Tonawanda News

Features

May 5, 2013

Creativity fuels Kenmore Pie Lady

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Barbara, who says she spends about an hour to four hours each day baking, said getting the pie crust just right isn’t all that difficult. Of course, she admits, she’s got it down to a science at this point after years of baking tips imparted to her by her mother as a child. She still uses the same recipe her mother used when she was growing up.

“I use straight-up Crisco,” to mix with her flour, salt and ice water, she said. “The secret is in not over-mixing it and not over-handling it. It’s not as hard as you think.” 

The pies — everything from coconut custard and double crust apple cranberry, to peanut butter chocolate cream and Dutch cherry — draw attention.

During an interview last week, each and every person who entered the diner stopped briefly to take in the rotating case of sweet treats. 

“This is a stopping point for people when they come in,” Barbara said.

Her desserts have such a following, in fact, that she keeps a list of regulars and what their favorites are. 

“We know what everyone likes,” she said. “We even have a list in back and people leave us their names and phone numbers saying “When you have this kind of pie or if you’re making eclairs or cream puffs, please give us a call’ “

Customers can special order whole pies to go, but they come with a $5 deposit and a warning to return her glass pie plate. Because Barbara only uses glass, not metal plates, she’s willing to part — at least temporarily — with one of her more than 100 plates to make sure her customers get a quality product.

“To me metal reflects heat, therefore your bottom crust is going be soggy in my opinion. My crusts are nice and brown on the bottom,” she said. “With glass, every time I take a pie crust out of the oven it gets lifted up and checked.”

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