If you weren't at Pink Ghost Saturday night you missed one hell of treat: Not only was it the premier of the Ghostie's Eight-by-Eight art show, but it was also the launch party for the Purple Pie Company, a very DIY-style operation run by Miami gal, Alex Van Clief. There was beautiful pop art from the likes of Helena Garcia (who showed up at the event), Anneli Olander, and John Lytle Wilson. And there was FREE pie. And pies for sale. And cheery people eating pies. And it was delicious!
In case you missed our preview of the event in this week's Night & Day section, Purple Pie arose from Van Clief's love of baking, something she cultivated while at Syracuse studying photography. (And you should really check out her photography too; she's multi-talented, this one!) SU being in prime apple country, Van Clief quickly learned how to turn ripe fruit into tasty treats. By the time she came back to Miami, she was getting bombarded with requests for pies. After tasting her signature ones, apple and blueberry, I can totally see why.
Hit the jump for more...
Van Clief playing pie host to hungry patrons.
I wasn't the only one who dug Alex's sweets. After tasting samples from the table, folks were buying up more pies than they could carry. She makes two sizes: a traditional size for $14, good for feeding a bunch of people, and a personal size for $4, which is just right for one. If you order them on her website, the personal size comes in batches of 6 for $20. Since she doesn't make the pies made in advance, the minimum order for that size is necessary to not waste ingredients. It also means that you get your pie the day it's made. And you can tell just by looking at the quirky, cross-hatched crust that they were made "from hands, not cans."
I bought one personal pie of each flavor. What's my favorite? Well, the apple is absolutely awesome - not overly sweet, but definitely satisfying. The crust is exceptionally buttery too. You can really taste the fresh, all natural ingredients Van Clief uses. But the blueberry -- man that's good. The crust is full of sweet, crispy bits that resemble butter crumb topping, but is also flecked with oats, giving it a granola like crunch. And the filling is nothing like the goopy, runny, sugary mess that canned blueberry filling is. Instead, the fresh berries Van Clief uses retain their personality. They have a knack for exploding with sweet, earthy juice when you bite them too, just like when mom used to make blueberry muffins at home.
Pies of just the right size. How adorable!
The personal pies come in cute, miniature mason jars with screw-top lids and a purple swatch of cloth. I baked up my take-home blueberry today, and it came out looking like this:
B is for blueberry.
The great thing about the personal pie is it's almost like a cobbler. The crust on the bottom doesn't really harden up like ordinary pie crust. Instead, it becomes kind of like warm, thick sugar cookie dough. With a little bit of crunch topping, some berry filling, and that satisfying crust, it's like a trifecta of texture and flavor.
I'm saving my personal sized apple in the freezer for later, but why don't you find out how that one tastes yourself. Order one up, and let us know what you think.
I'll leave you with some cool art shots from the show. Happy pie eating!
-- John Linn
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