Third Coast Chefs Share Best Pie Memories

With National Pie month coming up in February, the chefs of simoneink are prepared with their favorites.  Whether you bake your own or head to the source, don’t miss out on the opportunity to celebrate a little slice of heaven…

Brendan Cox, Chef de Cuisine of DC Coast: “Nothing beats my Aunt Mary’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.  It has a flaky crust made with lard, and then lots of local strawberries and rhubarb for the filling.  It’s always perfect.  Growing up, it was the highlight of every single Thanksgiving in Baltimore.”

David Guas, Pastry Chef and Owner of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery, “Coconut Cream Pie is a good ol’ southern dessert that I remember digging into as a kid at both diner counters and kitchen tables. Though she passed on longer before I was born, my mom’s mom felt quite strongly that butter and shortening should have equal representation in pie dough ....  So what do I do?  I go ahead and use all butter!  What kind of rebel would I be if I followed everyone else’s advice?  My advice to you should be followed, though:  For the flakiest piecrust, make sure your ingredients are cold—meaning cold butter, ice water, and even flour that has been refrigerated for an hour prior to making the dough.  And don’t over mix the dough—if you do, it’s sure to shrink.”

Baruch Rabasa, Executive Chef of Mesón 923: “The pie of choice is simple—mom’s warm Homemade Apple Pie with vanilla ice cream.  My mom got out of my Grandmother the old family recipe that had been passed down through the years.  The recipe gets a tweak here and there from generation to generation, but it still maintains that traditional filling and crust. That warm and gooey inside balanced with a crunchy and flaky outside remains the same, but now it’s gone topless!  I promised my mom to keep it clean and really, really good.”
Greg Rhoad, Executive Chef of theAurora Inn and E.B. Morgan House: “During the crossover of seasons between spring and summer, our kitchen is filled with Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.  You know they’re coming when the delivery from organic farmer Rose Ryan brings stockpiles of rhubarb to our door. It is extremely versatile and presents surprises to our dishes with its unique flavor.  My Strawberry Rhubarb Pie showcases both the flavors of the fruits and a good texture balance in the crunchiness of the hazelnut crust and crumb topping.  When we’re lucky, there’s a nice late rhubarb harvest in the fall, and I don’t have to give it up too soon!”

Craig Shelton, Executive Chef and Managing Partner ofThe Inn at Dos Brisas: “To me, pie is the All-American dessert—I mean, nothing is more American than an apple pie.  I love apple pie, but now, since being in Texas, I am absolutely in love with Texas Pecan Pie.  I’ve had pecan pie before, but never Texas Pecan Pie and I am very excited about it.  It must be something about the soil and the climate that makes a Texas Pecan Pie stand out against a regular pecan pie.  Every family here has its own recipe, but most seem to have a crust that is more crumbly than flaky, and plenty of whole pecans in the filling that have been artfully arranged.  It really is a lot of labor and a lot of love, and definitely well worth it.

Jeff Tunks, Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Passion Food Hospitality:  “Great meals and great food always have a great memory connected to them.  My favorite pie—Key Lime Meringue Pie—always reminds me of a vacation I had one summer in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  The pie is simple and classic, with a graham cracker crumb crust, Ned & Allie’s Key Lime Juice, eggs, and condensed milk, but it’s always so delicious and always makes me remember that perfect summer.”

Tucker Yoder, Executive Chef of The Clifton Inn: “Shoofly Pie, without a doubt.  Dad grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where there is no such thing as another pie.  He was from a large family, so holidays and reunions brought on the pies. My recipe does not fly quite like the family’s, but it calls for a basic piecrust with cakey filling.  The change is with the molasses: instead, I go for King Syrup [a Baltimore table syrup from 1901].  It strikes the perfect balance between sweet, smooth, and dark.  Sloooowly but surely, the family is growing accustomed to it.”

So many choices!  Lard or butter, Shoofly or Rhubarb – when it comes right down to it, only you can decide what’s best between two crusts.   
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