A Few Good Pie Places

(Rochester, NY) – Think of an All-American apple pie at a California fruit stand. Imagine a “pie shed” in Vermont that is open 24/7 so you can get a cherry pie in the wee hours. Consider a slice of sugar cream pie, the official state pie of Indiana. These are just some of the joys to be found in A Few Good Pie Places, a PBS celebration of selected spots with some of our finest, flaky baked goods, airing Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

There’s a family in western New York that runs a place called Portage Pie where all the products are rolled and crimped by hand. We watch lattice strips being crisscrossed from Montana to Maine. And every year on the first Friday of August, there’s a festival called Braham Pie Day in Minnesota that captures some of our national love for this scrumptious dessert. Pies can be surprising commodities, and good ones show up in interesting places.

This hour-long program is a combination food show and travelogue, and a loving portrait of some of the men and women in the United States who care about creating good dough and zesty fillings from coconut cream to wild huckleberries. Produced by popular PBS program-maker Rick Sebak, this special travels from Portland, Maine (home of excellent whoopee pies!) to Auburn, California, where apples are grown nearby to insure good local flavor.

Sebak and his three-person crew started shooting in their hometown of Pittsburgh, then drove to the Midwest, to New England, and to central Virginia, near the town of Elon, where they got to sample some of the fried pies at Woodruff’s Pie Shop and Café. They eventually flew to California, Washington and Montana for more. They met and talked with bakers and eaters in all these places:        

  • Portage Pie in Westfield, New York
  • Ikeda’s Market in Auburn, California
  • Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland, Maine
  • Grant Bar & Restaurant in Millvale, Pennsylvania
  • Poorhouse Pies in Underhill, Vermont
  • A La Mode Pies in Seattle
  • Nick’s Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana
  • Rolling Pin Bakehouse near Roanoke, Indiana
  • Pie Lady On 5 in South Whitley, Indiana
  • Loula’s Café in Whitefish, Montana
  • Braham Pie Day in Braham, Minnesota.

So there are classic apple pies almost everywhere, but there is also Black & Blue Pie (blackberries and blueberries), fluffy coconut cream, cherry lattice pie, the official state pie of Indiana called sugar cream pie, and a few inventions like Blue Hawaiian with blueberries, pineapple and coconut. At Loula’s Café, you can your banana cream pie topped with huckleberry sauce. That’s really good.

Pictured: The Braham (Minnesota) Pie Day Grand Champion and her award winning cherry-lattice are part of the fun.
Credit: Courtesy of Rick Sebak, WQED Multimedia 

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