Michele’s Pies Apple Pie Class

Here is my first (and hopefully not last ;p) guest blog written by my good baking friend, Lauren about our baking class experience at Michele’s Pies.

In light of Michele Albano’s recent recognition as one of Fairfield County Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, I decided it was finally time to write my guest entry  for the blog… that really should have been written months ago.  Alas, with a few patient reminders and the seemingly cosmic kick in the ass, this blog has just come together marvelously!

Back sometime this past winter, Lindsay came across a pie making class through Wilton Continuing Ed.  If you’ve never taken one of your local continuing ed programs, definitely look into them, some of the classes (one timers and ongoing) are worth checking out.   Anywho, we signed up for the class and couldn’t wait! ( Mind you, just a month (or more) prior Lindsay, Brendan and I took a trip to Michele’s Pies on the Norwalk-Wilton Line.)

The class had 12 other people, all women, and most seemed to be friends signed up together.  Michele walked us through her famous apple pie story, from her family crust recipe to the types of apples.  I’m not sure about Lindsay, but I was very happy with the amount of prep Michele did for us in advance. Gotta love not having to peel and dice apples.

By far, the most challenging part of the night was making and rolling out the crust.  Proper crust has always been one of those baking nightmares filled with crumbling messes, holes and rolling pins to blame your troubles on.  While not everyone struggled, I think Michele walking through the steps helps even a more practiced baker refresh those skills while allowing the class to help and learn from each other.

After making the crust, class moved along nicely, filling pies and listening to Michele’s anecdotes on her business, the second location in Westport (now open), growing up baking, and of course, Bobby Flay and FoodNetwork.

Now with two local shops, there’s no excuse not to try one of Michele’s pies.  They’re incredible and knowing they’re made by a successful female entrepreneur will make the trip even sweeter (for us aspiring businesswomen anyway).   I’ve yet to visit the new Westport location, but I’ve heard great things about both the pies and atmosphere.  Guess it’s time to plan a visit… hopefully it won’t take me as long to get there as it did to write this entry.(Note: Lindsay did not have as much luck with her crust as Lauren did, but it was still delicious!)

Pies Pies Everywhere!

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, Brendan and I were going to my parents house for a big Sunday dinner, so I felt like I should earn my dinner and bring a dessert.  My parents had mentioned a trip to the Cracker Barrel the night before so I got the nostalgic thought of trying to make a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie like I so fondly remember from their menu from years ago.  Off I went to search for a recipe to bring for dessert and fell upon a simple one from Cooks.com.  Another fantastic combination in addition to the chocolate and peanut butter, was also adding Cool Whip and cream cheese to the peanut butter mixture.  Food comas begin like this…  I purchased a chocolate graham cracker crust by Keebler and went to the task.  The pie called for a layer of the melted chocolate mixture, the fluffy peanut butter, Cool Whip, cream cheese mixture, and another layer of chocolate to put into the fridge.

Here are the delectable layers before putting the pie together:

After a few hours of refrigeration we were ready to indulge.  The final product:

Brendan’s perfect piece:

If one pie in a day wasn’t going to be enough, I called my baking friend Lauren to see if she wanted to go check out Michele’s Pies in Norwalk, CT.  Michele’s Pies has been featured on the Food Network, on a Bobby Flay Throwdown for pumpkin pies!  It was amazing how I had never tried the bakery before, as it is settled in a nice little nook near the Norwalk/Wilton line.  Walking in to the quaint store I was overcome with choices of which pie to choose for my afternoon snack.  After much debate, I settled on the Apple Pear Cranberry Crumb.  The topping was so delectable and the filling was oh so tasty!  I am a picky eater when it comes to apple pies because of the apple texture.  If the apples are too hard I am completely turned off from the apple pie experience, but these were just right!  Not too mushy, and not hard as if they were not cooked long enough.

Michele’s Pies is currently renovating a space in Westport, CT to open their second storefront.  I am very excited for this because they will have breakfast pastries in addition to their scrumptious pies!

This post is also in honor of Lauren and I taking a pie baking class on Tuesday March 1st from none other than Michele Albano herself!  I cannot wait! :)

Pecan Pie and the Traveling Baker

One night I had a hankering for a dessert, and figured, it is pecan pie season with all of the upcoming holidays, let’s see if I can whip one up to practice.  My mom was very excited by the off chance of having her favorite pie BEFORE the holidays were officially here so she sent me the Karo recipe from their website.  An easy feat looking at the recipe (as I read through ALL of the directions beforehand so I did not have the same problems as with the cinnamon rolls), carved out a chunk of time and got to baking.  My pie baking skills are a little rusty as the most I have applied myself to doing is a pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving with pumpkin out of a can.  Libby’s is my close friend once a year.  I also took a short cut by using a frozen pie shell I had left over from making a quiche one night for dinner.

A delicious looking pie as a result:

The best thing about making the pecan pie was, I finally had a traveling cake carrier for safe travels!  My mom had just purchased the below model for my cake carrying days and it came in hand on my 40 mile to and from commute to work in order to deliver a nice slab of pecan pie to my family.

You can find it here!  It can hold 24 cupcakes or a large cake and they also make pie carriers that double as deviled egg carriers!!

My dad has decided that baked goods are my visiting fee and I am only allowed if I am carrying something in the carrier.  A small price to pay when trying to learn the ins and outs of baking, while not trying to gain hundreds of pounds feeling obligated to eat all of the proceeds of my trusty oven.  And you know what they say, your family will always be your toughest critic, so hopefully I can win them over as I learn. :)