Dessert fans rejoice. A new pie and coffee company is coming to Jackson.

Baker Erika Dahlby is launching Midnight Pie and Co., the newest entrant into Jackson’s diverse and bountiful bakery and dessert scene. The business is starting small, so look for Midnight Pie and Co.’s push cart offering pie by the slice and coffee at the Jackson Hole Farmers Market on Saturday mornings this summer.

“Starting out we’ll offer four pies a week by the slice, hand pies, fresh whipped cream and coffee,” Dahlby said.

Her boyfriend and roommate Zach Nelson will handle libations, serving hot and cold coffee from a variety from single-origin coffee producers that are rare in Jackson.

Dahlby groups her pies loosely into four flavor categories. The most self-explanatory is fruit pies, followed by sweet and salty pies like one she called a friend favorite: A maple syrup custard filling topped with flaky sea salt. Offerings will also include hot beverage pies with flavors like matcha or espresso and a catch-all experimental category with modern flavor profiles like lemon-lavender or Negroni.

But while the fillings are all interesting and delicious, Midnight Pie and Co.’s greatest triumph is its pie crusts. When Dahlby is shaping them she cuts a round of dough a good deal larger than the pie tin, rolls the excess crust and crimps it into a big, wavy edge. When finished the lip is crunchy, flaky, butter and delicious.

And, with inventive fillings and superlative crusts, Dahlby’s pies seem to be the product of years of practice and experimenting. Her exploration, though, is a more recent development.

“Growing up I was always in the kitchen,” Dahlby said. “I baked a lot of quick and easy desserts, things like crisps and crumbles. I think I made pie growing up, but nothing too memorable, and definitely with store-bought crusts.”

Last year a series of minor life changes and a well-timed Netflix binge pushed Dahlby towards a life of pie.

After spending months with a tiny studio kitchenette, she moved into a house with a real kitchen and found herself with time on her hands while transitioning jobs. When Netflix released a dessert-centric season of its food-biography show Chef’s Table, Dahlby was enamored with an episode about Christina Tosi, the founder of Milk Bar, the international bakery chain known for its fun and colorful American-style desserts.

“She’s a Midwesterner like me, and she bakes to make people happy,” Dahlby said.

Armed with time, a kitchen and a zest for dessert, Dahlby attempted French macarons, colorful and airy sandwich cookies, typically thought of as too hard for home cooks. They turned out great and her confidence rose. She moved on to other desserts and, when summer rolled around and good fruit was available, Dahlby started making pies.

Soon they became the main focus, and Dahlby began working through a series of pie cookbooks and daydreaming about selling pies. Last fall an opportunity to get into the business materialized when Dahlby and Nelson came across an old food-service push cart for cheap.

“The cart just fell into our lap,” Nelson said. “We got it from a nonprofit before we really had a plan for what we wanted to do with it.”

With the cart, Dahlby shifted towards the nitty-gritty of running a business. While continuing to develop recipes, she ordered equipment, upgraded her oven, tested ingredients, and agonized over how many slices to get out of a whole pie. Dahlby also worked with the health department and learned the ins and outs of selling food under Wyoming Food Freedom Act.

“The whole thing became very mathematical,” Dahlby said. “I have a lot of spreadsheets.”

Now, after months in the making, the business is a reality, with Midnight Pie and Co. formally launching this week with an open-to-the-public party hosted by Sweet Cheeks Meats from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, complete with free pie samples. After the event, pies will be available at the Saturday farmers markets and online to customers who reach out to Dahlby through her company’s Instagram handle, @midnightpieandco.

For the time being, though, Dahlby is just getting ready to go public.

“It’s really scary. I’m excited,” she said. “I’m just trying to get my ducks in a row.” 

Scott Eren writes about his culinary interests twice monthly. Contact him at columnists@jhnewsandguide.com.

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