by Mabel Suen
Baker Jane Callahan's humble pie business, Pie Oh My (2719 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-704-4416), started off in a small rented commercial kitchen downtown, where she prepared her from-scratch pies by hand to sell at markets or deliver personally to customers' doors. She continues to offer the same level of loving care with her baked goods at her new storefront in Maplewood, which opened in early September.
On a Monday morning, Callahan takes a break to tell us about the sweet new digs for her baking business. It goes without saying, but the room smells amazing. After rinsing off a sheet tray and dusting off her apron, she sits with us on a plaid and floral padded white bench, responding to questions behind kind eyes made tired from an early morning of solo pie-making.
The storefront gives off a quaint and welcoming small-town country vibe, which perfectly reflects her upbringing. Even though Pie Oh My's only a couple years old, Callahan's baking roots stem all the way back to her childhood on a small farm in Minnesota. She recalls helping her mother prep food on their yellow, oval-shaped metal table.
"We ate meals there, played cards there and baked there. She was centered around there," Callahan says. "We made all sorts of things like bread, cinnamon rolls, donuts, jams, preserves, canned tomatoes and pickles - but I especially loved her pies."
Nowadays, besides filling orders and selling pies in all kinds of sizes from her storefront, Pie Oh My also offers itself up by the slice at all five Kaldi's Coffee locations as well as on shelves at Local Harvest Grocery.
Pie Oh My features flavors inspired by seasonality with no particular set schedule or regular rotation. Dessert possibilities get amplified by the use of fresh, not frozen, fruits and as many local ingredients as possible. For fall, this means plenty of apple, pear, cranberry, pumpkin and nut pies, with a cream-filled option here and there.
"We don't use a lot of sugar in our fruit pies. We want the fresh flavor to come out without being overpowered by seasonings so you can really taste the fruit," Callahan says.
On a weekday visit to the Maplewood headquarters, available flavors were banana chocolate cream, maple walnut, Grand Marnier apple, pumpkin walnut crumble, pear apple cranberry and chocolate Jack Daniel's pecan.
Landing on a perfect shell recipe to line robust fillings meant a lot of experimentation. A combination butter and shortening crust sets the stage for most pies, laid over with the likes of golden brown lattices, double crusts, brown sugar-laden crumbles or whipped cream.
Make a sampler smorgasbord with cupcake-sized pies ($3), or go for 4-inch tart sizes ($4), pie by the slice ($4), 5-inch pot pie sizes ($10-15), or of course, 100 percent of the real-deal pie chart ($20-25). Who says you can't also have your pie and eat it, too?
Stop by Pie Oh My during its open hours from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. To have your guests saying "Oh My" quicker than George Takei, place pre-orders for Thanksgiving soon.