Sweets of the Season
Tiny Pies celebrates spring by sharing a recipe for strawberry pie
by Lauren Jones
Photographs by Annie Ray
For Tiny Pies co-owner Amanda Wadsworth Bates, pie represents nostalgia. “So many people come into our shop and share what pie means to them and their experiences,” she says. “It’s wonderful to hear that and know that our food can take someone back to a really sweet memory from their past.”
Pie, tiny pies in particular, hits close to home for the baker. Wadsworth Bates and her mother started their business back in 2010 using old family recipes. “I grew up baking with my mom and my grandmothers and my mom grew up baking with her grandmother,” she says. “A lot of our recipes come from our family. Our pecan recipe, which is used in our pecan pie and Texas two step, is my great grandmother’s.”
The inspiration to start their own pie business also came from within the family, from one of Wadsworth Bates’ sons. “We were having pie one night and my son wanted to take some to school the next day,” she remembers. “He told me I should make something he could eat with his hand. That’s when my mom and I had our lightbulb moment.” While the pair had always envisioned working together one day, it wasn’t until co-founding Tiny Pies that the stars aligned. With family recipes in-hand, they got to work on experimenting with flavors, first debuting their product at the Barton Creek Farmers Market in the winter of 2011. “We brought 75 pies that first day and sold out,” she recalls. “I knew then we were going to be OK.”
By 2014, the business was continuing to grow, and they opened their first brick-and-mortar, the production facility on Burnet Road. The South Lamar location later opened in 2016. In addition to using beloved recipes from generations past, the pair source locally, something Wadsworth Bates feels is a cornerstone in their business. “For our savory pies, we go to Johnson’s Backyard Garden every week,” she says. “For our fruit pies, we also source from Texas producers. During the spring and summer, we are getting strawberries from Poteet and Pleasanton, blueberries from East Texas and peaches from the Hill Country.”
Now that spring has arrived, Tiny Pies will be utilizing fresh Texas berries in many of its offerings. “Because we don’t use much sugar, the fruit really stands out,” she says. With a strawberry pie currently on the menu, Tiny Pies will continue its strawberry celebration into May with a different strawberry option every week: Strawberry bourbon buttermilk, strawberry limeade, strawberry rhubarb crisp, strawberry cheesecake and strawberry chocolate. Keep ‘em coming.
Tiny Pies’ Strawberry Pie
2 pounds strawberries
2 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons instant clear gel
Dice strawberries into medium-sized pieces and place in a mixing bowl.
Juice an orange and pour over the strawberries.
Mix the instant gel and sugar in a separate bowl. Then, add the sugar mixture to the strawberries and toss until well blended.
Brown Butter Crumb Topping Ingredients
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup butter, cubed
Brown Butter Crumb Instructions
Melt the butter in a saucepan, heating until it becomes browned.
Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a bowl
Slowly add the melted butter in, working until a crumbly texture forms.
Spoon the strawberry filling into par-baked pie shells and top with the crumb.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Bake for 6-8 more minutes, or until golden brown.