For Jen Pattap, baking started as a curiosity. Now it's not only a profession, but an obsession. "The satisfaction of pulling a bubbling pie from the oven let's me know I'm passing on a little piece of love," Jen gushed...I listened. I love meeting and supporting local talent so when I learned there was a cool new-mom-baker out there who was baking and selling her pies this holiday season, I had to meet her!
Over coffee at Le Salbuen in Montclair (Jen had an Americano and I had some sort of cookie flavored latte, of course) Jen smiled as she spoke about her love of baking, pies...and Thanksgiving. "Baking brings people together at the table...it brings them joy. There is something nostalgic about gathering with family and friends at a holiday table and sharing a slice of pie." I totally get this. As documented on this blog (har de har), I am not a cook. I am in fact, a pretty good baker though. My specialty for Thanksgiving is Key Lime but you guessed it, I only make it once a year so I don't really have too much to share on that other than my husband and his dad really like it.
Now Jen, Jen is the real baker. After spending 9 months volunteering on organic farms, she returned from her honeymoon, quit her office job for good and began working in kitchens. I am already envious. Since then Jen's worked as a baker and head pastry chef throughout NY and NJ -- most recently at Dana's Bakery in Hawthorne, specializing in the art of the french macaron. Side note, macarons are my MOST FAVORITE thing...like ever so I now had another reason to like this lady.
Fast-forward to now, Jen is the proprietor of Piece of Love Pastries, where she creates what she calls "delicious and seasonal, fruit-forward desserts."
Like homemade apple pie with a traditional crust, lattice or crumb topping? Prefer burbon pecan pie (with no artificial goop) or maybe you fancy traditional pumpkin (real, never canned)? Jen's got you covered AND she only uses sustainable, local and organic ingredients to boot. Jen says flavor is paramount and Piece of Love "prides themselves on using as little sugar as possible to create desserts with authentic flavors that put flavor first, as mother nature intended."
This year's holiday scurry offers Jen-the-baker a new challenge as she is now Jen-the-baker-stay-at-home-mama to 3 month old Micah. We bonded over new motherhood and the ever-present need for daily balance with a newborn. For me, it is bright and early, sometimes 5 am, when Shep first awakens and I peruse Instagram for my daily dose of inspiration. For Jen, it's that moment when Micah peacefully dozes off that she leaps into the kitchen to alchemize fruit and mill her own flour! I'm totally not sure what alchemized fruit is but I know I need it in my belly, stat.
You can tell what season it is by looking in Jen's oven and this Thanksgiving she is rolling up her sleeves and rolling out dough...just for you! Visit pieceoflove.com or email Pieceoflovepastries@gmail.com to place your order. Tell her Allegra sent you and receive 15% off your pie purchase, just because.
**Understanding food allergies and the needs of those who cannot consume wheat, nuts, or dairy, Piece of Love also offer a wide range of gluten- and dairy-free made-to-order goodies.**