The City Magazine Since 1975

Upper Crust

Upper Crust
October 2010
Discover 3.14 Pies’ Cran-Peary Crumble, plus tips on crafting a delicious crust

“Pies are often seen as grandmas’ specialties,” says 3.14 Pies co-owner Brent Doolittle. “We want to make them hip again.” Since moving to Charleston in 2009, he and wife Lindsay, a Summerville native, have been working to do just that, turning out creations like the Velvet Elvis (caramelized bananas, vanilla crème, and organic peanut butter mousse), the s’mores-inspired Campfire Pie, and the Salted Rim Margarita.

The pair arrived from Chicago with only the culinary training they’d picked up while baking with their moms and grandmas. Noticing that there weren’t any pastry shops in the Holy City focusing on pies, they founded 3.14 last March. Their unique sweets—which use all-natural, organic, and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible—quickly earned spots at Caviar & Bananas, Ted’s Butcherblock, Café Medley, and more.

When asked for a perfect-for-fall recipe, they offered the first pie they ever baked together: the Cran-Peary Crumble. “We made it in our tiny Chicago kitchen to pass the time on a cold day before Thanksgiving. It became a Doolittle holiday tradition,” says Lindsay.

If you want to bake one as memorable as theirs, this pair says there’s no skipping a homemade crust. “It’s impossible for a frozen pie shell to emulate the tenderness and flakiness of a from-scratch version,” notes Brent. “For a super flaky crust, chill your water in the freezer for five minutes before adding it to the flour and butter mixture. Even better, also chill your butter for 10 minutes before incorporating it.”

Another trick of the trade? Instead of using flour, roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap. “Be sure to flip it between rolls and replace the wrap when it begins to wrinkle,” instructs Lindsay. “The less you mess with it, the flakier it will be, so pull out those upper body muscles and get it done in five or six rolls.” For an easy transfer of the dough to the pie plate, remove the top piece of wrap, place the plate upside down on the dough, and use your hand to flip it all over.

“You’ll end up with a truly artisanal creation,” says Brent. “The beautiful colors in this pie make it perfect for fall holidays.”