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Former waitresses' 'lazy' strawberry pie wins 'Waitress the musical' contest

Former waitresses' 'lazy' strawberry pie wins 'Waitress the musical' contest

A pie piled high with bright red Louisiana strawberries was named the "official" pie of the Broadway in New Orleans production of the musical "Waitress," which runs June 12 through 17 at the Saenger Theatre.


The contest, which saw Windowsill Pies, Gambino's and Haydel's competing for the honor, resulted in a win for everyone because each pie is delicious (I tasted them) and all three bakers agreed to share their recipes. (See recipes below.)


On Wednesday (May 30), the three New Orleans bakeries met at the New Orleans School of Cooking on St. Louis Street in the French Quarter - pies in hand -- to compete to see which dessert will be named the "Official Pie of Waitress the Musical New Orleans."


Chefs Ricardo Fredericks, Sarah Wood and Anne Leonhard, who all teach at the New Orleans School of Cooking, judged the entries.


The honor went to Marielle Dupre and Nicole Eiden of Windowsill Pies, a business the two friends started in 2011. On their website, windowsillpiesnola.com, the women describe the pie this way: "A luscious but light cream pie topped with chamomile-glazed strawberries. Relish summer's extra hour. The hum of the box fan. The evening's floating birdsong. Your porch swing is calling."


All of the judges praised the tender crust and the fresh, light flavor of the pie.


"It was beautiful," Leonhard said. "It looked like New Orleans."


The filling - a chamomile cream cheese mousse - is luscious and delicious, without being too sweet, Wood said.


When asked who came up with the recipe, Dupre and Eiden said they both did. The partners bake in a commercial kitchen on Octavia Street and sell pies online, by special order and through Whole Foods Markets, where they sell 2-inch pies year-round at the Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Magazine Street locations. (They deliver on Fridays). During the holidays, they sell full-size pies at more Whole Foods locations.


The friends, who met in 2004 when they were both waitresses in New Orleans, started their business by working at home, then moved on to various commercial kitchens around the city before settling in their current kitchen owned by Darryl Reginelli of Reginelli's pizza.


"We are really driven by season," Dupre said. "That is part of our mission to incorporate seasonality and so we'll have a peach just a for a minute once we get good peaches at the market."


"July and August, that's about it," Eiden added, regarding the peach pies.


Windowsill Pie's recipe will be inserted in all "Sugar, Butter, Flour: The Waitress Pie Book," which will be sold in Saenger Theatre lobby during the New Orleans run of the show.


Pies are central to the storytelling in "Waitress," a musical, with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson, based on the 2007 film of the same name. It tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, who through a baking contest and a new love interest, aims to break away from her unsatisfying life in a small town.


In the musical, which also still is on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Jenna makes up sometimes whimsical, sometimes melancholy, names for her pies, which reflect how she feels and what's going on in her life (Examples: "My husband's a jerk chicken pie," or "I can't have an affair because it's wrong (and I don't want Earl to kill me) Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Pie.")

The musical, presented by the New Orleans Theatre Association, is the final show of the East Jefferson General Hospital Broadway in New Orleans 2017-2018 season. (Find details on the 2018-19 season here.) Tickets for "Waitress" are available at the Saenger Theatre box office, 1111 Canal St., at BroadwayInNewOrleans.com, all Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at 800.982.2787.


Windowsill Pie bakery's 'Lazy Summer Strawberry and Cream Pie' was named the 'Official Waitress the Musical New Orleans' pie on May 30, 2018, during a contest at the New Orleans School of Cooking. (Photo by Ann Maloney, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

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Windowsill makes a pie crust that calls for all-purpose flour and an equal mix of butter and shortening. A quality frozen crust will do as well.


Windowsill's Lazy Summer Strawberry and Cream Pie
Makes 1 pie


1 9-ounce pie crust


1 cup heavy cream


8 ounces cream cheese


3 tablespoons sugar


1/2 lemon, zested


1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


5 tablespoons Chamomile Glaze, divided (see recipe)


2 pints strawberries


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Line pie shell with a square of parchment or wax paper; pour in enough pie weights to go all the way up the sides. Place pie shell on sheet pan and onto bottom rack of oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, then remove pie weights and bake about another 10 minutes, or until nicely golden. Check on pie shell after 5 minutes; if the bottom has puffed up, gently press down by hand to vent steam and flatten it. Allow to cool completely on wire rack.


