Pie art: Harvest Pizzeria

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From the June 28, 2012 edition

Just because you make great pizza pies doesn’t guarantee you’ll make great dessert pies, right? It does if you’re do-everything-great Harvest Pizzeria; more specifically, it does if you own Harvest and have a ringer of a pie-maker for a mom.

Dianne Crader, the behind-the-scenes creator of Harvest’s phenomenal Mama’s Seasonal Pies, is mother to owner Christopher Crader, and hence mother-in-law to co-owner Bethany Lovell. Yeah, it’s a family affair at Harvest, and as with so many other pie artists I encountered, the familial chain of terrific cooking links multiple generations.

Dianne Crader learned about baking at her grandmother’s knee. She recalls marveling at how deeply relaxed her granny looked while peeling apples for family pies. After savoring Crader’s own unforgettable pies, I‘m guessing she accesses a similar, Zen-like calmness.

At first glance, I thought even I couldn’t possibly finish a titanic slab of Harvest’s super-duper deep-dish strawberry pie in one sitting. When I bit into it though, its blend of familiar pleasures (thick, comforting crust and soothing, supple filling) and unexpected treasures (large chunks of unusually tangy fruit, intriguing crumble topping) compelled me to fervently investigate further.

Yeah, sensitive palates might be able to suss out some of that pie’s “je ne sais quoi” elements (Hints: ginger, rolled oats and cream cheese), but only a master can bake in a grandmother’s love.

Photos by Tessa Berg