It would be hard to find a nicer pie than those cooked by Nikki Pierce.
Golden brown works of art are not only amazing, they are so delicious that the taste buds want more. She didn’t start cooking alongside her grandmother as one might imagine. In fact, its pastry history is relatively short.
“An employer gave me a little cookbook when I went to college and when we got married my mother-in-law gave me recipes for a shower gift.”
In the early years, when her husband attended the police academy, she cooked pots and inexpensive meals. After she started using allrecipes.com, she stopped getting recipes from others and started experimenting with spices and a variety of oils. About 15 years ago, she started hosting Thanksgiving dinners for 10 to 15 people and hosting parties for groups of 20 friends.
“That’s when I started the pie thing. I called my mother-in-law and my mom for pie crust recipes. She used their recipes to make the dough, but didn’t use the dough for her pies because it wasn’t the crust she was looking for. When she finally found the recipe she was looking for, it ended up being a French pastry crust.
“What you’ll find with my pies is that they are just different. This is not an American pie. It’s more of a
French pie. A kind of amalgam of American pie and French pastry.
When baking pies became her passion, she made the decision to start a business so that she could sell them to others. After having her kitchen inspected and water tested, she acquired a New York State Section 20C Home Processor Exemption, which allows her to prepare food for sale from her home. When she couldn’t decide on a name for her business, her husband suggested Persnikkity after the nickname her uncle Bob Olson gave her when she was a child. Persnikkity Pies was launched in March 2021. All of its baked goods come in boxes labeled with a list of ingredients and allergens. Each of the pie fillings was created by Ms. Pierce, including the pumpkin, which she starts by roasting pumpkins in sugar.
Persnikkity pies can be ordered over the phone or purchased at pop-up events, which happen when a store owner invites them into their business to sell their product. In order to make this possible, her stepdad made a 2-piece movable pie rack for those special events that she carries in her Tahoe. The curtains for the pie stand were made by his mother and her niece, Haley, painted the company name on the stand.
For her first pop-up, which took place at Memory Lane, she baked 22 pies, 20 mini pies, 20 hand pies and 5 loaves of bread, which were completely used up in 22 minutes. Since then, she has been invited to host pop-ups at Pea Pod and Juniper and ART Cloth and Craft, with more planned for the future. She pays one or her two daughters to work with her at these events.
“It’s a great way for clients to discover another resource in the community. “
Its list of pie offerings is long. It includes all of the common flavors available in most bakeries and others that are not typically found, such as apple-raspberry, maple-apple, peach-raspberry, and peach-blueberry. Dutch peach completes the list of 16 varieties. She plans to give away tarts for the holidays and plans to make cookie trays as she has been making them for her personal use for many years.
Baking pies is his secondary job. Her full-time job is with the Chautauqua County Probation Service. Before that, she was a stay-at-home mom for ten years.
“My entire adult career has been spent with at-risk families, at-risk youth and families who have been involved in law enforcement. I have always worked in human services and never in retail.
She admits that owning a bakery has been her dream since 2012. Her other interests include family and friends, gardening vegetables, flowers and herbs, traveling and she enjoys decorating her home.
“I love decorating in a French hunting style, which began with the purchase of a reproduction of ‘The Stag’ from an antique store in Lake Placid.”
There’s a lot to take in her living room, like a moose antler set and a beautiful sculpture of a rooster done by her father, but it’s not cluttered and well laid out. She got interested in Cobalt Blue Depression glass at a young age and started buying it at garage sales with her own money at the age of 16. She treasured her glassware collection so much that she took it with her when she went to college. She also collects various old plates that she exhibits.
She is married to Kevin Pierce, a detective from the town of Ellicott and who grew up near the house in which they now reside. He’s a Sinatra fan. She enjoys rap, grunge, old school rock n ‘roll and country music.
“I like any music” said the falconer.
The Pierces have three children. Cal graduated from Falconer Central School where his sisters attend. Addison is a second year student and Katherine is in eighth year. The family has an entire menagerie of pets starting with three Boston Terriers, “a big fat cat named Al,” a rabbit, 26 chickens and three shy fish that reside in a small pond in the back yard.
She has always felt rather flexible with three children, but had to learn to be even more flexible when Covid-19 came to her house last year. Kevin was the nineteenth person to test positive for the virus in Chautauqua County. The whole family never left the house during its quarantine from March 17 to April 24.
The baker offered some of his original recipes. She was inspired to develop the Roasted Red Pepper and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Dip after eating something similar at a local restaurant. She focused on what she thought she tasted like when she was served the eggplant dish, then continued to recreate it.
Photos of Persnikkity Pies can be seen along with a list of the varieties offered and their prices at www.persnikkitypies.com
Autumn stuffed squash
1 butternut squash
Liberal amount of brown sugar
Liberal amount of butter
Pecans or chopped walnuts
One Cortland or McIntosh apple, peeled and diced
Sage, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper
Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place upside down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until tender and easy to remove. Put in the pot of the food processor with about a tablespoon of heavy cream. Process until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the diced apples, nuts and raisins with melted butter and brown sugar. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and place the processed squash in the baking dish. Top with the apple, nut and raisin mixture and sprinkle with a light amount of all of the spices listed above. Bake at 350 until bubbly and a little golden, usually about 20 minutes.
Options – If you choose to use acorn squash, roast it until done. Don’t hollow it out. Stuff with the mixture of apples, nuts and raisins and bake in the oven until heated through.
Roasted Red Pepper and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Dip
3 large roasted red peppers
1 10-ounce jar of sundried tomatoes packed in oil
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1/3 c pecans
1/2 cup Romano cheese
1 T of dried or fresh oregano
2 tablespoons of garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt
Separate the tomatoes from the oil. Reserve the oil. Place all ingredients, except oil and mozzarella cheese, in the food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the reserved oil until blended. Pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Top with Mozzarella and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, covered or uncovered.
Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna
1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 can of mushroom stems and pieces
8 ounces of ricotta
12 oz small cottage cheese curds
1 large jar of low sugar red sauce
Cheeses, such as Mozzarella, grated fresh parmesan, asiago
Desired herbs and spices for dredging
Slice the eggplant about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt and place in colanders for about an hour to expel any extra juices. Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. In a food processor, combine the broccoli florets and mushrooms until a coarse consistency is obtained. Put aside. Combine the ricotta and cottage cheese with two eggs and the spices and herbs of your choice (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, parsley, etc.) in a large bowl and set aside. Beat the rest of the egg and place it on a plate and pour the almond flour on another plate. Stir the desired spices / herbs for dredging into the flour. Rinse each piece of eggplant in cold water and squeeze between paper towels. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg, then dredge them with the flour mixture. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In small batches of 4 or 5 slices, fry the eggplants for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, then place them on a paper towel-lined plate until all the pieces are fried. Assemble the lasagna by placing 5-6 eggplant slices in the bottom of a baking dish. Top each slice with a generous dollop of the ricotta mixture. Place generous spoonfuls of the broccoli / mushroom mixture between the spoonfuls of ricotta. Garnish with cheeses. Pour half the pot of red sauce over this layer. Repeat the above step for the second coat. Add a generous amount of mozzarella on top of the second layer. Lightly push the top down with the back of a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered or covered, depending on whether you like the top layer golden or not.