Food & Drink
The Life Of Pie
(Photo: Fallen Chocolate Pie, Jenna Saraco)
“What’s American pie?” It’s a question Cheryl Perry and Felipa Lopez asked themselves when they developed the concept behind Greenpoint’s Pie Corps on 77 Driggs Avenue. Perry and Lopez have set out to broaden our view of what pie can be and are slowly reshaping our expectations one surprising variety at a time. Slow being the key word - Perry and Lopez have taken a cue from the slow food movement by enveloping whole, natural ingredients in a flaky, buttery crust. At their six-month-old shop in Greenpoint, savory never tasted so sweet.
It all started about five years ago when Perry and Lopez began cooking together. Perry came from a restaurant background and Lopez was an avid home cook. When the ladies linked up in the kitchen it was obvious there was a successful partnership in the making: “We immediately knew we wanted to work together, and right away we knew it had to be pie,” explains Perry. The ladies have long appreciated the multi-ethnic cuisine of New York City, and pie seemed to be the perfect vessel for their creations. Their fillings range from spring lamb tagine, to curried potato and pea, to honey lavender custard, and all are made using fresh, real, whole ingredients.
The very nature of making a good pie is slow. “Most people equate baking pies with baking bread; fresher is better. With pies though, they only get better the next day.” Their measured, careful technique and attention to quality ingredients pays off in the final product.
It all starts with the crust, explains Lopez: “Fresh grain flour is different than all-purpose flour. It gives the crust a flavor edge.” She’s right. The signature crust is used for every pie. Balanced, flaky and tender, it’s versatile enough to complement the savory richness of the Braised Brisket and contains just enough of a hint of salt to underscore the sweetness of a slice of their sultry, bittersweet Fallen Chocolate.
While Pie Corps is slow food, there’s nothing sluggish about its recent success. It was only two years ago when the Perry and Lopez entertained the idea of starting their own business. They started cooking together in a test kitchen in upstate New York where they were surrounded and inspired by farm fresh ingredients. They debuted their pies at The New Amsterdam market and completely sold out within the first three hours. Six months later they moved their operation to the city and began wholesale distribution, and five months after that they opened their storefront and bakery in Greenpoint.
Now, Perry and Lopez bake anywhere from 600 to 1000 pies a week. In addition to the menu of more than 30 varieties of pies, Pie Corps also caters events and offers weekend classes, like the Pie Crust Intensive. And while you can still find them at local farmer’s markets in Brooklyn, the best way to enjoy their pie is warmed and plated up at the shop on Driggs Avenue, washed down with a homemade glass of strawberry lemonade.