After one of my co-workers brought in one of their astoundingly rich chocolate cakes for the interns to demolish, the Little Pie Company achieved mythic status in my mind. Their Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake was literally the best I’ve ever had, so I couldn’t wait to try the little pies that the bakery is named for. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the four individually sized pies in the Little Pie Company’s sampler exceeded even my high expectations — the medley of sweet cookie crusts and savory fruit fillings proved to be the perfect treat for a lazy summer afternoon.
The Little Pie Company may disguise itself as a humble diner with its red and white counter top, bar stools, and booths that are perfect for sinking into after your stomach is filled with pie. And while the atmosphere at their bakery in Hell’s Kitchen is certainly as inviting and comfortable as any down-home establishment, it’s clear that this place takes pie-making seriously. All the pies are handmade from scratch on the premises, and thanks to the store’s open kitchen you can watch the entire process. Pie dough is rolled out on long wood and steel tables, kitchen shelves are lined with giant tubs of Crisco, and bakers in white aprons wheel around stainless steel bakery carts stacked with cakes. Large windows at the front of the store provide light and tempt curious customers who catch a glimpse of the display counters, while tables outside allow customers to enjoy dessert al fresco in the summer months.
My friend and I needed a break from New York’s infamous muggy summer weather, so we began with a few refreshing forkfuls of Key Lime Pie. The smooth, custardy, tartness of the lime filling was complimented perfectly by the sweet crunch of the graham cracker crust. Though finding a good key lime pie can be difficult due to the acidity of the filling, this pie achieved a skillful balance of sugar and sour, making it more lip-smacking than lip-puckering.Next was the signature Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie, served warm with a thick heap of brown sugar streusel on top. Despite the fact that it is now the middle of July, the combination of cinnamon, walnuts, and juicy, warm apples felt like biting right into Thanksgiving. The filling oozes onto your fork, just like any good apple pie filling should, and sits heavy in your stomach. I’d recommend sharing an individual pie unless you’re eating this pie as an entire meal.
My personal favorite was, unsurprisingly, the Mississippi Mud Pie, which was featured in Cooking with Paula Deen magazine. The chocolate cookie crust is filled with dense, gooey, molten chocolate — I felt like I was eating warm brownie batter with a fork. A dollop of whipped cream is a necessary complement to this chocolate overdose, if only to bring you briefly back to earth before another bite of chocoholic heaven.
The Fresh Peach Pie tasted light by comparison; fresh peach filling and a crisp, lattice-top crust made for a delightfully zesty pie that (allegedly) brings a taste of the South to the big city (being from Connecticut, I can make no conjectures about Southern cooking. I’ll leave that to the experts).
The Little Pie Company experience embodies attention to detail and authenticity. The individual pies are just big enough to share, but can easily be gobbled up by one pie lover. The pies are placed in a simple white bakery box and tied with twine — an elegant presentation. If you opt to enjoy your pie in the bakery, the staff can heat your pie upon request. For a little extra, they’ll serve it à la mode, with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, or with a glass of milk. For those looking to enjoy a little pie outside the city, the Little Pie Company ships their pies overnight, though with shipping costs the pies cost nearly as much as an Amtrak ticket. And for those put off by the price (which is on the expensive side, but certainly not unreasonable), the Little Pie Company offers an end of day sale on select items from 7-8 pm. Now that’s a sweet deal.
424 W 43rd St (btwn 9th and 10th Ave)
Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 10am-6pm
A/C/E to 42nd St-Port Authority Bus Terminal, 1/2/3/7/N/Q/R/S to 42nd St-Times Square.
$4 for a slice, $7.50 for a 5 inch pie, $22 for an 8 inch pie, $30 for a 10 inch pie