When we stopped by Pie Oh My! in Maplewood last week for a sneak peek, the sweet smell of cinnamon, sugar and apples wafted through the air and greeted us as soon as the door opened.
For owner Jane Callahan, the new storefront, set to open at 11am on Wed., Sept. 5, is a dream realized: “When I left my last job in the non-profit sector, I took a step back before moving on and asked, ‘What makes me happy?’" The answer: "Making pies."
Callahan, who was raised in a large family on a farm in Minnesota, learned to bake pies from her mother who did everything herself, cutting the fruit and rolling out the crusts by hand. She makes pies as her mother did but added a few tweaks, like an apple corer, peeler and slicer. When the shop opens, she’ll work with a small staff, crafting pies with the same precision, now in her own brick-and-mortar baking space.
“I’ve tried to take careful, incremental steps, from selling pies at the Clayton Farmer's Market to taking a space in the Begin New Venture Center incubator at St. Patrick’s Center to a spot at the Best of Missouri Market, which brought me great exposure,” she says.
Now, she’s looking forward to doing business in Maplewood. “I carefully chose my location,” she says. “I’ve pushed to open in time for the Schlafly Art Outside fair. I want to be part of the community."
The interior of Pie Oh My! is open and airy. Its pristine sage and mocha walls, glistening patterned floor and glazed cream tongue-and-groove custom counter show careful attention to detail. “My intent with the open design of the shop is so people can see how we work - transparency,” Callahan says.
Callahan sells her handmade pies in bites and single servings as well as tart-sized, 5-inch and 9-inch pies - something for any pie lover who walks through the door. Because she uses only fresh fruits, the pies she hand crafts follow the seasons. “In spring, I like strawberry-rhubarb, perhaps because it is so fleeting.”
Summer brings blueberries, blackberries and peaches for double crust, lattice topped and pies decorated with overlapping stars and hearts. In July, Callahan returned from a weekend trip to Michigan with sweet cherries. “We have apple pies, nearly year round, early fall through winter, and pies from Missouri pecans and nuts,” she says.
“We buy locally grown pumpkins and make our own filling. I’ve learned pears are easy to work with, and predictable, which you want, plus they pair well with apples.”
Winter brings cream pies as well – coconut, banana and chocolate.
The pairings and custom crusts highlight Callahan’s creativity and her response to what’s available seasonally, such as apple rum raisin pie in winter, apple-cranberry in fall and blueberries and blackberries baked with late-season apples in the spring.
She mixes with butter for flavor and shortening for flakiness in her hand-mixed and rolled crusts. She’s learned unbleached, unbromated flour makes a better crust than all-purpose flour. Sometimes she adds extras to the crusts, like the citrus zest and Grand Marnier cream she adds to her pumpkin, Grand Marnier and citrus pie. “I’m experimenting with vodka in the crusts, which burns off in the baking, but adds extra flakiness,” she says.
With all of her work, she says she “has such fun with the customers. Every day, I get great closure.”
Pie Oh My! will be open from 11am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 1pm to 6pm Sunday.
Pie Oh My!, 2719 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood, 314.704.4416, pieohmystl.com