Eyes on the Pies

Valeri Lucks talks about the flaky enigma that dominates the bakery case at Honeypie, where she’s chief executive pie maker.

Valeri Lucks by Kevin Lawler.
Valeri Lucks by Kevin Lawler.

What’s your earliest memory of baking pie?
I started baking pies as a little girl, with my mom. I used to “secret bake.” I’d read a cookbook, then walk around the neighborhood and borrow ingredients that I didn’t have!

Can you explain this pastry’s mystique?
Pie makes people really stinkin’ happy! I’ve heard it from so many people: It just makes their day. I think people elevate [pie-making] to something mysterious. It’s a dying craft that has a tie to the past. There’s love and kindness wrapped in there.

At some point, does the idea mill for pies shut down?
We’ve done over 60 [kinds]. I have so many ideas I can’t even get to! We want to work on savory pies.

How did the “Pie Sessions” – baking classes held at sister restaurant Palomino – come about?
It goes back to that mystery of pie-baking and teaching stuff grandmothers knew. Friends were asking for lessons. We make it fun. Come, hang out and get some hands-on practice on crusts, fillings [etc.].

Watch our bonus online video, “In the Kitchen With Honeypie’s Valeri Lucks” here.

‘Eyes on the Pies’ appears in the May, 2015, issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
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Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.