I believe it was Jess who first "introduced" me to Shauna. She showed me a Long I Pie photo-- of a golden crust baked in a cast iron skillet, and said I should probably check it out. Since then I've been a devout oggler of the whole Long I aesthetic, following closely as they've launched their new website and business in Denver, Colorado (if only it weren't so far away!) As Shauna and I started to correspond, we found we had a lot in common-- pie, sure, but also a love for folk music and butter and Americana. Then we realized that we're both from Indiana and it all made sense.
I was pretty jazzed that Shauna was game to share a few words about her pie baking, The Long I Pie Shop, as well as the recipe I was MOST excited about-- "Too Piglet To Quit Pie" or her Apple, Brie & Prosciutto. At least it will assuage my hunger before I can get myself out to Colorado to taste it and meet Shauna in person. After you're done reading her words, head on over to Long I Blog to find more about the shop and read my thoughts on these same questions.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from, what are your hobbies, whaddaya like to do on the weekends, what books do you like to read, etc.?
I’m from Fishers, Indiana originally --- born and raised. Now, I have been living in Boulder, CO for the last 7 ½ years. I really enjoy traveling and try to get out of the United States at least once a year to see friends that live around the world. On the weekends, you’ll probably find me hanging out with friends at one of Colorado’s amazing breweries or distilleries, listening to live music, sitting around a table with my dearest friends eating a home cooked meal and catching up on life, finding a photo booth to take ridiculous photos in, or baking pie. As for books, I love people’s stories, so I like to read memoirs or autobiographies.
What led you up to the point of opening a pie shop and why did you decide to do it?
Honestly, I feel like it was a mix of a few things. One was the desire to honor a legacy of hospitality and generosity that my grandmother has left after she passed a year and half ago and one my mother is still building. Baking is something that my family does well. Pie is the baked good that I think of when I think of the feeling of being at “home”. It’s not like a cookie that you can eat in passing. It’s a conversation dessert. You sit down at a table with your family or friends and laugh or cry, but definitely enjoy each other’s company. The thing that led me to opening a pie shop was to combine my love and skill of pie making with my passion for helping people. I’ve done social work type jobs since I graduated college. In this past job, I worked primarily with youth and refugee families. In working with those two populations, they have one thing in common --- a low chance at obtaining stable employment. Youth and refugees have different kinds of barriers, but they both lead to not get a first chance at employment. My plan is to start a youth employment services program to go with our first mobile pie shop. We’ll teach a curriculum that discusses everything from hygiene to resume building to interview skills along side pie making and customer service skills training. My hope is that as we grow that we can expand to an employment program that focuses on refugee women as well.
What's the intersection between pie and social justice/community and specifically your social justice mission?
Pie is a creative tool for me to pursue justice in my community. Our social justice mission is two fold --- employing youth at risk of homelessness, exploitation, or incarceration and giving $1 per slice to an organizations working to prevent or restore children who’ve been trafficked in to the sex trade both locally in Colorado and around the world. Pie feels like home and safety. I want to provide a workplace that provides a place that is safe and feels like home for our youth. Also, I want to put money into organizations that provide for other youth in the city and around the world.
Pie is home. Pie is family. Pie is comfort. Pie is laughter around a table. Pie transports people to good memories. Pie is an art form that you can consume and enjoy. It’s creative and I happen to be good at making it. The “why” is how it makes me and others feel when we are eating it with our family and friends.
Tell me your pie aesthetic in one pithy sentence.
Think “what would my great-grandma do?” --- simple recipes, fresh ingredients, and butter.
I have to ask--what's your favorite pie?
My favorite pie is the pie my grandma used to make all the time when I was growing up --- Spiced Apple Cranberry Pie. It’s the best combination of tart and sweet. It brings back beautiful memories around my grandma’s kitchen table for dinners of homemade chicken dumplings and playing a rousing round of rummy after dinner.
Where'd the Long I name come from?
The Long I came from one Tuesday night sitting around the kitchen table with a couple of friends. We’re all a little nerdy, but one of my best friends from college, Mandy, is the English Lit/grammar kind of nerdy. We were dreaming together about what an Americana, homey airstream food trailer could look like. I was set on pie, but Mandy thought sliders and fries. Then, the name "The Long I" was birthed because they all have the long “I” sound in them. I chose to stick with pie.
What's your crust philosophy?
I want my crust to always be simple, buttery, flaky goodness. You achieve that by making the crust as cold as you can and bake it as hot as you can. Cold butter. Ice water. 400 degrees.
Any special pie-making tips for home bakers?
Be creative with your pie. Think of some of your favorite flavors in other foods and try them out in a pie. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.
What do you like to listen to while baking?
I LOVE music which makes it hard to choose just one genre. There are days when I listen to banjo and fiddle-filled folk music like Gregory Alan Isakov. Other days, I listen to Beyoncé and dance around my kitchen.
What pies will you be making for your own Thanksgiving feast?
My Grandma’s pie --- Spiced Apple Cranberry, Bourbon Chocolate Pecan (“The Drunken Nut”), and an experimental Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.
Tell us about the recipe you're sharing. How did it come about and what should we pair it with (other food or drink)?
I’m sharing the recipe for my "Too Piglet to Quit Pie." Last Spring, I went to Paris with a few of my close friends. Oh, it was a treat! One night we went to Rue Clar, picked up some brie, prosciutto, baguettes, wine, and macaroons, walked to the Eiffel Tower, sat on a bench all buddled up and ate until our hearts were content. It was a dreamy French picnic. I wanted to put that experience into a pie, so the Too Piglet to Quit pie was birthed. I’d pair it with a generous glass of a red wine blend from Bordeaux.
Big thanks to Shauna Lott of Denver, Colorado's Long I Pie Shop for the lovely words and recipe.
All beautiful photos by Caitlin Fairly.