Whip cream to medium peak. Scrape out into another bowl; cover and set aside in fridge.


In now-empty whipped cream bowl, beat cream cheese with paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar in two additions, beating well. Add zest and vanilla, and beat until blended.


Stir in the 2 tablespoons Chamomile Glaze. Then stir in 1/4 of the whipped cream to lighten up the cream cheese filling.


Thoroughly fold in remaining whipped cream until it is thoroughly mixed.


Scrape the filling into the baked, cooled pie shell. Chill at least 1 hour before adding berries. (Loosely cover with plastic wrap if leaving in fridge for longer.)


Just before serving, hull berries and cut them in half. Place them in a bowl, toss them with 3 tablespoons of Chamomile Glaze. Then, place strawberries on top of filling.


Chamomile Glaze
Makes 1/2 cup


1 cup sugar


1/2 cup water


1/2 cup dried chamomile flowers


Measure sugar into a small pot, add water; stirring to dissolve sugar.


Place over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add chamomile; cover and let stand for 15 minutes.


Pour through strainer into storage container; discard flowers.


Allow to cool uncovered at room temperature. Store airtight in refrigerator up to 1 month.


Haydel's bakery enter its 'King Cake Custard Pie with Rum Sauce Royale in the 'Official Waitress the Musical New Orleans' pie contest on May 30, 2018 at the New Orleans School of Cooking. (Photo by Ann Maloney, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

"We're known for our king cakes," David Haydel said of the reason he came up with this custard pie.


The judge said it was a close second to the winner. They described it as a cross between not-too-sweet bread pudding and a pie.


Haydel recommends Ronald Reginald's Melipone Mexican vanilla. Also, the bakery recommends using 30 percent cocoa butter white chocolate. If it's not king cake season, sub in your favorite sweet brioche cake or cinnamon roll.


Haydel's King Cake Custard Pie with Rum Sauce Royale
Makes 1 pie


2 whole eggs


1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed


1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla


1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted


1/8 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange flavored liqueur)


1 cup heavy cream


2 cups king cake cut into 1/2-inch cubes


1/8 cup each of purple, green, and gold colored granulated sugar


1 frozen 9-inch deep dish pie shell


Rum Sauce Royale (see recipe below)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.


In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine all ingredients except the colored sugars. Mix on low speed until the king cake cubes have completely incorporated into the custard. Let mixture sit for 15 minutes.


Pour into unbaked 9-inch, deep dish pie shell. Sprinkle the colored sugars on top of the custard.


Bake for 30-33 Minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a tooth pick into the center. If it comes out clean, the pie is done.


Let pie cool to room temperature and drizzle the slices with the Rum Sauce Royale. Serve warm, if desired.


Rum Sauce Royale
Makes about 1/2 to 3/4 cup


1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon rum flavor


Combine all ingredients in sauce pan. Continuously whisk on medium heat until ingredients are combined, approximately 5 minutes).


Serve warm over the King Cake Custard Pie.


Gambino's bakery entered this 'Banana Split Pie' in the 'Official Waitress the Musical New Orleans' pie contest on May 30, 2018 at the New Orleans School of Cooking. (Photo by Ann Maloney, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Johnny Davis of Gambino's Bakery made this pie, which the bakery recommends you allow to chill for about an hour before serving, so that it maintains its integrity. If you love banana splits, this one is for you.


Gambino's Banana Split Pie
Makes 1 pie


1 9-inch pie crust, baked


1-1/2 cups of homemade vanilla custard (secret recipe, so use your favorite)


2 bananas, crushed


1 teaspoon banana flavoring


4-6 ounces crushed pineapple


1 cup heavy cream, whipped


Pecans pieces


Maraschino cherries


Chocolate syrup


Bake pie crust and cool. Mix custard, bananas and banana flavoring in a bowl. Spoon into baked, cooled pie crust. Add pineapple evenly on top. Using a star tip, pipe homemade whipped cream in a large mound in center and then pipe 4 mounds around the edges.


Place a maraschino cherry on each mound. Sprinkle pecans and drizzle with syrup.


Chill for at least an hour.