Dani Cone grew up on Mercer Island with a steady diet of ready-made meals. “My mom never cooked,” she says, “but my grandparents were unbelievably modern foodies.” That includes her grandmother, Molly Cone, who passed away in March at the age of 97. Molly was a founding member of Temple Beth Am in Seattle and an award-winning author, who taught Dani how to make the pie recipes served today at Cone’s Fuel coffee shops and Cone & Steiner markets, as well as other shops and grocery stores around Seattle.
High 5 Pies come from Grandma Molly’s special all-butter crust recipe. After opening three coffee shops in as many years, Cone was hit hard by the recession in 2008. “The economy tanked and I had employees counting on me,” she says. She comforted herself with pie. But after deciding to ramp up business by adding pie to the shops, she was unable to find a supplier she deemed adequate. So she “made a very important call to Grammy.”
In December 2008, the pies rolled out at Fuel, both full-size and as hand-held “flipsides.” She wasn’t the only one who looked to pie for comfort in difficult times — in fact, she’d tapped into the leading edge of a trend.
Dani Cone’s Ginger Peach Pie
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 50–55 minutes
- 2½ lbs fresh peaches, sliced into ½-inch wedges
- 4 oz brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 T honey
- 2 T + 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 3 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1. Wash and slice peaches. In a medium bowl, toss peaches with honey and brown sugar. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Add to peaches and toss. Add lemon juice and ginger to peaches. Mix so that all the peaches are coated.
2. Fill pie and top with a double crust or lattice topping. Bake at 400° F until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling and juicy.
All-Butter Pie Crust
For one double crust or two singles
Prep time: 2½ hours
- 2½ c flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 c cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¾ c ice water
1. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and mix gently with a pastry blender, fork, or hands. Butter pieces should be well coated, somewhat flattened, and pea-sized.
2. Gradually add water, 1 T at a time, and mix the dough until pea-sized crumbs form. Gather dough crumbs to form two patties, gently molding the crumb-like mixture into a patty shape. Wrap each patty in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
3. Do not let the dough warm up. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough patties to about ¼-inch thickness, dusting with flour if needed to prevent sticking.
Tips From Dani
Keep everything as cold as possible, even flour and utensils. Trust the dough! If you wrap it up tight and put it in the fridge, it does come together. The top needs to be a rich, deep golden-brown so the bottom will be done. Dani suggests listening for the “rapid bubble-smack” of the filling.
For a light lunch, serve a citrus pomegranate mojito with arak, a mezze of salads, and a savory pie like Melinda Strauss’s Quinoa Zucchini Pie. Top it off with pie and vanilla ice cream. — Keren Brown