The minute I set foot in Sugarfire Pie, I knew I had walked into Wonderland. The only difference is that as I sunk my teeth into one of Sugarfire’s divine confections, I knew it was not a dream: it really was the best pie ever. The pastry shop was opened this past October by chef-owner Mike Johnson of Sugarfire Smoke House. The space has allowed Carolyn Downs, Johnson’s pastry chef for the past fifteen years, to showcase her baking talents and her creative pie-stacking skills with an open-concept kitchen.
The decor immediately transported me back to what could have been my grandmother’s kitchen in the 1960’s, adorned with bright, printed aprons, pop art and an old-school TV. The types of pie filling the display counter are innumerable, as in, if you have heard of any single variation of pie ever created, odds are Sugarfire can hook you up. Apple-bacon-cheddar pie, cherry slab pie, whoopie pies, hand pies, stack pie, cobbler and pake (yes, that’s a pie baked into a cake…WHAT) are all the reasons I have trouble making decisions. It took every ounce of self-control I had to settle on just two: a stack pie and a piece of pake.
After my first bite of stack pie, which is one mud pie sandwiched between two Sugarfire pies (caramel-flavored), I was even more embarrassed by my failed attempt at homemade stack pie. The vanilla wafer crust on the Sugarfire pies and the graham cracker crust on the mud pie were thin and simple, not so thick that I was left with all crust and no filling at the end. The dense chocolate in the middle cut the sweetness of the Sugarfire, which was less gooey than a gooey butter bar, but had a distinct caramel undertone. The experience of eating three pies in one bite was more exhilarating than a roller coaster, possibly because the sugar rush was getting to my head, but really you just have to try this pie to know what I’m talking about.
After some deep breathing, I went in for the pake: a pecan pie baked into a chocolate cake, covered in rich chocolate ganache. The cake was almost like a dense cake-brownie, and the pecan pie was the real deal: sticky and nutty. Before trying it, I had one of those “I’ve never thought to bake a pie into a cake, this might be weird” moments. After trying it, the only weird thing about my experience was that I hadn’t tried it sooner.
Sugarfire Pie is a quick ten minutes from campus and will surely be the best thing you ever put in your pie-hole. If pie isn’t enough by itself, Sugarfire Pie also sells soft serve custard with a variety of toppings. Apple pie á la mode, anyone? Check out the pastry shop’s website to place an order or just to drool at the delicious menu, and follow Sugarfire Pie on Facebook for the latest sweet updates.
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