We believe that less is more, simple things bring joy, and amazing food doesn't have to be eaten on fine china. That's why we love the hand pies made by Christy Sharp here at the Cookery. The Treehouse Pie Company is a welcome addition to our shared kitchen.
Christy combines perfectly curated savory or sweet fillings with a "proper" pastry dough to make hand pies that promise to have you reaching more while wiping crumbs off your clothes.
Christy earned a bachelor's degree in hospitality management from Purdue University. Since then, she has worked in catering, full-service hotels, event planning, at an artisan bakery, and teaching culinary classes. For several years, she's worked at Kishwaukee College, where she created the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program. Now, Christy is ready to pass some courses on to other instructors and focus on what she wants for herself.
People associate bakers with sweets and chefs with savory main courses. Christy has always enjoyed baking with savory ingredients. The goal at Treehouse is to create a culinary experience of good value.
She has traveled around the country and to different countries and tasted many varieties of hand pies. This research helped Christy determine her direction with her pies. Hand pies are common in many cultures. In England, there's the Cornish pasty; in South America, there are empanadas; and in Southeast Asia, there are samosas, to name a few. These hand pies each use local ingredients and have a local flavor.
Christy spent plenty of time perfecting her recipes to ensure that the product was consistent every time. Christy understands the importance of perfecting recipes as someone who teaches culinary arts. Unfortunately, this is not something many beginners understand, and it might be why many food businesses are short-lived.
Christy's goal was to have a beautiful flaky crust with a filling that has big chunks of flavor in every bite. Christy played around with butter for a couple of years to get it to the correct size to provide the flake she wanted. Her secret is to freeze it and grate it. She also has to consider how to cut the meat and vegetables that go inside the pie to ensure there is a bit of everything in each bite. "Each bite has to be memorable," she explained.
In addition to perfecting recipes, Christy acquired some special appliances to speed up the process of making individual hand pies. The pastry is rolled by hand, but the pie is filled, and the pasty is crimped tightly with a machine.
The Treehouse menu includes chicken pot pie, steak & potato, mushroom & potato, four cheese, and leek & bean. Christy's favorite is the four-cheese hand pie, claiming it is fondu in a pastry shell.
Christy loves the chocolate ganache hand pie! Her website describes it like this, " Have you ever experienced Tainori chocolate from Central America? Or the "shatter" of a proper pastry dough?"
There will be unique flavors monthly and seasonal pies. For Mother's Day this year, the special pie was Strawberry Balsamic. It's described as "a classic European combination with a richness, sweetness and a slight tang to it. We use the thick, sweet Traditional Balsamic from the Olive Mill to compliment the sharp tang of the fruit."
If you want to order Treehouse hand pies, the good news is that you can order on Door Dash for delivery and pickup. They are delivered hot locally. They are also available for catering, and Treehouse will soon be offering them packaged frozen to bake at home.
Additionally, watch their social media to learn about their pop-ups. They plan to have one per week and recommend ordering in advance.
Christy has a lot of ideas for future recipes. She uses recipes from her great-grandmother, that are 80 years old, like her blueberry cream and her 16-year-old daughter's apple pie recipe. The pies will be nothing like we've ever had before. We're guessing they won't be your basic apple or pumpkin pie.