Happy Pi Day!
I care so little about math that I’m getting bored just writing this sentence, but a day to celebrate both math and pie is something I can definitely wrap my head around! Matt was away this week, which meant there was no one at home to impress with my pastry-making skills (read: no one to wash up the mountain of dirty dishes I’d likely produce). This meant instead that it was time to finally stop by a bakery I’ve been stalking online for several months: Pie Junkie and Bakery (formerly the Pie Hole). There was a lot of parking available immediately in front of the store, the staff were helpful with suggestions and I was soon carrying a precarious stack of pies out to my car. Pro tip: bring a buddy to help keep your precious parcels safe on the drive home – I did not and only narrowly avoided disaster.
My dear friend Jody came over and I impressed her with the array of savoury and sweet pies she was going to be sampling! The presentation at Pie Junkie is something to behold as each pie is a buttery little work of art, many of which are baked in little wooden frames that easily slide down the pies and pop off for easy cutting. This is the part where I should tell you about a lovely little salad of mixed greens and vinaigrette that I put out with the pies, but I want to build our relationship on honesty and therefore won’t get into any details about whether there was or was not a salad right now.
We started with the cheese and tomato tart. The slightly spicy and well-herbed soft cheese filling was topped with bright, juicy cherry tomatoes. The acidity of the tomatoes along with the mild, small slivers of olive baked throughout were perfect for cutting the rich creaminess of the filling, which of course just meant we could eat more of it! Jody and I agreed that each bite of the tart required a tomato, a generous gob of the cheesy filling and a crisp, flaky piece of pie crust for the whole thing to feel complete.
Next, we split a potato galette, which was so good it kind of hurt my feelings when I realized I’d finished my half. Galettes, for those not in the know, are more of a free-form pie where the pastry has to be sturdy enough to encase the fillings on its own steam without the help of a pie plate or one of Pie Junkie’s precious wooden frames. The sides on the galette were nice and high as you can see, which meant big mouthfuls of pastry in every bite. The filling was perfectly soft potato and onions, creamy cheese, with light, delicious herbs enhancing every bite. This was our favourite not only because of the addictive flavours but also the soft, smooth and crunchy textures that came with each bite.
For dessert, we had the sour cherry pie. The tartness of the cherries cut through the sweetness and made it easier to down a hefty slice. The coarse sugar that had been baked onto the lattice crust gave it a satisfying crunch without cutting up the roof of your mouth and the pastry held up well against the juicy filling. I can also vouch that when I had leftovers the next day, the pastry retained its flakiness despite being squashed on the commute to work.
On the subject of leftovers, I saved a fourth pie for a dinner party I went to at my friend Michelle’s the next night – the chocolate raspberry ganache.
I know. Look at it. First of all, it tasted just as good the next day as any of the fresh ones had the day before, and the stabilized whipped cream, flowers and chocolate garnishes all held in place well as I very carefully drove them first home, then to Michelle’s. As I cut into it, the smell of fresh raspberries and chocolate ganache rose up noticeably. I was expecting a big layer of raspberries under a bit of ganache, but it was a rich chocolate raspberry custard all the way through. This was the best cream pie I have ever purchased and I will definitely be back for more. (Grandma, if you’re reading this – please note that I said “purchased”, not “tasted”!)
Pie Junkie does catering, wholesale and fundraising orders and if you check out their website you can draw from an impressive range of sizes and seasonal flavours made with an all-butter crust and fresh, homemade fillings that will give you butterflies. They also sell various seasonal squares and brownies. If you’re desperate to try a certain flavour, call ahead to make sure they set one aside as these babies don’t last long! There is nothing I would change about these confections and I highly recommend visiting Pie Junkie (8 Spruce Centre SW) as soon as you can.