The first Pie CSA I opened to the general public, which ran from January to April, just had its last pick up yesterday. People signed up to receive two six inch pies every other week – one sweet and one savory. A big part of the program is that the pies were all off-menu flavors – things that we had never sold before, and weren’t selling on the rest of the site.
I decided to have off-menu flavors as a personal challenge to myself – it forced me to come up with new pie flavors every other week. But I didn’t quite realize what a project it was going to be – constantly thinking of and testing new pie flavors took a ton of time and creative energy. Always doing new recipes meant that I never quite knew how the recipe would go when I scaled it up – the yields could be off, or quiches might need a couple more eggs to set properly. Making components I had never made before could be dicey – the first time I made dulce de leche, I didn’t cook it long enough and it wouldn’t set up. On the other hand, it forced me outside my creative comfort zone, and now I have 18 more pie flavors in our recipe book. I can also make a killer dulce de leche. All in all, this was a good choice for this winter.
Would I do off menu flavors again? Maybe – but only when my company is a lot bigger. About halfway through the winter I realized I was spending all this time developing these new recipes, but couldn’t sell them to the general public. If I’m going to put so much energy into a project, I’d like it to potentially increase my sales. Other pie shops that do off-menu flavors for subscribers – like the Three Babes Bakeshop – have a bigger staff. With three owners, one of you can come up with new flavors, and two of you can focus on the regular menu. But there’s only one of me.
And now, because I want to feel like I accomplished something, here’s all the pie flavors we did for the CSA over the winter. For the record, my favorite flavors were the ones for January 20.
Sweet: Yogato Sweet Po-tah-to (sweet potato with a cream cheese swirl)
Savory: Cheddar and Broccoli Quiche
Savory: Leek, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart
Sweet: Shaker Lemon Pie
Savory: Fig, Stilton, and Caramelized Onion Tart
Sweet: Maple, Apple and Quince Pie
Savory: Spinach, Feta and Olive Quiche
Sweet: Cranberry and Vanilla Custard Pie
Savory: Scalloped Sweet Potato and Blue Cheese Tart
Sweet: Apple Blackberry Pie
Savory Pie: Shepherd’s Pie
Sweet Pie: Banoffee Pie
Savory Pie: Kale Quiche
Sweet Pie: Pineapple Almond Right-Side-Up Pie
Savory Pie: Apple, Onion and Gruyere Tart
Sweet Pie: Grasshopper Pie
Sweet: Pear Dulce De Leche
Savory: Scalloped Red Potato and Onion Tart