Step into the Village Smithy, and the first thing you're likely to notice is the mouthwatering pie display at the front counter. Over the years, those pecan, peach, pumpkin, and ever-popular apple pies have become a hallmark of the Carbondale dining institution's reputation for deliciousness. But who makes them?
The woman behind the pie magic is Ann Keller, who bakes 15 or more per week during the restaurant's busy months.
"I'm not a trained baker, but I can read and I can stir," jokes Keller in her faint Texas twang. She grew up in Houston but has lived in the same home at the foot of Mt. Sopris for 38 years. "I've been making pies for the Smithy since around 1995 or '96. All homemade, with the same crust recipe in a 10-inch pie pan. I never use canned filling or anything like that. It's all from scratch."
Keller reports that her apple pie is the reigning perennial favorite among Smithy patrons, but that she usually supplies pecan and a rotation of cream and seasonal fruit varieties as well. Although her baked wonders are the stuff of local legend nowadays, she remains humble about her talent.
"Oh, they're just the same old pies year after year," she laughs. "But it's rewarding for me. To do something that other people enjoy."
Just don't ask for that crust recipe. Top secret! The following raspberry pie, one of Keller's more unusual creations, can be prepared with your own homemade pie dough or store-bought.
Ann's Raspberry Sour Cream Pie
- 9-inch unbaked pie shell
- 4-6 cups firm ripe raspberries
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla (or to taste)
- 8 tbsp flour
- 8 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup softened butter
Fill the pie shell with the fresh raspberries. Blend the remaining five filling ingredients and pour over the berries.
In a separate bowl, make the crumb topping. Combine the sugar and flour, and then cut butter in until the mixture becomes fairly small pieces. Sprinkle topping over the pie.
Bake at 375°F until the topping is slightly browned, about 50-60 minutes.