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Ask An Expert: Your Top Pie Recipe For Pi Day In Philadelphia

March 14 is Pi Day, a celebration of the mathematical constant of the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter - approximately 3.14159. Since you can't eat a mathematical constant, it's much more fun to partake in the holiday by enjoying some tasty pie (conveniently made in a circle shape). Below, three Philadelphia experts share their favorite pie recipes so that you can impress your friends and family by whipping up a pie at home. 

Bredenbeck's Bakery
(credit: Bredenbeck's)

Irv Boyd
Bredenbeck's Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor
8126 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(215) 247-7374 

Irv Boyd has spent his entire life in the baking business. He's part of the fourth generation working at Chestnut Hill's Bredenbeck's Bakery. With a history going back to 1889, Bredenbeck's offers delicious pastries, cakes, cookies and pies. In addition to fresh baked goods, the charming spot also serves hand-dipped cones, milkshakes and more at the old-fashioned ice cream shop during warm weather months. This key lime pie is fresh and bright and perfect for spring.

Key Lime Pie

Graham cracker crust:

  • Graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar


  • 3 cups condensed milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (approximately 3 limes)
  • Lime rind of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  • Whipped cream dollops on the edges and cut lime wedges


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in a bowl. Press the graham cracker mixture into a pie dish to form the crust, and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, mix condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice, lime rind and sour cream.
  4. Pour this mixture into your graham cracker crust and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Wait until the pie cools to add whipped cream and lime wedges on the top.
  6. Key lime pie is best served cool. 

Related: Ask A Philadelphia Expert: Top Zucchini Bread Recipes

Erin O'Shea
Percy Street Barbecue
900 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 625-8510

Erin O'Shea came to Philadelphia in 2006 as the executive chef at Marigold Kitchen. In 2009, she worked alongside Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook to open Percy Street Barbecue where she is chef and owner. In addition to being one of the country's few female pitmasters, she has also been featured on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and was named one of the best chefs in Philadelphia by Bon Appetit magazine. At her casual Texas-style barbecue joint, Chef Erin O'Shea is serving up smoked meats, classic sides and housemade desserts like this pecan pie.

Pecan Pie

Pie dough:
(Yields one 9inch pie bottom only)

  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, cut to small cubes and kept cold
  • 4 Tablespoons Crisco, in small pieces and chilled
  • 5-6 Tablespoons ice water (It's best just to take 1/2 cup of water, add ice and let sit while you work)


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar.
  2. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the butter and Crisco.
  3. Using a pastry cutter, start mixing the butter and Crisco into the flour mixture. If you don't have a pastry cutter, use a butter knife. The flour/fat mixture should look crumbly with some larger pieces mixed in. This will help create a flaky crust.
  4. After the butter and Crisco is mixed in, start adding the ice water, about a Tablespoon at a time. Gently knead the dough together using as little water as possible. The dough should be smooth to the touch and not tacky at all.
  5. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Spray your pie pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Add a few Tablespoons of flour and spread it around to coat the entire inside of the pan.
  7. Clear a spot on your counter and flour it generously.
  8. Roll the refrigerated dough out to 1/8- to 1/2-inch thick.
  9. Gently fold the dough in half so that you can handle it easily and place it in the pie shell. Run a paring knife around the edges of the dough to give you a nice, neat finished edge.
  10. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the dough 4-5 times, spaced out as evenly as possible.
  11. Place the shell back in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before filling and baking.

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 1-1/4 cup pecans (whole or halves)
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1/3 cup butter, melted and divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lay the pecans out on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the roasted nuts with 2 Tablespoons melted butter and salt. Set aside.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  5. Add the dark corn syrup, light corn syrup, sugar, bourbon, vanilla extract and 1/3 cup melted butter.
  6. Place the pecans in the chilled pie shell and then add the filling.
  7. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the filling is just a touch loose in the middle.
  8. Remove pie from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about half hour. Refrigerate to completely set the filling.
Town Crier Bakery (Credit, Michelle Hein)

Kerry Burns
Town Crier Bakery
3644 Welsh Rd.
Willow Grove, PA 19090
(215) 657-1624

Kerry Burns and his wife Roseann owned Town Crier Bakery in Peddler's Village from 2007 to the end of 2014. It was there that Kerry first fulfilled his goal of having his own bakery. This past fall, the couple opened their new location in Montgomery County. Taking over the former Dublin Bakery, they will be offering old-fashioned treats like pies, cookies, cakes and fresh-baked breads at affordable prices. The recipe below combines three favorites - fruit, chocolate and bacon - for a decadent dessert. You can make your own pie dough, pick up a pre-made shell from a store or visit the bakery for pie dough as a shortcut.

Chocolate Apple Bacon Pie

  • One 8" pie shell
  • 4 Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored)
  • 1-1/2 cup sugar, divided 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter plus an additional pad
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup melted chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Slice apples in small slivers and place in a prepared 9-inch pie shell. (Over fill the shell as the apples will release water during baking.)
  3. In a bowl, mix the 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, tapioca, corn starch and a pad of butter.
  4. Top apples with the sugar mixture.
  5. Sprinkle chopped bacon on top of the sugared apples, reserving a little extra for the top of the pie.
  6. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and vegetable shortening. Add 1 cup white sugar and cream (about 10 minutes).
  7. Gradually add the flour, mixing by hand to create a crumb topping. Add more cinnamon here if you like.
  8. Cover the top of the pie with your crumb mixture and the rest of the chopped bacon.
  9. Place the pie on a baking tray (to catch any stray pieces of bacon) and bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  10. Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top to create a lattice pattern.

Related: Top Apple Pie In Philadelphia

Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women's fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn't pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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