Food Artisans

A different New York artisan every week.

Food Artisans: Rachel's Pies

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[Photograph: Rachel Gladfelter]

When friends urged Rachel Gladfelter to start selling her pies, she thought, "Why not? I'll give it a shot." Then when she found herself making 22 pies the night before Thanksgiving 2010, she realized the idea might have legs, and applied to Smorgasburg.

Now she runs Rachel's Pies (a new favorite of Ed's at Smorgasburg), working around her full-time job at a Chelsea gallery. "I generally bake overnight from Friday to Saturday morning, then put the pies in a cooler" and had to Williamsburg, she says.

She makes a lot of 4" mini pies, explaining that while she sold a lot of whole pies at the Fort Greene Flea, most of the Smorg-goers like to eat on-site. She does bring a few full-size pies to slice up though, since "some people still like a slice of pie. They're purists," she says. "I respect that."

Her wares change seasonally. "There's a constant change with the fruit pies," she says. Strawberry season is over, blueberry and cherry are in full swing, with peaches right around the corner. Once the weather cools down, she'll have pumpkin pie made with pumpkins from her family's Pennsylvania farm, apple pie, and a bourbon shoofly pie that she admits she could make all year—"it's all delicious sugar"—but the cinnamon and ginger in it make it seem more suited to the cooler months.

One pie she does have all year, along with a tart, creamy key lime, is a chocolate cream pie with a brown sugar pretzel crust. She pours dulce de leche over the crust, then tops it with chocolate filling and whipped cream. "It's like salty toffee with chocolate," she explains.

And in her spare time, Gladfelter is developing the desserts for a new restaurant from the people behind Building on Bond. Palmers, which should open in downtown Brooklyn this summer, will be "their take on a retro diner, so it'll be all pies." She's planning a banana cream, a fruit option, and a key lime meringue because, she says, "with a diner, you need a meringue pie."

About the author: Stephanie Klose has more mustard than you. You can follow her on twitter at @sklose.

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