Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

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Christmas Gift List Purveyor #16: Charley Braga of Crust

posted by in Home Bakers, Pasig/Ortigas

Between cake and pie, I will always choose pie. These pies.

Previously featured Christmas Gift List purveyors .

In the play Boston Marriage by David Mamet, there’s a quote that sums up why I love pie so passionately: “We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”  Pie to me, is pastry pleasure, a filling cradled in a crust; and crust is of course, my main reason for eating pie.

Crust is the name of Charley Braga’s home baking business. It’s called so because, “It’s taken me quite some time to perfect my crust,” she explains.  “I’ve tried it with shortening, margarine, and even different brands of butter but nothing can replace the taste of butter.” For the past three months, I’ve been enjoying her Classic Pecan Pie. This type of sweet is a rarity in Manila’s dessert landscape because pecans are pricey, but Charley has pushed forward with this prize pie of hers.

A mixture rich in eggs, butter, and brown sugar is plied with pecans, and a fragrant layer of vanilla wafting through. It sits on an all-butter crust bravely carrying its treasure but crumbling in delicious surrender at first bite. I know a woman who steers clear of dessert but when this Pecan Pie is proffered, she heads straight for it.

Charley’s been baking for years but it’s only now that she’s heeding the call of the sweet. While in Paris, France a few years ago taking up her Masters in Business Communications, she realized that she was spending more time perusing patisseries instead of other more “scholarly” pursuits. Back home and while flirting with the idea of giving in to pastry (a most worthwhile pursuit, I believe) she regaled friends and family with her specialties, among them an exceptional apple pie, and a salted caramel chocolate cake.

Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie is in the foreground.
a wedge of Dulce de Leche Pecan pie

At the Dessert Comes First Christmas Gift List, Charley will be serving two versions of her Pecan Pie. The first is the Classic Pecan Pie described above. The second is a Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie which Charley observes, “While purists may prefer the Classic, I like this one for its caramel-ly flavor.” The filling, while somewhat more runny, is also an unfurling of smoothness and silky sugariness punctuated by pecans. And my gosh, that shortbread crust it sits on…

Pick your pecan pie pleasure. Or have both. At the event, you can even have it with a side of vanilla ice cream. Oh, pleasure indeed.


Charley Braga of Crust
Pecan pies (Classic, Dulce de Leche, Chocolate, Maple Syrup); Apple Pie; and for Thanksgiving, a riff on Pumpkin Pie.

(02) 502.4931
(0917) 583.1581

10 Responses to “Christmas Gift List Purveyor #16: Charley Braga of Crust”

  • Charley Braga??!?!? Hey, wait a minute…



  • I am not a fan of desserts at all. But I was fortunate enough to get a taste of Charley Braga’s chocolate cake and I loved it. I’m still not a dessert fan (though I understand why other people are fans), but I would eat cake baked by Charley Braga anytime. Especially the chocolate cake. Hehehe. I hope she goes into the cake business more. I haven’t sampled the Charley Braga Classic Pecan Pie yet, but I bet it tastes great.


  • Parang I want to combine this pie with the vanilla bean ice cream from Sebastian’s.


    Lori Reply:

    Do it!



    Mahar Reply:

    Let’s see how the combination works this Saturday!


  • There will be PIE! Yes!!! :-D The crust is most definitely the raison d’etre of pies; I can forgo the filling (especially if it’s a fruit I’m not fond of), but a good crust, never. I know where to get good pecan pies (one day, you’ve gotta try my sister’s pili pie), but a dulce de leche pecan pie sounds divine! The chocolate one sounds terrific, too. And wow, pumpkin pie! The only place I can get that is at home, when my sister makes it. How LUCKY is your family, to have TWO amazing bakers?!


  • Pecan pie! My most favorite dessert :( More reason why I feel sad I can’t come on Nov 12. Was so happy when there were still tickets after I got back from Korea (and so can’t buy on first day of selling). I called before coming to Fully Booked, they said they still have 5 tickets so I immediately drove to BGC from QC. Upon reaching the store, they said may tickets pa. So while I was happily getting my money from my wallet, they asked my name.. and after I gave it, wala na daw pala tickets. Ohhh… wanted to insist they give the tickets to me since from what I know, reservation of tickets is not allowed. But the Kuya from Fully Booked said wala na daw talaga bigla ticket. Awww. So heartbroken. :( I guess at least I have an excuse to eat and eat that day na lang to drown my sadness… hehe….


  • Hi Lori,

    Is it possible to go in during the event and just buy stuff? I went last Sunday to buy tickets and (just as I expected), tickets were sold out already. You can stamp on my forehead “NO FREE FOOD” just to closely monitor my movement.


    Lori Reply:

    Thanks for the effort Michelle, but no ticket, no entry.



  • Have you gotten a chance to try Crust’s apple pie? I’m awfully curious.


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