The Great Thanksgiving Pie Sale
December 16, 2019
Thanksgiving menu planning often involves the addition of pie for dessert. Since 1981, Hospitality has stepped in to lend a hand with the baking; in fact, quite literally many hands, for the Bake Shop’s annual pie sale. This year, the Culinary Support Center (CSC) crafted, assembled, and baked over 1,000 holiday pies, made available by advance order online with multiple pick up locations across campus on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
Christina Wethington, the Managing Director of the CSC, organized the pie execution. As Christina was quick to point out, no great effort is accomplished solo. Along with Tom Leonard, the Executive Chef of Catering, a staff of nine expert team members at the CSC are dedicated to baking holiday pies, including Ashley Acquarulo, Joseph Hamilton, Kallie Chausse, and Brandie Villanova, and four of whom, Edna Betzer, Rhonda Myers, Bonnie Hill, and Pedro Rivera, each have an impressive 20 to 30+ years of service for Hospitality behind them. Christina is continually inspired by the passion they lend to the kitchen.
Pie prep is a well-planned process, beginning weeks in advance with a butter-shortening blended dough made by-hand then frozen until ready to use. Pies are crafted from recipes long established in the Bake Shop, developed in collaboration with senior leadership. The focus is on fresh, simple ingredients, all made from scratch with locally sourced produce, such as apples from Cahoon Farms, a family-run orchard in upstate New York. At a reasonable $9.00 a pie, this is not a moneymaking operation, but a campus-wide thank you to share dessert happiness with University colleagues and their families. The CSC team view holiday pie-baking as an opportunity to give back to the Yale community, while showcasing their bakers’ talents.
This year’s flavors were chosen for their perennial popularity. On each table, there’s likely to be a traditional favorite (or two or three). For Christina, it’s pumpkin, though it’s a close runner-up to 2019’s most popular Yale pick, apple crumb, followed by chocolate bourbon, pecan, and apple. Congrats to Audrey Martineau for guessing the campus-wide choice in November’s MENU contest!