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click to enlarge 'Hey Turkey' sandwich – turkey, bacon, cheddar, spinach, herb aioli on Olde Hearth multigrain

Photo by Rob Bartlett

'Hey Turkey' sandwich – turkey, bacon, cheddar, spinach, herb aioli on Olde Hearth multigrain

A letter of recommendation for the stellar Audubon Park bake shop P Is for Pie 

Sweet P

I imagine these times have been particularly harsh to livers, waistlines and teeth, given that booze, food and sweets are what we turn to when fumbling towards, if not ecstasy, a new normal. Though I have to say, the sweet pastries at P Is for Pie are anything but normal – in fact, they'll leave you in a state of temporary euphoria the way only copious amounts of butter, sugar and flour can.

Last week I picked up a couple of bags of goodies (I may have gone overboard) and rushed home one morning aching to have a Dale Cooper moment with a slab of cherry pie ($5.50) and cup of coffee. (They post daily menus on Instagram and Facebook.)

I warmed the pie while I Aeropress-ed my coffee using Ugandan beans procured from the Rafiki Foundation in Mount Dora, and wow! The sugar-dusted crust on the warmed pie, buttery as buttery can be yet sturdy enough to not crumble into a flaky mess, activated my pleasure reflex. As my eyes rolled back into the front of my head and the other pastries came back into full view, I knew what the rest of my morning would comprise: more pies (duh).

click to enlarge 'I was aching to have a Dale Cooper moment with a slab of cherry pie.' - PHOTO BY FAIYA KARA
  • Photo by Faiya Kara
  • 'I was aching to have a Dale Cooper moment with a slab of cherry pie.'
On deck to be devoured was a strawberry-basil hand pie ($4.50), a tart-like lemon-cream mini pie ($3.75) and a savory breakfast hand pie ($4) – not necessarily in that order.

And while the strawberry-basil hand pie could've done with a bit more basil in my opinion, all were worthy of appearing on The Great British Bake Off.

click to enlarge Lemon cream tart with walnut-thyme streusel and blueberries - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
  • Lemon cream tart with walnut-thyme streusel and blueberries

The savory breakfast pie held a mix of egg, cheese and potato, and the cheese appeared to be baked into the crust. Outstanding.

Like the breakfast pie, another savory number called "The Ma" with lamb, orzo, green beans, onion and tomato ($7) had me going full Paul Hollywood. First I cut it in half. Then I picked up one of the halves and angled it toward the imaginary camera in front of me. Pointing to the bottom crust with my knife, I said, "No soggy bottom on this one. Brilliant." to my imaginary viewers. Yes, our minds have suffered greatly during these times.

click to enlarge Prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella and basil quiche - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
  • Prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella and basil quiche

I had the lamb pie that very day for lunch and saved the rest of the pastries for the following day. I started with the biscuit ($3.50), enjoyed with apple butter for breakfast; then had the peach cream mini pie ($3.75) for lunch dessert, followed by a slab of blueberry pie ($5.50) for dinner dessert. Oh, and an oatmeal whoopie pie ($3) as a late-night snack.

click to enlarge 'The Boca' sandwich – turkey, roast beef, bacon, tomato, provolone, pickled peppers and spicy pickles on a hoagie roll - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
  • 'The Boca' sandwich – turkey, roast beef, bacon, tomato, provolone, pickled peppers and spicy pickles on a hoagie roll

I shared the last two with my wife (I'm no pig) and tried not to count the number of calories I ingested over the past two days (2-3 million, I estimate).

Owners Stacey and Ed Tomljenovich purchased the bakery five years ago and, to their credit, have stuck with the same small-batch, from-scratch approach Tara Gould employed when she founded her Audubon Park pastry shop in 2013.

They've been lucky, too. Folks, it seems, have been so taken by their toothsome treats that Ed thinks they'll be able to ride out the downturn through takeout alone. Which is great. I hope the ending to the coronavirus pandemic is just as sweet.

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This story appears in the April 22, 2020, print edition of Orlando Weekly. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider supporting this free publication with a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

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