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Unique Slices of Wintertime Pie

Get your pie on at Vol. 39 and The Dearborn

It’s the year’s shortest month, and to help it pass quickly, there’s nothing like a cozy piece of pie to stave off the Chiberia chills. Pie season doesn’t end with the holidays, in fact, it has only just begun. When deciding to eat pie for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there is no better excuse to do it than on a cold winter’s day. Pies aren’t just a sweet treat for dessert, but can be a heaping savory serving, sure to satisfy your cravings. Here are two Chicago spots offering unique slices right now…

The Dearborn

Award-winning pastry chef, Courtney Joseph of The Dearborn {145 North Dearborn Street, Chicago; 312.384.1242} definitely has an eye for pie, as she previously was crafting her puffed pastries Hoosier Mamma Pie Company in Pilsen. At The Dearborn, she creates freshly baked pies, including a rotating “Market Pie” inspired by her own selection of seasonally-inspired flavors. The latest addition is her southern-style, Cranberry Chess Pie, made with a custard-style base created with buttermilk and cornmeal, local cranberries, and a dusting of powdered sugar. It gives a little hint of sugar without over-the-top sweetness. Executive Chef Aaron Cuschieri says, “Our Cranberry Chess Pie is intended to be on the lighter side, smaller portioned, and meant to serve as something sweet to finish a meal.”

If you’re looking for something even more hearty and savory, they also have the Rabbit & Curry Pot Pie. Chef Cuschieri was inspired by memories of eating hearty rabbit and curry stew, so he recreated it in the form of a pot pie. He shapes fluffy, housemade pastry crust, set in a mild curry sauce, and loads these individually-portioned savory pies with seasonal veggies like local leeks and carrots and then finishes it with succulent rabbit confit.

“Our savory pies will always be a little more intricate and have many more flavors. While with our sweet pies, we intend to create something that’s not overly sweet, keeping the flavors simple and elegant to highlight the true seasonal ingredients and flavors represented,” Chef Cuschieri explains.

Vol. 39

If you’re looking for cozy, Vol. 39 {39 South Lasalle Street, Chicago; 312.750.9012} in the lobby of the Kimpton Gray Hotel has a Cranberry Quince & Juniper Pie that is just what the doctor (or chef!) ordered. Made with fresh quince and tart cranberries, this pie incorporates Chardonnay for an oaky and crisp citrus vibe, topped off with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Pastry Sous Chef Melissa Cozzi gave us a peek into her planning for this dish: “My inspiration for this pie was due to the beautiful characteristics of the fruit quince and how it has a beautiful sweet taste and floral fragrance that I thought would pair well with the tartness of cranberries. Pairing the two together inspired me to incorporate juniper berries, adding a subtle pine flavor to accent the flavor profiles of both the quince and the cranberries to create a more complex and unique flavor.”

No matter how you slice it, these desserts are a delicious way to dine!

Kaleigh Glaza, Online Editor