Behind the Scenes with Meghan Daly of Daly Pie

daly pie post

If you live in New York you are in luck. You are just a phone call or bakery stop away from one of Meghan Daly’s amazingly delicious pies. Meghan founded Daly Pie in 2011 and she has been satisfying cravings, saving Thanksgiving dinners and making people happy (it’s no coincidence that pie and Prozac both start with P) ever since.  She uses the classic hand-crafting method and cherry picks the best local ingredients for her ever-changing and expanding menu of seasonal pies. Just like mom used to make; well, actually better, but we won’t tell her if you won’t. Read on to get a behind the scenes look at Daly Pie, complete with baking tips, links to the best markets in NYC and, of course, how to get your hands on one of these I-can’t-just-have-one-piece pies. You’re welcome!

What inspired you to start Daly Pie?

I had been working in Marketing Operations at a major corporations and was feeling very unfulfilled. I didn’t know what to do…I thought to myself, “if money didn’t matter, what would I do, what makes me happy?” The first thing that I though of was making Pie. I had always done it growing up, but had found myself turning to baking as an adult for stress release – when I baked the whole world melted away. Pies are what I like making the most. Looks like it wasn’t a bad move!

What is a typical day like for you?

Every day is truly different. Since all my pies are made to order, some days I am not baking at all. Other days I am making 30+ pies for an event. Usually I get up early, deliver orders in the morning, restock ingredients at the green market, catch up on business stuff (accounting, marketing, etc), bake in the afternoon to usually midnight, clean up and start all over again.

What are your best baking tips?

To make a super flaky pie crust use COLD ingredients. Cold butter, cold water etc. and mix until just combined. I make all my crust by hand using a pastry blender and I find a little inconsistency in the size of the butter makes the difference. For fillings remember to balance the flavors (a little salt goes in almost everything) and a little citrus bring out the flavor in fruit, especially berries.

What is your favorite pie right now?

My favorite “winter pie” is Toasted Pecan, Date and Pear Hand Pies. But honestly Spring / Summer pies are my favorite. I can hardly wait for spring fruit, I am currently trying to track down some early Rhubarb to make my favorite spring pie – Nana’s Strawberry Rhubarb!

Where can we buy your delicious pies?

Pies are available for order/delivery in NYC via www.dalypie.com and at Tree Haus (51st @3rd ave). Expect to see Daly Pie in many more locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn soon.  Follow me on Facebook or Twitter for the latest locations and events.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that I create something that brings people happiness. Someone told me the other day that they had a dream about my Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie and that made my day. It’s a good sign when people are dreaming about your products!

What are your favorite go-to blogs (other than Things To Cherish :))?

Since my job has taken me off the computer, I don’t get a chance to read many blogs anymore. My go-to is twitter. I always catch a great story, recipe, or idea.  When I do get a chance to read a blog it’s thehairpin.com for amazing wit (especially the Scandals of Classic Hollywood series  – so good!), gothamist.com for NYC happenings, and apartmenttherapy.com for design inspiration.

What are your favorite business resources for entrepreneurs?

Other business entrepreneurs! I’ve met a lot of people at markets and events throughout the city and generally everyone is very helpful and supportive. Everyone has at least one great tip to share or knows someone who knows someone! Before I started my business officially I took some workshops through SCORE and learned about rules, regulations, and taxes that really helped a lot.

How do you stay organized and get everything done?

Tenacity and Evernote! I use Evernote to make ingredient lists for the market, I keep all my recipes in the app and I write notes for new recipes in it when inspiration comes.  Getting everything done is something that I have to work on. I am really bad at responding to emails in a timely manner. I read them, and think that I will respond later when I have minute, but never do! I am working on just responding when I read them – it’s a goal for 2013!

What are your favorite Brooklyn/NYC haunts?

NYC is such a great place, but when I have down time I tend to stay in my general neighborhood (Gowanus – Park Slope – Carroll Gardens). My favorite Neighborhood bars are  Lucy Lounge which makes amazing seasonal cocktails with crazy ingredients and Commonwealth with friendly bartenders and a great outdoor area. I also love prospect park for a stroll and have a major soft spot for Coney Island both the beach and the boardwalk.

What are the best flea Markets/fests to attend in Brooklyn/NYC?

There are a ton places to go, but I think Artists and Fleas is the best market – it’s a well curated mix of vintage clothes, art and jewelry with really friendly people. There are always great pop up markets too, I was at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar in December and it was super fun. Live bands, DJs, Food and great shopping. I hope they will be doing another pop up this summer!

What do you love to do in your free time?

Walking around the city, everything is in constant motion here so there is always something new to see. I also have a brunch club with a bunch of friends and we go to a new brunch place almost every Sunday.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Creating my 100th pie recipe (currently at 96) and spreading the pie love to more people.

