My visit to a beloved pie shack in Southern Maine.
Last week I had the great fortune to visit a wonderful bakery in Cape Neddick, Maine called Pie in the Sky.
My mom divides her time between Vermont and this part of Maine, and has told me for years to get to this bakery. This year while on vacation we finally made it. We spent that morning shopping and lunching just down the road in York Beach, and then we headed out for pie.
We found Pie in the Sky right off of Rte. 1 in a large house painted vinaceous red with lovely, twisted wisteria trees bordering the driveway. On top of the sign hanging from the corner of the building is a small, wooden figure who points to the sky: a quiet and earnest beacon for folks seeking the perfect pie.
The owners, John and Nancy say this on their website for the bakery:
"Celebrating our 33rd year! Our family owned (in-home) bakery continues to use AA unsalted butter, no preservatives, no transfats, & lots of hard labor to bring you an unforgettable product. Our handcrafted pies are 10" deep & serve at least 8."
When we walked in the first thing that struck me was the coziness of the space. The counter and glass case full of pies and muffins are just a few feet in front from the door, next to a colorful chalkboard listing the day's bounty of pies.
To the right there are glass jars full of cookies (the largest cookies I have seen - 4" x 4" slabs and 2" thick!) From a column behind the cookies hang dozens of spring-form pans and beaters for the stand mixer. Shelves behind this hold more tools of the baker's trade as well as a row of well-used cookbooks. On the walls hang pans, baking sheets, and utensils. A massive Blodgett oven anchors the kitchen, while pies cool nearby. There is nothing contrived or forced about this bakery's atmosphere (seems like there are a lot of those lately.) It is a bakery kitchen that feels like a comfy, home kitchen.
Did I mention the stand mixer? It's as tall as me, painted fire engine-red, and stands behind the counter. It was made in 1932, and is so heavy that it requires special supports built into the floor underneath it. I was thinking about that awesome stand mixer long after we left!
The owners John and Nancy are so warm and friendly. As my mother has come to this bakery for so many years, she and Nancy have grown to be good friends. They share with each other about their lives, their kids, their love of good food and even swap cookbooks. Nancy happily chatted with me about their bakery journey and showed me the layout of the storefront and the kitchens. Their home lies right behind the bakery through a set of swinging doors. I was in awe, it just felt wonderful in there.
We chose a Sour Cream Blueberry Pie and some of those huge cookies: Chocolate Chip, Gingerbread, and Ranger (with oats, coconut, chocolate, pecans, and walnuts.) I hugged Nancy goodbye with a promise to return next summer. (Dang it, why did it take me so long to visit this place??)
We toted our baked lovelies back to our campsite in Old Orchard Beach to share with the family. The cookies were scrumptious, soft, and sweet. The Chocolate Chip cookies were made just as I like them: with lots of gooey chocolate!
My favorite that evening was the spicy, sugar-crusted Gingerbread cookie (I must be thinking about the holidays already.)
And then... that pie, that pie. A beautiful pie deeply filled with a luscious Maine blueberry and sour cream filling, topped with a toasted almond crumb crust. It was just divine. We definitely blew away the S'mores competition for campfire dessert that night as our family hungrily dug in to this pie. We had rich, filling slices by the fire and then more for breakfast the next morning. (After breakfast I hoarded away the last remaining sliver in our cooler to take back home with me.)
Christian and I spent the ride home to Vermont talking about that pie. And wondering what it would be like to have a bakery attached to our living room.
**Pie In The Sky closed in 2016, owners John and Nancy retired after 35 years of making pies! Here is a link to an article about Pie In The Sky and their local legacy.