Valeri Lucks is an accidental pie maker. Yes, she has been baking pies since she was a little girl after learning from her mom, but her plan when opening up Honeypie in 2009 with her brother was to just work front of house and create a diner for her community. “We actually took over a defunct restaurant and it had a pie case in it and so I just thought, ‘I’ll make some pies. I’m sure somebody will want some,'” she explains, laughing. Within the first week, a couple pies turned into 20, and Lucks went from being front of house to a full-time pie maker.
“[Pie] is so rooted in the history of our cooking at home. Everyone has a story about their grandmother’s pie or an aunt somewhere in their family history,” Lucks says. “I think it signals comfort. It was part utilitarian in the past because it was a way to utilize ingredients they needed to preserve or just use, but also was a way to bring joy out of the three staple things in your pantry and celebrate something.”
Lucks’s personal favourite pies are apple-the first pie her mother ever taught her to make and the first she whipped up with Honeypie opened its doors in 2009-and cherry (which happens to be her grandmother’s favourite). Instead of settling on either of these favourites, Lucks combined the two as a celebration of Wisconsin’s heirloom apples and Door County cherries.
If it’s your first time making pie at home, don’t be scared! As someone with over a decade of experience, Lucks says that all you really need is practice. That, and really good-and cold-ingredients. “Everything needs to stay cold if you’re making the crust. Start with cold ingredients. Put your flour in the fridge, put your bowl in the fridge, your fat, whether it’s butter or shortening. Make sure your water is cold,” she explains. “Buy nice butter, and buy flour that’s good. Whatever brand of butter, flour, or sugar you settle on, in any baking, stick with that brand. There’s slight variations between them.”
Although Lucks didn’t actively plan to become a pie maker, it seems the stars aligned. From the name Honeypie, to the pie case, everything was, in Lucks’s words, kismet. “When my brother and I launched Honeypie it was actually that we wanted to create a diner that served locally sourced food. The pie was circumstantial,” she explains. “I thought it sat with our very midwestern focused menu [and] dovetailed nicely. It really took off in a way I didn’t expect… but I’m cool with that.”
Door County Cherry & Apple Crumb Pie
Makes One – 10″ pie
1 single pie crust, use your favourite recipe or store-bought variety – at Honeypie we use our all-butter dough or for a vegan/dairy-free pie, our shortening based crust
6 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples (about 6-8 apples)
2 cups pitted Door County frozen or canned cherries (not “cherry filling”) thawed, well drained
other red, tart cherries – frozen or canned – are yummy if you do not have Door County cherries
zest from 1⁄2 a lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons of melted butter (or dairy-free margarine)
1. Mix apples, cherries, zest, lemon juice and vanilla all together in one large bowl. Toss until fruit is well coated with zest and juice. Add sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon and toss again until well coated.
2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
3. Roll your dough out to a circle that is about 1/8″ thickness and will hang 1″ over the edge of your pan. Place dough circle in your pie pan. Trim edges of your dough back if needed. Roll up the overhanging dough to the edge of the pan and finish the edges as you’d like-crimp or put lines in with a fork or leave it just rolled and rustic.
4. Put pan and dough in the fridge to firm the fat in the dough back up for about 15 minutes.
5. Remove pan from fridge and fill pie crust with your prepared filling. Pile the filling high, it will reduce when baking. Place the pie pan on top of a heavy sheet tray or cookie sheet to catch juices and crisp the bottom of the crust. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.
6. Make your crumb top. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add melted butter and toss together to get small clumps.
7. Remove pie from oven, reduce oven heat to 350. Spread crumb topping over the filling of your pie and place pie back into oven for approximately another 30 minutes. This last bake time may take less than 30 minutes or more than 30 minutes. You will know it’s done when you see very thick bubbling filling around your edges and there is no runny liquid in the centre of the pie.
8. When done baking you need to let the pie sit for at least 6 hours before slicing. It is technically still baking as it cools! If you cut too soon, your slices will be very messy (but still delicious, so your call really!)
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.