Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
A pie that plays just as well in Paris, France as it does in Paris, Texas
Pecan pie is hardly hard to find—you’ll see one in nearly every American bakery, or at least on the menu in most every roadside diner. The challenge isn’t finding one—it’s finding a great one. If you or someone you know has been on the search, I feel super confident that we can help you! Paesano bread, coffee cakes, Magic Brownies, and French baguettes are certainly a more significant chunk of our sales, and people come a long way to buy hard-to-find Jewish rye, rugelach, or Cranberry Pecan bread, or ship them from us all over the country. With all that good stuff going on, it’d be easy to ignore the pecan pie. I’d say put it front of mind. I think the pecan pie at the Bakehouse is one of the best things we bake!
I’m not the only one. Managing Partner Amy Emberling wrote in Zingerman’s Bakehouse, “This is my favorite Bakehouse pie, just because I enjoy it and also because it fits our mission perfectly—full flavored and traditional.” Want an outside affirmation? It’s been acclaimed by the Detroit News, featured in In Style magazine, and was famously carried years ago to Paris by Frankie Andreu’s wife to help him celebrate the Tour de France bicycle team victory! All that, and I still smile thinking about the guy with the big biceps and the navy blue t-shirt who’d come to town a few years back from New Orleans to attend the annual Plumbers and Pipefitters conference who simply couldn’t believe how good it was.
To state it simply, this is an exceptional pecan pie. Muscovado brown sugar is one of the “secrets.” In the spirit of time management, it takes just as long to put this amazing sugar in our pie as it would take to use industrially-refined brown sugar, but the flavor it brings out is about fifty-five times better. As Amy elucidates, “What makes the difference between a good version and a great version is the quality of the ingredients and their proportions.” Above and beyond the sugar, “Real vanilla and flavorful butter are also critical.” And the featured element—we use mammoth halves of “Western Schley and Pawnee pecans, both of which are known for their good flavor.”
One of our regular customers orders about 100 of the Bakehouse Pecan Pies each year from the crew at Business Gifts. I think he’s onto something. Shelf life is solid—you don’t have to eat it right on the first day, and it freezes well. The flavor is incredible. As long as the recipient eats nuts and isn’t on a no-sugar diet, you’re in great shape. If you’re doing the eating yourself, consider a scoop of Creamery gelato or some freshly whipped cream. Want to take things up a notch? Add a bit of ground espresso or cocoa powder to the whipped cream. As Mississippi-born food writer Craig Claiborne once declared, “Nothing rekindles my spirits, gives comfort to my heart and mind, more than a visit to Mississippi … and to be regaled as I often have been, with a platter of fried chicken, field peas, collard greens … to top it all off with a wedge of freshly baked pecan pie.” You can recreate a reasonable facsimile of Clairborne’s spiritually uplifting meal by coming by the Roadhouse and finishing it off with a slice of this amazingly tasty pie! It also makes a marvelous breakfast—like a pecan roll in a pie crust! Pair it with some Mocha Java coffee and you’ll get your day off to a delicious start. Alternatively, spread a bit of the Creamery’s handmade Cream Cheese on your plate, then put the pie on top—the creaminess of the cheese, the dark gently bittersweetness of the pie, the butteriness of the crust, and the natural nuttiness of the pecans come together to make a very special way to end a meal!