, and not much else, but it is worthy stop for any traveler in the area (check out a video from 2012). Unfortunately, Moose passed away in 2014, but the bakery is still running as he left it.

Moose MacGregor's Desert Bakery in Namibia

Moose MacGregor’s Desert Bakery in Namibia photo by Simone Swarts

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Pastry Post-Doc: Finnish Blueberry Pie — Mustikkapiirakka

finlandIt’s been a crazy week – but the promise of Spring is in the air. The weather is finally turning around, which is making us think about fresh fruit, and more importantly, fresh fruit pies! We are always on the lookout for new pie variations (check out our Pinterest Pie board for ideas), and our eye was caught by striking photos of Finnish Mustikkapiirakka (Blueberry Pie). The pie has a custardy filling, full of blueberries and a sweet shortbread crust (sometimes it is even baked like a cake). You can check out various versions at Kimchi and Meatballs, A Wee Bit of Cooking, and Have Another Bite (seen below). Be sure to have this recipe in your pocket when the summer blueberries come around!


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The Best Pie in NYC: Petee’s Pie Company

Let us let you in on a little secret – we know where they have the best pie in New York City: Petee’s Pie Company (61 Delancey St, New York, NY). Petee’s is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it small shop on the Lower East Side, and we make it a point to visit it each time we are in NYC. M has gone far enough to say that this is his favorite pie ever. Knowing how much M loves pie (and how many pie places we have tried), this is a pretty bold claim. Petee’s is run by Petra “Petee” Paredez – who has pie-making in her blood – her parents own the Mom’s Apple Pie Company in Leesburg, Virginia. We are loving the proliferation of pie shops around the US and are so happy that the quality keeps going up as more people- even city dwellers – are becoming more discerning about pie.
Petees2We have been to Petee’s several times, and every slice is better than the last ($5 for a slice, $30 for a whole pie). On our last few visits we have tried Rhubarb, Salty Chocolate Chess, Cherry Crumb, and Blueberry, each of these pies has been absolutely delicious. M has even become a rhubarb convert due to having one of the pies here. In particular we are fans of the flaky, tender crust that is neither soggy nor too crisp. We always look forward to visiting Petee’s because there is always something new, and the seasonal flavors are a must – the Cardamon Pear we had in October was scrumptious.peteespies

There are also savory, vegan and gluten-free pies (and even cheesecake) at Petee’s as well as an assortment of tea drinks. You can even get a frosty glass of cold milk along with your pie, which M considers to be a must with every pie experience. We are also particularly grateful to Petee’s for introducing us to the concept of the pie fork, a once-popular utensil that has one extra-large tine for cutting the pie and scraping the plate. We look forward to visiting Petee’s the next time we are in NYC, and you should go too – tell them we sent you!


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Fireman Derek’s Pies in Miami

Happy Pi(e) Day everyone! When we are traveling in the US we love to give a visit to the local pie shops in the area, and sample some of the regional favorites. Fireman Derek’s (2818 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL), is known particularly for its key lime pie. Fireman Derek’s is a tiny storefront opened in 2014 by actual Miami Fireman Derek Kaplan. There are only two tables inside the shop, but many take their orders to go. You can order a whole pie ($25-30) or pie by the slice ($5-6). There are seasonal flavors like pumpkin, and pies always available include the signature Krack pie (salted caramel custard that was named one of the best pies in Miami), key lime, apple, pecan and s’mores. You can also get some tasty coffee drinks made with Panther beans, cheesecake, milkshakes made with Azucar ice cream, as well as savory pies and quiches.


On our visit, we sampled the coconut custard and the key lime, trying to keep with the tropical vibe of our surroundings. The key lime pie had a perfect graham cracker crust and was light and tangy – so good! The coconut cream was equally delicious and was light and fluffy and packed full of real coconut flavor. We highly recommend stopping into Derek’s if you are looking for key lime pie in Miami. Part of the fun is checking out the awesome pie mural on the side of the tiny shop (seen above), good preparation for all of the other amazing murals in Wynwood.

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Warm Weather Memories of Key Lime Pie

We just returned from Miami, where we enjoyed the warmth, good coffee and the key lime pie, a staple of the region. Key lime pie is a custard pie made from tiny key limes (or often the more common Persian limes that most of us deal with) condensed milk, eggs and with a graham cracker crust. The use of condensed milk was born out of the lack of refrigeration in the area until the 1930s!  Apparently, actually using real key limes is somewhat rare, since many of them were actually destroyed in the 1926 hurricane which devastated Southern Florida. Who knew? Despite key lime pies being available throughout the country (even in Brooklyn), when we visit South Florida we have to sample some of the classics.


Why did we leave Southern Florida?

