"I enjoy the sculptural qualities of pie," says Alice Cronin of Cutie Pies. "Pie dough feels more like Play-Doh to me." As opposed to elaborately decorated cakes which, she says, "start looking like something else, even a fancy pie still looks like a pie."
Fancy pies have to taste good though, which Cronin manages handily. Her coconut cream pie, which she calls her "sentimental favorite," won first prize at last year's Led Zeppelin pie contest at City Reliquary. Her maple butter tarts, which are based on her French-Canadian mother-in-law's recipe, are three bites of flaky pastry with a sweet, gooey filling: almost like a pecan pie without the nuts.
She does offer a popular pecan pie too. "People gravitate to the bourbon pecan pie. Certain flavors are just triggers for people," she explains, like strawberry-rhubarb and key lime.
But while Cronin offers a range of traditional pies, she's also at work on more unusual flavors. "I'm starting to experiment with herbal flavors and vegetables," she says, using tomatoes in place of strawberries in sweet pies or incorporating a vegan cucumber-lime gelée made with agar agar. While most of her products are not normally vegan, she's happy to tailor her goods for people who have dietary restrictions. "Vegan and gluten free are the most requested options," she says, adding that since she has some food allergies herself, she's very sympathetic to others who do.
You can find Cutie Pies every Saturday at Smorgasburg and every Sunday at the Brooklyn Flea, or place an order through her site.
About the author: Stephanie Klose has more mustard than you. You can follow her on twitter at @sklose.