One of SF’s leading pastry chefs is popping up with a sweet new project. That would be Angela Pinkerton, the award-winning pastry chef behind Che Fico, with an earlier career at New York fine dining destination Eleven Madison Park. When the pandemic hit, instead of plating fancy desserts or crafting elaborate confections, Pinkerton started baking pies, inspired by her grandmother’s orchards in Northern Ohio. Her brand new pop-up, Pie Society, now delivers perfect peach pies with plenty of butter to locations across SF and Oakland.
Pastry fans may recall that Pinkerton has always baked a mean pie. After Che Fico opened to wild popular acclaim upstairs, Theorita slid open in the space below. The classic black-and-white dinette was named after Pinkerton’s grandmother, complete with her signature pies, but sadly, the slices and coffee for breakfast weren’t destined to last — the plan changed a few months later, and Che Fico Alimentari now inhabits the space.
But Pinkerton never gave up on the pie concept, she just set it on the cooling rack for a hot minute. When the shelter-in-place order hit, she’d just moved to Oakland, and suddenly found herself without work. “I had to get back in the kitchen before losing my mind,” says Pinkerton. “Everyone wanted something comforting. Why the fuck not do pies?” She borrowed some kitchen space at Mexican classic spot Nido, threw her pop-up details onto Instagram, and got rolling.
Pinkerton prefers an all-butter crust for her pies, but she cuts in European-style butter with that higher fat content, and stirs in as little water as possible with a light hand. “I also like to put little pats of butter underneath the top crust atop the fruit,” she adds. “It’s something I learned from grandma. You can never have too much butter!”
She’s only doing a few different fillings for now, which at the moment include a peach crumble with plenty of brown butter, key lime custard with thick cream, and a passionfruit curd topped with airy meringue.
It’s no slices, just whole pies, although there is a “sweetie pie” five-inch option, which is too cutie pie. Order ahead for pickup, which is only two days a week, Fridays out of Nido in Oakland, or Saturdays out of Nightbird, Dear Inga, and Ritual Coffee in SF. And even though quantities are limited, it sounds like the pies will be here to stay, at least through the holidays. There’s something to look forward to, even if socially distant Thanksgiving is the weirdest.