Food & Drink July 17, 2020

Not Your Grandmother’s Pie

Piedaho dishes up delicious desserts from the Gem State to the Big Apple

 

The concept of Rebecca Bloom’s flourishing artisanal pie business, Piedaho Bakery, is simple: direct-to-consumer gourmet pies shipped to pastry fans across the country. But these pies aren’t just your standard rhubarb, apple, or pumpkin. Bloom jazzes up each pie with artful crust work and exciting flavor combinations like raspberry ginger, salted caramel apple, or spiced pear with pecan streusel. Floral-designed crusts, spiced with thyme, cinnamon, or matcha (to name a few), perfectly top her pie tins filled with fruit. These pies are dressed to the nines.

Rebecca Bloom of Piedaho in her Hailey, Idaho, commercial kitchen.

“I like to test people and do flavor combinations that are interesting to us,” Bloom said. “These are not your grandma’s pies; they are a little bit different.”

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Bloom has a deep-seated love of baking and cooking. She attended cooking school in Paris and, while in Los Angeles, Bloom and her mother Ruth had a cooking blog, “Square Meal Round Table.”

“My mom has always been passionate about cooking, and since I was little, we always did it together,” Bloom said. “Cooking is our happy place.”

The blog personified their take on cooking: it’s about gathering and sharing a meal, as well as enjoying delicious food.

“My mom and I were always about who is at your dinner table. There is always something for everyone, and we can always share the meal, especially these days.”

In 2018, Bloom, her husband Dave Kurtz, and their two sons moved to the Wood River Valley with their sights on opening a business. “When we were moving, I knew I wanted to start a business up here.”

Bloom didn’t want to open a retail space, so she set her sights on delivering pies. “We started out of our house and decided we would ship pies,” she said. “I didn’t want to open a retail space, so we found a commercial kitchen and started from there.”

Each Piedaho pie is handmade in Hailey, Idaho, using the best local ingredients available, Chai Apple Pie

Two years later, Piedaho Bakery is known for making pies as pretty as they are tasty. Bloom manages the baking side of things, and her husband oversees the shipping and business components. Via the Pie Club, pie-lovers receive pies monthly for two, four, or twelve months. Pies are pre-baked and flash-frozen in a vacuum-sealed pouch. Once delivered, just heat through and enjoy with family and friends.

“I love that about pie,” Bloom said. “You have to share it. It isn’t like a cookie when you just have to eat the whole thing, unless you are insane, but with these times, maybe you can just eat your own pie,” Bloom said, laughing. “But with pie, you can sit down with anyone, have a slice, and learn something about each other you didn’t know, and have more compassion and understanding. You can’t help but feel better after.”

The idea of feeling just a bit better after a warm, yummy slice of Piedaho Bakery pie caught on like wildfire. So much so, that Oprah Winfrey named Bloom’s strawberry vanilla bean and salted caramel apple pies on her 2019 “Oprah’s Favorite Things” list. The honor was a whirlwind that sent Bloom and Dave into a tailspin of getting ready for the pending increase in orders.

“It was quite a rollercoaster,” she said. “We found out six weeks before it was coming out. We were probably not prepared; as most small businesses are not for that sort of thing. We had to totally re-do our website.”

They worked with local marketing firm Mayhem Marketing to get ready, and the new website was completed just two days before Oprah’s notorious list launched. “We sold in just one or two days what we thought would take us through the holiday season.”

Ginger Pear Pie

With the whirlwind of a national spotlight behind them, Piedaho has found its footing as a dessert mainstay for Sun Valley and a favorite for pie fans everywhere. She has expanded her offerings at local spots. Pies can be pre-ordered and picked up at Ketchum Kitchens, and their galettes are available at Maude’s and Hotel Ketchum. The pies were also a favorite at the farmer’s markets.

 

“Last year was our first year at the farmer’s market,” she said. “We were the newbies, but we feel much more conformable about where we are with our place in the valley. We hope to do some events where we do Pie Slices and things like that.”

Cherry Bourbon Crumb Pie

Bloom enjoys creating new flavor combinations with seasonality in mind and works with local farms as often as she can to procure fruit. Some of her favorite flavors are peach and cherry, although she said she hate’s pitting the cherries.

“I love our peach pie,” Bloom said. “In the summer, it is just so good.” The pie also holds a special place in her heart: She won a coveted blue ribbon for her peach pie at the Western Idaho Fair. “I thought, ‘Okay, I can never enter another pie contest ever again.’”

  Customer favorites span the flavor profiles, like her blackberry with the thyme crust, but the most requested are the two varieties from Oprah’s notorious list.

“Those are the pies that people want,” Bloom said. “The salted caramel apple; I will be making that pie forever.”

This article appears in the Summer 2020 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.