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A Crust Upper: Baking Pie With 'Good Food' Guru Evan Kleiman

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Evan Kleiman's love of pie began when she was a little girl. A native Angeleno, the Angeli Caffe Chef/Owner and KCRW Good Food host grew up in Silver Lake, and remembers her family getting their baked treats from Sarno's bakery. It was a family tradition to get one of the bakery's rum cakes to celebrate a birthday, however Kleiman soon yearned to branch out. "At some point in my early childhood I started requesting a pie for my birthday," she explains. "And in spite of the fact that my birthday is in July I requested an apple pie." Her request soon led to her having hands-on kitchen time and a long-running tradition: "I went from requesting them to making them," she adds. "Now I still have a birthday pie every summer but I have berry or peach."

This love, or curiosity, about pie is what inspired Kleiman's recent endeavor upon which she embarked this summer. Called the Pie-a-Day project and chronicled online via the Good Food blog, the goal was for Kleiman to bake a different pie every single day for the duration of the season. She explained the genesis of and reasoning behind the project as she assembled the ingredients for two pies in her home kitchen one recent evening. "It was one of those things—I just decided to do. I wanted to have a summer project—sort of to mark the summer, to make it different." By announcing her intent publicly on the Good Food Blog she thought it would hold her accountable, but it wasn't long before she sensed the project "got this life of its own."

Soon the pie-making (and story telling and picture posting) created a sort of community. Kleiman's "Good Food" producer suggested that readers and fans participate by sending in pictures of their own pies that they'd just made and/or eaten. The responses created a lively back-and-forth between the project and the blog followers, which in part inspired Kleiman to extend the project through the fall, though she admits these days she doesn't make a pie every single day. "By the end of August I’d done 55 pies," she tallied. That kind of routine can get to be a habit. "Now when I don’t make pie for a week or more it feels weird."