Welcome to Sugar High, a series devoted solely to spotlighting the best ways to sate a sweet tooth in St. Louis. We'll sample the best the city has to offer at restaurants, bakeries and holes-in-the-wall, and provide some insight on how these confections are made along the way.
Summertime means plenty of must-eat foods in St. Louis, but with the fourth of July fast approaching and the tantalizing smell of barbecue soon to envelop the air, there's one food we look forward to the most on the picnic table: a slice of that good old-fashioned American pie. Luckily, Sugarfire Smokehouse (9200 Olive Boulevard, Olivette; 314-997-5301) provides.
Pastry chef Carolyn Downs, who co-owns Sugarfire as well as local dessert institution Cyrano's (603 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-963-3232), offers a full selection of her homemade pies at each of Sugarfire's three locations. Options -- available in ready-to-go containers by the counter -- include pecan, key lime, apple and Mississippi mud, but it's the appropriately named "Crack Pie" that has us hooked.
Downs began with an adaption of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York's original "Crack Pie" and set out to create a Southern-tinged version of her own. She says it resembles one of her favorites -- a classic brown-sugar chess pie -- combined with gooey butter. The mixture fills a vanilla wafer shell, baked until the top practically cracks from forming a caramelized crust. The sweet, sticky filling almost tastes like candy -- "like a praline but not quite," says Downs.
Get a gooey slice at Sugarfire served at room temperature, or head to Cyrano's where the addictive dessert comes to the table chilled for a different experience. For how to master this treat in your own kitchen, stay tuned for what Downs is cooking up next: Sugarfire and Cyrano's recipe books.
Previously on Sugar High: - Russell on Macklind's Coconut Cake - The Kitchen Sink's Sweet Potato Fries - Giovanni's Kitchen's Panna Cotta Trio - Crepes Etc.'s Crepe Cake - Cafe Ventana's Beignets - Frida's Raspberry-Chocolate Avocado Mousse - India Palace's Gulab Jamun - Melt's "Violet Beauregarde" Waffle - Brevan's Patisserie's "Brendan" - Winslow's Home's Chocolate Cake with Espresso Meringue - La Patisserie Chouquette's Eclair - Black Bear Bakery's Raspberry Oat Bar - Gelateria's London Fog Gelato - 4 Seasons Bakery's German Cheesecake - Libertine's "Candy Bar" - Cleveland-Heath's Old Fashioned Cherry Pie - Schlafly Tap Room and Bottleworks' Sticky Toffee Pudding
We're always looking for some sweet ideas. E-mail the author at email@example.com.