Local bakers let Brooklynites eat pie

November 23, 2011 Heather Chin
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Fifteen amateur bakers and dozens of Brooklynites turned ThirdAvenue’s Art Room into a pie-tasting room for two hours on Sunday,November 20, at the second annual Bay Ridge Pie Social.

Organized by Art Room co-owners Justin Brannan and LeighHolliday as a way for residents to bond over good food and goodcompany, the event also functioned as a community fundraiser forThe Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC), a local nonprofit thatserves the needs of children and adults with developmentaldisabilities.

At this time of year, it’s great to bring people together[because] people start thinking about giving back, said eventorganizer and Art Room co-owner Justin Brannan. We thought it’s agreat way to kick off that season, the holidays, because afterThanksgiving, no one can eat a stitch.

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The mood was festive as people lined up inside the shop, whichwas cleared of its art tables to make room for the nearly 30 piesthat arrived throughout the afternoon. There was pumpkin pie, applepie, pecan pie, key lime pie, shoo-fly pie and lemon custard pie,as well as random flavor combinations like Dodgeville WisconsinCheddar-crusted Winesap Apple and Rosemary Pie, Sage-scented MaplePork Belly and Potato Pie, Caramel Apple Cheese Pie and CandiedAcorn Squash Mousse and Dulce de Leche Pie.

Not only was every single one delicious, but each bite was akinto re-learning that just about anything can go into pie.

Lingonberry pie – I’d never heard of it and so I wanted it,said Ridgeite Mari DeVito of fellow baker Erin Evenson’s creation.The lemon custard is also delicious. I saw the flyer on Facebookor in my email box and came because one, it’s for the Guild, andtwo, I like to bake. I thought, if I can contribute, then I’llbring my mom and she can eat half of my pies if no one elsedoes.

For her part, Evenson – who brought four pies with her bakingpartner Chris McCreight – described her baking strategy as acombination of drawing on family recipes and randominspiration.

Two are directly from my family’s Norwegian influence,Wisconsin Norwegian recipes that translate well to Bay Ridge, saidEvenson. The acorn squash one was because it was local produce[from the Bay Ridge Food Co-op], and the last one was because lastyear I was in Montreal, so I thought, pork belly!

All bakers were crowned pie champions, receiving a gold medalnecklace in thanks for their contributions. Even the littlest baker- three-year-old Archer Sheridan – got one.

We like to bake things together and we love Leigh and love theArt Room, so we came to support them, said Archer’s mom KendraShedenhelm, who noted that Archer chose his pie’s ingredients – acrazy but delicious filling of peanut butter and cream cheese.

Other favorites included the apple cheddar pie – appreciated bySenior Advisor to the Brooklyn Borough President Carlo Scissura -and the cranberry-pear pie – Ridgeite Lucy Napole’s preferredflavor.

The true favorite of the night, though, was Bay Ridge andBrooklyn.

The community is an extension of [our consumer’s] therapy,said Paul Cassone, CEO of the GEC in thanks to those assembled.Without your help, we could never have gotten the support andsuccess that we have.

Sponsors of the event included Cebu, the Green Spa and WellnessCenter, The BookMark Shoppe and HôM.

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