A glass of milk with a side of cookies… what could be better? In this new series, we asked five of California’s most celebrated up-and-coming chefs to find out. The results are as surprising as they are delicious.
This month, the owners of San Francisco-based Three Babes Bakeshop take us behind the scenes as they prepare their signature salty honey-walnut pie, served with its perfect accompaniment: a glass of ice-cold milk.
The pie aficionados behind Three Babes Bakeshop have more than 300 different recipes under their belts, and on any given Saturday their San Francisco Ferry Plaza farmer’s market stall is bursting at the seams with the most seasonal offerings. But there’s one pie that’s almost always on offer; this salty honey-walnut delight. This and all of Three Babes’ pies are more than mere delicious specimens, honored everywhere from the Today show to Saveur magazine. They’re a platform for Anna Derivi-Castellanos and Lenore Estrada to speak out about what matters to them, like using organic whole-food ingredients and supporting local farms.
Today’s salty walnut pie does just that, made with organic walnuts from Old Dog Ranch, a fifth-generation family farm in San Joaquin County. A base of honey, cream, eggs, and vanilla bean is tossed with the freshly toasted nuts. “A glass of ice-cold milk is the perfect complement to its salty-sweet and earthy flavors,” says Lenore. Indeed, the fats in whole milk help refresh your palate because they dissolve the pie’s fats, sweeping them away to ready your mouth for a new bite. It’s solid science that’s backed up milk dessert pairings for as long as anyone can remember.
Both Anna and Lenore grew up in families where pie played an important role. Anna’s great-grandfather was the private pastry chef to J.P. Morgan, and Lenore’s grandmother was a migrant worker who fed the field hands by tossing whatever was seasonal into her homemade crusts. Lifelong friends, Anna and Lenore kept their families’ spirit alive growing up together in Stockton, California, baking for fun throughout their childhood. A glass of milk was never far off.