Goosefoot: The Perfect Dining Experience

One of the courses at Goosefoot

We had a wonderful meal at Goosefoot in Chicago to celebrate my birthday. The prix fixe menu couldn’t have been more perfectly paired with the winter weather. Everyone at the table ooohed and ahhhed over the rich and savory dishes, with the Chestnut Soup being a favorite. Each food presentation was akin to a piece of art (see one of the courses above) and the Chef and his wife couldn’t have been more hospitable. It is now one of our favorite Chicago restaurants and we will definitely return. Reservations can be hard to come by, but you can stop in and occasionally snag a table due to a last-minute cancellation. Did I mention that it’s BYOB and affordable? It doesn’t get much better than this!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Just Got Real

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If you don’t like chocolate, I’m not sure we can be friends. If you have an allergy to chocolate, I’ll give you a pass as long as it’s not one of those fake-allergies-so-you-can-diet ploys. The truth is, most people either like or love chocolate and some have even dreamt that a magical place like the factory in Charlie and Chocolate Factory exists (we’re not naming names). Well, no need to waste any more time dreaming because I’m here to tell you it does!

This past weekend we visited San Francisco with some friends from college. One of our friends resides in the City by the Bay and always plans unique excursions for us (see the excursion from our last trip here, it was so much fun and highly recommended!) This year we did a tour and tasting at Tcho (named for the first syllable in chocolate).

During the tour we learned about every step in the chocolate making process, from growing the Cacao beans to putting on the candy bar wrapper (usually done by women because their hands are colder). It interesting stuff. So much goes into creation of chocolate. A full 150 Cacao pods worth of Cacao beans are needed to make a single chocolate bar and there are tons of steps in the process: harvesting, fermenting, drying, de-shelling, etc., etc. It’s a wonder why chocolate prices aren’t akin to those of caviar.

After the informative video and question and answer session, we took a short walk through the factory to see some of the machines and assembly lines. Most of the process occurs in South America or Africa (Cacao pods cannot be imported into the U.S. and they can only be grown within 20-30 degrees of the equator because they thrive on high, consistent temperatures.)

We ended the tour by tasting 6 different chocolates. We were told that the proper way to taste a piece of chocolate is to warm it up in your hand for a few second, crack it by your ear so you can hear if the chocolate has been tempered correctly, breathe in the aromas being omitted by the piece and finally pop it in your mouth and let it melt on your tongue (do not chew it!) My favorite was the SeriousMilk Bar that is 53% Cacao, which makes it tastes like a mix of milk and dark chocolate. So good!

The tour last about an hour and it’s absolutely free! Before or after the tour I recommend grabbing lunch at the Ferry Building, which is a short walk away. What are your San Francisco recommendations?

Gift Guide 2012

gift guide

For Her: bareMinerals White Hot Palette $39 / Custom Insta Watch (uses Instagram photos) $44 / Ali’s Collection Circle Bullet Earrings $55 / Loeffler Randall Mini Convertible Crossbody Bag $450

For Him: Cole Haan Men’s Air Colton Wingtip with Color Pop Laces $198 / U.S. Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club $38.95/month / Carbon Audio Zooka Bluetooth Speaker and stand for iPad & computer $99 / Luxe Bespoke City Guide Box Set $55 for 5 Guides

For Both: Seriously Simple Parties $24.95 / Fellina Sok-Cham Espresso Set $65 /Book of Mormon Tickets

Crate and Barrel Ombre Ornaments (at the top) $6.97

The holidays have arrived and gift shopping is in full swing. To help alleviate the stress of finding the perfect gift for all those special people in your life, I have compiled a list of links to the best online, gift guides. Browse my picks above and click away below to find gifts for every budget. Happy Holidays!

A beautifully edited gift guide by the folks at Rue.

Find great art for everyone on your list with this 20 x 200 gift guide via Oh Happy Day.

Net-a-Porter’s gift guide is perfect for stylish family members and friends.

This gift guide by To and From is full of chic finds!

Treehugger.com’s gift guide has cool things that are environmentally friendly.

Cnet’s gift guide has the solution for the tech lover on your list.

New York Magazine’s gift guide has something for everyone and so does Time Out Chicago’s guide.

Urban Outfitters has some fun stocking stuffers.

And last, but certainly not least, Refinery29’s Chicago Holiday Shopping guide. It features two boutiques that carry Ali’s Collection, Cerato and Handle with Care!

The Best of this Week

I love this quote because it suggests both inspiration and rebellion, which I feel are often one in the same. I hope your weekend is full of some of the greatest pleasures life has to offer. In the meantime, here are some links to help the week pass faster.

10 very helpful travel sites.

A chic wedding

Top drugstore beauty buys. You can view my picks here as well.

Amazing home goods store.

DIY Modern holiday decorations to get you in the spirit.

H&M’s new designer collaboration.

Some chic blazers.

The coolest flatware.

Comfort food.

Quote by Walter Bagehot discovered via Pinterest.