Pastry chef Joy Williams started with Bonanno Concepts last October and has been making a few changes of her own to entice pie lovers with new flavors and occasional specials. One of them popped up on social media earlier this week and required immediate exploration: cheddar cheese ice cream as an apple-pie topper.
This stroke of genius came to Williams as she was contemplating ways to use ice cream flavors to enhance the pie-eating experience. "Ice cream has always been my thing," she says, so she set out to capture the flavor of a classic apple-pie topper in frozen form.
At first the experiments led nowhere; standard cheddar cheese proved unwilling to meld nicely into an ice cream base. But then she came across jars of cheddar cheese powder at Savory Spice Shop, an ingredient that proved perfect for adding a dose of cheddar flavor and color without compromising the silky texture she wanted. Cheddar cheese ice cream went from a far-off dream to an instant success with friends and co-workers, so Williams used it as the first off-menu, social-media special that will occasionally run at Wednesday's Pie. The salty-savory notes of the cheese go nicely with the shop's caramel apple pie; Williams says she adds a touch of salt to the crust and filling, which also contains a hint of lemon and ginger. The resulting combo is ideal for those who love a complex interplay of flavors without overwhelming sweetness.
The baker says she'll continue to put out off-menu specials on the pie shop's Instagram account. For those seeking a daily dose, Wednesday's Pie always has the caramel apple pie, and three other styles change regularly: one custard, one cocktail-themed and one seasonal or chocolate pie. You can order them online for pickup or sit down at the shop (with some French-press coffee) or at Green Russell and Russell's Smokehouse (down the same stairway).
Four of Bonanno's other restaurants — Osteria Marco, Luca, Mizuna and Bones — serve mini-pies in creative flavors from Williams. For example, check out the pandan-coconut cream pie with coconut jam currently available at Bones. And since today is Wednesday, it's a perfect day for a Wednesday's Pie.