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Fresh Fruit Pies: 8 places to enjoy a slice in Waterloo Region

Fresh Fruit Pies: 8 places to enjoy a slice in Waterloo RegionFresh Fruit Pies: 8 places to enjoy a slice in Waterloo Region
By Andrew Coppolino | September 2021

My late uncle used to tell a story about some of his Racalmutese friends on a construction site in Dundas, Ontario. Discussing food, and specifically desserts that they had learned to enjoy in their adoptive country, one in the group said, “That squasha they calla punkin, she makes a pretty good applepie.”

As a speaker of English as a second language, the Sicilian gentleman didn’t have it quite right using the elided neologism “applepie” as the generic term for any cooked fruit and sugar loaded between two sheets of short-crust pastry and then baked – but he got the sentiment quite correct.

Fruit pies are at their best when they capture the season’s freshest produce, but, truthfully, any time of the year is a great time for any pie, pumpkin or otherwise.

Here’s a short selection of some local pies and pie-makers for you to explore as fall rolls in.

Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant, Millbank
The classic pie recipes – obviously from Anna Mae herself – are upwards of 30 years in the baking. Roughly 15 and more fruit pies and local wherever possible – strawberries, for instance are “from up the road, as is the rhubarb. The apples pies will use Martin’s apples,” the restaurant and bakery says. There’s lard in the crust, but pies for the gluten-conscious are available. “They’re homemade and delicious,” says Anna Mae’s. Everyone knows that.

CE Food Experience and Bakery, Waterloo
This Waterloo-based bakery, where the baked goods form a good part of the “experience,” will feature a number of season fruit pies that strive to be local. That includes peach and apple when in season. Lemon meringue is a popular pre-order. This is a good option for gluten-free, nut-free and vegan pies.

 

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Homestyle Diner, Waterloo
Co-owners Craig Yantz and Denise Price, a sibling team, oversee the Homestyle Diner and the pie preparation that has proven prolific and popular. The pair do the baking of the various  seven to eight pies that change weekly, according to Yantz. Made from scratch, the fresh fruit pies change with the season – you can enjoy a slice in the restaurant or take a pie home. Chocolate-banana and coconut cream are among the most in demand, and start looking for their Dutch apple.

 

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Just Love Pie, Waterloo 
Everyone is quite at home with the bakery’s name and the more than two dozen pie selections to just love. Move quick for seasonal Niagara peach pie, and there’s still some Ontario strawberry pie. Apple pie will use Martin’s fruit. The special mincemeat pie is a family recipe that marries well the elements of sweet and savoury. Pies are nine- or five-inch, and there are halal and vegan selections. Placing a pie order is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Lost Acre Variety, West Montrose
For 19 years Vera Brubacher has owned Lost Acre Variety, and she speaks for the pie baker. There’s up to two dozen different fruit pies with Tenderflake crust, all of it made from scratch, available, including three versions of apple currently. Fresh, cream pies like coconut cream, lemon meringue and chocolate cream need to be pre-ordered, says Brubacher.

Sabletine Fine Pastries, Waterloo
Having moved from a location near the Bauer Buildings, Sabletine is now nicely ensconced on Lexington Avenue in Waterloo. Aside from a host of various French pastries, Viennoiserie and delectable items like apple galette, tarte au citron and rustic fruit tarts on puff pastry, they prepare pies of the summer season too. Pies are available daily, but there’s also online purchasing for next-day pickup. Owner Kate Sauer says their main pies are apple, cherry and blueberry. “We will be starting to prepare and bake our pumpkin and pecan pies in the next little while.” Sabletine’s traditional double-crust pies contain eggs and butter or lard.

 

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Schmidtsville Restaurant, Wellesley
The numbers rack up to 16 x 110: that’s 16 pies generally available, with the bakers calculating 110 pies made per week for the restaurant – plus many special orders. And that was Pre-Covid. Word is that pie baking is picking up once again. Crusts are made from scratch (contain lard) as are most of the fillings. They sell a lot of seasonal-ingredient fruit pies, but the number one seller is their signature chocolate-turtle pie. There’s also chocolate-peanut and black forest cream – and a concoction called Hawaiian cream which has banana, coconut and pineapple. Aloha pies from Wellesley.

Stone Crock Bakery, St. Jacobs
If you ask Erin Helwig, chef and bakery manager at Fat Sparrow Group, what makes the pies at Stone Crock Bakery so good, she will likely say that it’s “the pie lady’s touch.” That would be Selinda Martin who has been the main pie-force at the bakery for more than three decades. While their Dutch apple is likely Stone Crock’s most popular pie, there are also strawberry, rhubarb, blueberry, cherry, lemon, pecan and pumpkin that are also favourites. Depending on the season, there are usually nine to ten from-scratch pies available. All the pastry is butter based, and they are working toward gluten-free options. If your heart is really set on pie, pre-order because on market days and Saturdays they fly off the shelf.

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Andrew Coppolino is a writer-broadcaster, and is a food columnist with CBC Radio in Waterloo Region. Following a stint as a cook at a restaurant in Kitchener, Andrew chose to work with food from the other side of the kitchen pass. As a food writer, he is dedicated to promoting and nurturing culinary businesses and advocating for local chefs and restaurants. Andrew’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines across Canada, the United States and England. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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