Annalee DePaoli doesn’t take her eyes off of her pies. Chatting in the corner of her Lawrenceville shop — all too casually for the number of pies she’s put together in 10 minutes — she fills tin after tin, each lined with a freshly-rolled-and-cut crust, with salted caramel filling. Sticky, sugary caramel drips slowly from a spoon, nudged faster by Annalee’s diligent hand.
After the caramel comes apples, Annalee scooping a precisely-measured amount of chopped, spiced apples straight from a local orchard on top of the caramel. The slices, stacked into a small mountain, are covered with crust, which is pinched and poked until ready for the oven.
For almost seven years, Annalee has been rhythmically, methodically baking in her photo-studio-turned-scratch-pastry-kitchen, Piebird. Named for the pie bird, a ceramic baking tool used to vent pies as they bake, Piebird has become a staple in the neighborhood and a familiar face at local haunts and pop-ups alike. She chose the name because of its homey, rustic feel – though then she realized she had to start making more pies.
Each of Annalee’s crusts is handmade. The typically one-woman show contracts this portion of the process to her husband, who mixes each batch by hand. (This is no easy task. Before Thanksgiving, Annalee sold 380 pies. Every crust recipe makes six crusts. You do the math.)
Her crust takes a twist on classic recipes, using only butter. No lard, no Crisco; just butter. It makes the pies a bit flakier and fills it with good flavor.
Annalee doesn’t have a storefront, and currently, she has no plans to go into retail. To get a taste, add a pie to your next Harvie box. Or, join her monthly Pie Club (flavors reflect the season!), look for holiday pop-ups, and visit Allegheny Wine Mixer or Feast on Brilliant.
This December on Harvie, you can order one of Annalee’s holiday specials, salted caramel apple pies. And make sure to keep an eye out for her next creation. You never know what she’s going to dream up for Harvie next! (We heard it might be something savory!)
New to Harvie? This month, you can get your first box of home-delivered, local food for free. Just text FREE to (412) 790-3280 to claim your coupon code. Learn more at: eatharvie.com