The first pie in the area we sampled was in Key West, at the aptly named Key West Key Lime Pie Company (511 Greene Street, Key West, FL). There are a ton of companies touting Key Lime pie in Key West, but we heard this was the best around (YMMV). The store was shockingly key lime green, which, to be honest, made us want to go inside even more. The only thing for sale were key lime pies and variants of pies, like chocolate-covered pie slices on a stick, and key lime paraphernalia and postcards. We brought back a whole pie and shared it with our friends K and M in Miami, and the pie was great! It was tart and creamy filling (not gel-like as versions some can be) and with a cookie crust. Back in Miami, we also tasted key lime pie from Keys Fisheries (3502 Gulfview Avenue, Marathon, FL). Though made in the keys, these pies are also available from Whole Foods stores in the Miami area. This was an excellent key lime pie, with a pale, creamy filling and a sweet graham cracker crust. We really loved both of these Keys-made pies, and it has inspired us to make one of our own, hopefully soon, to re-capture some of the warm weather. Do you have any favorite key lime pie bakeries or recipes?


Keys Fisheries Key Lime Pie – yum!

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Eating seasonally with pie

Scouring the farmer’s markets for seasonal fruits and veggies is always fun, and assures the freshest and best ingredients. Naturally, this seasonal approach is even applicable to pie. The Modern Farmer has a visual guide for a seasonal pie for every month, even those months where produce may seem like a distant memory (think chocolate for February, like the chocolate chess pie below from Hoosier Mama below). October is apple season, so it’s time for a trip to the orchard for pie supplies.

Hoosier Mama Pie Company

Hoosier Mama Chocolate Chess Pie

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Hoosier Mama Pie Company Comes to Evanston

This past Saturday, Nov 9th, the Hoosier Mama Pie Company opened a second outpost in Evanston (1618 Chicago Ave). M and I had been anticipating the store’s opening for months, as we watched the construction progress in the brand spanking new Amli building. I mean, the sign in the window announced, “Pie and Coffee,” so how could we not be intrigued!? When we arrived at HMPC on opening day, there was a small line, but the staff seemed to be holding down the fort pretty well for a grand opening.


Along with pies, there is a full coffee menu by Dollop. To complement our pie we ordered a Mexican hot chocolate and a honey cinnamon latte (made with Metropolis coffee) – both of which were delicious. There are also savory food options including some hearty sandwiches and soups if you need something BEFORE your pie (we usually don’t). The space is bright and airy, with a very high ceiling, but the seating area itself is not that large. Instead, most of the space is given over to the massive pie-producing kitchen. The kitchen is a huge expansion from their original Ukrainian Village outpost. I think you could fit several of the UK Village stores in the kitchen alone.

At HMPC you can get whole small of large full pies, and also pies by the slice ($5 for a slice of sweet pie and $6 for a savory pie). At this time people were already pre-ordering for Thanksgiving, so you’d better get a jump on it if you want a full pie for a special day. There were a huge number of pies available, including: Chocolate chess, lemon meringue, key lime, pumpkin, sugar and more (though some were already sold out). Having a sweet tooth, we ordered a slice of chocolate chess pie and a slice of key lime. One thing that sets HM apart is their dedication to savory pies as well, and at least half of the menu was given over to meaty options.


The chocolate chess pie was basically a brownie in a pie shell. No one is quite sure where it gets the moniker “chess”, but it is perfect for those among us who have a major sweet tooth. The key lime pie was creamy and perfectly tart, with a very delicate meringue topping. Nothing sickly sweet here. We very much enjoyed our Hoosier Mama pies, and we are excited to live so close to a legitimate pie store. We certainly will be back to sample even more flavors.

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(Almost) End of Summer Peach Pie

Happy Labor Day! If you live in the US, you’re probably going to be attending a BBQ/cookout or two. Though Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer, we refuse to let go until September 21st. Either way, there was still plenty of delicious fruit at the farmer’s market so we decided to celebrate the almost end of summer with a delicious, classic peach pie. This recipe from Smitten Kitchen turned out well for us (we also decided to add a handful of raspberries). Don’t let summer go, yet!

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A winning combination: Pie and Vinyl in Southsea, England

united_kingdomThanks to this Twitter post, RTed by Michael Nagrant, we learned about the Pie & Vinyl combination cafe and record shop in Southsea, England (61 Castle Rd, Southsea, Portsmouth PO5, UK). Now we love both pies and vinyl records, so this seems like one of the winning-est combinations yet. M is a little blue that there are only savory and not sweet pies, though. This is perhaps not surprising, given that the term “pie” in the UK generally would refer to a meat pie, as opposed to a sweet pie, as it would in the US. Perhaps the inclusion of sweet pies is an idea for a future menu expansion? In any case, we love the idea of such a symbiotic combination, and we hope to visit it one day. Along those lines, we are also fond of the cafe/restaurant/book/antique/vinyl shop combo we found in Rio (more on that soon).


The Exterior of Pie & Vinyl – from http://www.pieandvinyl.co.uk/

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Happy Pi Day! (Sorry, couldn’t resist).


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