F;;; ;;; ;;;;; ;;;;; ;; ;;;;;;; to Blu; Country, Minnesotans love their pie. The state boasts some old-school shops making pies that would please even a
French pastry chef, as well as some new-fangled pie makers
that are reinventing the art form. Here’s a sampling of some of
our most inviting pie shops.
The Rustic Inn Cafe, up the road from Two Harbors, is
a classic North Shore pie place with a comfy interior and
formidable pie menu. The house specialty is an apple caramel
pecan pie of surpassing gooeyness, which arrives less as a slice
than an explosion of caramel, nuts and fruit. The North Shore
berry pie is as fresh and bright as the apple caramel pecan is
sugary and dense, and makes a nice chaser if you’re a two-slice
kind of guy or gal.
Cozy and well-known for its brunch, the Heartland Kitchen
& Cafe in Crosby has a serious rep for sensational pies,
including a caramel apple nut that rivals the one at Rustic Inn.
There’s no ordinance stating that pies have to be sweet, and
that’s a wonderful thing. While you may not think of Bemidji’s
Turtle River Pasties as a pie shop in the traditional sense, its
meals-wrapped-in-crust have all the gourmet sensibility of
their sweet cousins. Made with 100 percent bu;er crusts and
filled with items including smoked brisket, lean corned beef
and kraut, and a breakfast-ready mix of ham and cheese, Turtle
River’s pasties break all the rules of traditional pasties and
become impressive dishes in the process.
The venerable Keys Cafe (with nine locations throughout
the Minneapolis-St. Paul area) is a cornerstone bakery in the
Twin Cities, and its pies are a mainstay for good reason: They’re
a;ordable but made with care. These classic takes on traditional
flavors will get you through the summer (or the holidays) without
ever needing to turn on an oven.
The Turtle Bread Co. in Minneapolis turns out stunning la;ice-topped pies that promise and deliver gourmet flavor. The shop’s
fruit pies boast a crispy, sugar top crust and the sort of bright flavor
that comes from real fruit (as opposed to canned fillings).
Stillwater visitors are advised to try a restaurant or two
featuring Sara’s Tipsy Pies, a relatively new dessert line that
o;ers inventive, boozy pies. Sara’s o;erings include varieties
using beer brewed by the local boys over at Li; Bridge Brewing,
and the 2 Gingers Irish Apple whiskey pie that is one of the
The Aroma Pie Shop (in Whalan, near Lanesboro) sits amid
some of the state’s most dramatic rural scenery, but it doesn’t
coast on its surroundings. Its o;erings are, hands down, some
of the best in the country. The fruit pies taste bright and clean,
but the star may be the chocolate cashew pie. This unlikely
combination of ingredients creates something akin to a rich,
fudgy pecan pie with a slightly salty top that perfectly plays o;
the flavor of its filling.
Whether you prefer traditional or gourmet, warm or
à la mode, we’ve got a pie for you. | JAMES NOR TON