Monday, March 5, 2012


Unless I'm hankering for something sweet on the spot, I rarely purchase treats I can bake at home. However, I love pie shops or shops that serve pies. I've passed by Ivy Bakery on Houston more times than I can count. Something about the place kept enticing me in but I was always on my way elsewhere or in too much of a hurry to stop. Finally the other night, I simply couldn't resist. Stepping in, I was immediately taken by the shop's warm and inviting atmosphere, not to mention the delicious smell wafting through the air.

Chef-owner Daniellan Louie has 500 plus items on rotation at her bakery, all of which she bakes from scratch. She has everything from cupcakes to confections to pies and tarts (just to name a few.) I was predictably drawn to the pie case and even with the half-dozen or so selections, my eyes instantly locked on Buttermilk Pie. I rarely see it outside the South and it happens to be one of my favorites. If you've never tasted this Southern tradition, you're first reaction might be, "ugh." But this melt-in-our-mouth, custard-like pie comes out of the oven creamy, sweet, and with a slightly tart and tangy flavor. In addition to the star ingredient, buttermilk, the basic filling consists of eggs, melted butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla; and sometimes nutmeg or lemon juice.

Ivy's Buttermilk Pie was a perfect slice of heaven. Particularly so because I got the first slice out of the pie and it was still warm from the oven. Every bite was rich and creamy. The tang from the buttermilk balanced the sugar, giving it just the right amount of sweetness. The crumbly, cookie-like texture of it's all-butter crust suited this type of custardy pie. And I liked that it wasn't too bottom thick, and had just enough overhang for the perfect combination of filling and crust in my mouth. The caramelized sugar coating was the perfect finish, adding a nice texture. My slice of pie was served in an adorable, parchment lined, 6-inch round cake pan; a nice visual touch since most of us eat with our eyes, not just our stomachs.

Ivy also specializes in custom ordered treats, meaning they can bake whatever you like, including for those with special dietary needs, such as allergies or intolerances, vegans, and diabetics. They currently have a variety of selections- gluten-free, sugar-free and more -readily available in their shop.

And for all you would-be bakers and cake decorators, Ivy Bakery also offers classes by special appointment.

Here's an article from the NY Daily News about how Louie baked her way out of the projects.

Open daily except Mondays. Hours 9am to 11pm on weekdays and Sundays, 9am to 2am on Fridays & Saturdays.

138 West Houston, W. Village, (347) 598-3452

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