31 Days of Pie: The Recap

May was the month of 31 Days of Pie. I came upon this idea serendiptously. My friend Gina, who lives in New Mexico, posted to Facebook her stop in Pietown, NM where, oddly enough, she had stopped for pie. While reading her post a random thought entered my mind, "I should have 31 days of pie in May." So, thanks to Gina, the month of May became a quest for the best pie.

Many friends suggested locations for pie. I tried to follow as many as I could. As 31 Days of Pie progressed, suddenly friends of friends were suggesting places to find good pie. I tried to follow those as well, but Key West and Sonoma were not in the cards for this particular journey. Those will have to wait for another pie journey.

31 Days of Pie was actually 33 days of pie. I jumped the gun and began on April 29. After all, you do need to warm up for a Tour de Pie. In case you missed the daily updates, here they are. At the end you will find my Pie Awards.

April 29 – A little early out of the gate on 31 days of pie. Lunch at the Forum in Hales Corners was capped by a delicious slice of Dutch Apple Raisin pie. The filling was a perfect combo of slightly firm apples with just the right gooeyness. The crust was not as flaky as I prefer, but still tasty. The Forum has a case with at least a dozen pies from which to choose. Mmmm! Pie!

April 30 – Rhubarb pie at Birdie's Cafe was both sweet and tart – perfect with a cold glass of milk. Although at six bucks for a slice of pie and a glass of milk, a little steep.

May 1 – The two day prologue is over, and 31 days of pie begins today. Lunch began with a healthy garden salad at Beans and Barley, followed by the waitress's favorite – apple pie. Good pie, but the whole wheat crust was way too dense to be satisfying. I had a taste of Jesse's banana cream pie. Better choice.

May 2 – Day 2 of 31 days of pie: took a road trip to Schreiner's in Fond du Lac. OMG, butterscotch creme meringue pie with a graham cracker crust is to die for.

May 3 – So I had the key lime mousse pie and Laurie had the tartlette. Both were good, although the crust on the key lime was meh. Oh, and the Stuart Cellars Sangiovese was yummy.

May 4 – Picked up some Chocolate Silk Pie from C. Adams Bakery in the Milwaukee Public Market. It's waiting for me at home in my fridge... I am in awe of the Chocolate Silk Pie – thick, rich, creamy with an crumbled oreo crust. C. Adams Bakery earns an A+ for this one.

May 5 – Had lunch at Comet Cafe, which included Ginger Apple Pie for dessert. I loved the zing of the ginger, the flaky crust and the oatmeal pecan crumble topping.

May 6 – Had lunch with Jesse at Pegasus Restaurant on 78th and Greenfield. The doublecrust blueberry pie was good, although the filling tasted too much like canned fruit, perhaps it was. Jesse had the chocolate cream pie and gave it a thumbs up.

May 7 – Day 7 pie comes from Honeypie in Bay View – Jumbleberry Pie, a delicious combo of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry (so far as I could tell) that was oh so delightful. Highly recommended.

May 8 – Did Dave and Buster's with Laurie and the kids for Mother's Day (Laurie's request). Decent food, but Whac-a-Mole was the highlight. I love hitting rodents with a rubber mallet. I also managed to find a piece of Banana's Foster Pie on the dessert menu. It was OK, but I plan to stick with bakery/cafe/diner pies in the days ahead.

May 9 – Homemade Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie is fabulous. A chocolate wafer crust with vanilla ice cream and a mint cream topping. Easy to make and I'll share the recipe if you ask. Nine days down, 22 to go.

May 10 – Today's pie is Key Lime and comes form Buckley's Kiskeam Inn. I loved this pie precisely because it defied my expectations. The lime was understated and the pie was a bit custardy. The chocolate crumb crust was a surprise as was the raspberry sauce that came with the pie. Raspberry and lime? Nature may not have intended these fruits to be combined, but Buckley's knows what they're doing.

May 11 – Coconut Cream pie at Ma Fisher's tonight. Extra credit for not overdoing the coconut flavor. Points deducted for too much whipped cream and not enough coconut custard. nice crust. Overall a B- pie.

May 12 – Whole Foods Cherry Pie tonight. Excellent crust with nice sugar sprinkles. The cherry filling should have been a little more tart for my tastes. Overall a nice pie.

May 13 – Apple Pie a la mode at Al's Cafe in Carlsbad. The pie was warmed to a perfect temperature. The filling had the right amount of cinnamon. The ice cream was deliciously melting into the pie. wonderful!

May 14 – Marie Callender's Peach Pie today. Excellent crust. OK filling. Looking forward to Village Pie tomorrow.

