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.