May 15 – Village Pie is an awesome place. Too many choices so I had to go with a double pie option – one slice of boysenberry and one slice of pecan. I'm in pie heaven. Photos to follow. Now off to George's in La Jolla for dinner with my brother.

May 16 – took my parents to Via Sicilia for a belated Mother's Day lunch, and followed that up with some Strawberry Rhubarb pie from Debbies Restaurant and Pie Shop in San Marcos. This is another standout pie – excellent soft flaky crust, sweet and tart filling, crumble topped – definitely worth a return trip.

May 17 – had dinner at Irina's Kitchen in Whitefish Bay – a Ukrainian Dinner followed by some homemade apple pie.

May 18 – I think I may have discovered the perfect pie crust. Cafe Lulu makes a heavenly flaky pastry crust that is almost croissant-like. I had the Cherry Pie and savored every last piece of it. It is truly remarkable.

May 19 – The key lime pie at Water Street Brewery is more like a key lime cheesecake on a graham cracker crust.

May 20 – Caramel Apple Pie at Bluemound Gardens was a slurry of overbaked fruit. Avoid at all costs.

May 21 – I'm not a big fan of lemon meringue pie, but for the sake of research I sampled one from National Bakery and Deli on S. 16th St. I give it two thumbs up. They also have a variety of cream pies as well.

May 22 – Saturday's pie was Berry Cherry from Alterra on Humboldt. Mmm mmm good! Blueberries and cherries complement each other well. Give it a try the next time you're at Alterra.

May 23 – Excellent road trip to Madison. Jesse, Matt and I went to Monty's Blue Plate Diner for breakfast and pie. The Tin Roof Sundae Pie was awesome – a pastry crust topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate, a thick layer of chocolate cream with marshmallows, and a mound of piped pastry cream with shaved chocolate and peanut butter sauce. Jesse had the Drumstick Pie – pastry crust topped with soft served dipping chocolate, peanut butter cream and the piped pastry cream. Well worth the trip.

May 24 – My friend Christine and I had some Frozen Key Lime Pie on a Stick Double Dipped in Dark Chocolate at Bosley's on Brady. It's a mouthful to say, and several mouthfuls to savor. Truly not a state fair food on a stick item. Try one – you'll like it.

May 25 – Apple Summerberry Pie from the Elegant Farmer today. The filling was quite good, but I'm not sure why it is baked in a bag. The crust is very thick and crunchy, which has a certain appeal, but I prefer light an flaky. I'm told they thicken the pie with tapioca flour. The bag still baffles me.

May 26 – Cherry Pie from Beans and Barley. The granola topping was a nice touch.

May 27 – Thursday's pie is Peach Praline from Borzynski's Farm Market in Racine. I can tell you that (a) peaches and pecans go very well together, and (b) Borzynski's makes a very fine crust.

May 28 – I figured no quest for pie is complete without tasting at least one supermarket offering so I bought a coconut custard pie from Pick n Save on North and Humboldt. Good news: it was only $4.99. Bad news: it was pretty average. Better news: I warmed a slice of yesterday's Peach Praline Pie in the microwave for 30 seconds and savored every last bite.

May 29 – Had a double pie night: a slice of rhubarb and a slice of lemon meringue from The Gingerbread House in Muskego. Both were good. The meringue was especially light and airy.

May 30 – The journey is complete. Norske Nook is pie heaven, and it's a really good thing it's over 450 miles round trip. Over 40 pies available; 10 blue ribbon pies from the National Pie Championship; Marlene as our waitress; blueberry crunch; whitechocolate raspberry; did I mention Marlene? Yes. All expectations were fulfilled. Tomorrow 31 days of pie comes to an end. I plan a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie.

May 31 – BBQ Ribs slow cooked on the grill, grilled veggies, Malbec, and homemade Strawberry Rhubarb pie. That's an excellent way to finish an excellent weekend. The pie was a new recipe. Good crust, good flavor, but it needs more starch to thicken the filling (a little soupy, sad to report). 31 Days of Pie made May go by quicker than I might have imagined.


31 Days of Pie Awards

Best Fruit Pie: Honeypie JumbleBerry Pie

Best Cream Pie: Schreiner's Butterscotch Creme Meringue Pie

Best Non-Traditonal Pie: Monty's Blue Plate Diner Tin Roof Sundae Pie

Best Crust: Cafe Lulu Cherry Pie

Holy Grail of Pie: Norske Nook

Honorable Mention: Buckley's Key Lime Pie, Alterra Berry Cherry Pie, Village Restaurant and Pie Shoppe Boysenberry Pie, Bosley on Brady Frozen Key Lime Pie

Thanks for following me on this quest for pie. What a long, strange, albeit very tasty journey it has been.