Local Legends: Granny’s Pie Factory

This week was an eye opening week, but in an unexpected way. After seeing these guys throughout the summer at various farmer’s markets, I found myself dying to visit Granny’s Pie Factory in East Hartford, CT. Unlike other bakeries I’ve sought out, Granny’s is not known for concocting the most bizarre flavor combinations or building a pie larger than a small child. Instead, Granny’s Pie Factory prides itself on simplicity. In fact, at Granny’s, the main objective is make the classics, well. Not only is that ironically unique in these days of fast food and Instagram accounts dedicated solely to showcasing showstopper milkshakes, but it’s refreshing.
While officially becoming a business in 2006, the history of Granny’s can be dated back to the 1970s…at least. Owner Anton Harovas and his family, Niko and Joan, have been in the dessert business for plenty of years, selling all kinds of treats. Finally, they created Granny’s, which originally focused primarily on selling frozen pies, wholesale. Now, Connecticut residents can find Granny’s showcasing their menu, at numerous farm stands throughout the state, as well as in a few stores here and there. And for those of you wondering (like I was), if Granny is slaving away in the back making her own original recipes…never fear, your answer is here. It turns out that the Harovas family Granny is not exactly a key player in the kitchen or creative process of yummy pie making. But, according to Niko, the recipes they’re using are decades old, certainly proving the old adage to be true: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Now…let’s get to the fun part: pies.
When you walk into Granny’s, you see that their name is meant to be taken seriously. Just behind the counter, there is a literal factory, in which pies are being baked to be sold all around the state. As for my pies of choice, I went with what Niko called their “signatures”: apple pie, and chocolate cream pie. Seriously, can you get any more classic than that?
After sitting on I-84 for an eternity, dying at the thought of my warm apple pie cooling completely and my beautifully decorated chocolate cream pie melting in the sunlight, I finally arrived home and dug in. Up first, apple.
Dear Lord, where to start? The first thing that hits you is apple’s BFF: cinnamon. Not too much, not too little. Together, these two make this pie one that you accidentally eat an entire slice of in an embarrassing amount of time. Like the idealistic fruit pie, the apples were nice and soft and the crust had all dem flakes going on. My only wish…more apples! Let’s go deep dish on this one boys! Overall, fantastic. Seriously, you should preorder one for Thanksgiving (…Christmas, Hanukkah…freaking Earth Day), like now.
Now, moving on, I have to admit… I was a bit skeptical. Normally, I am a fruit pie girl, all the way. Like, what else would you even put in a pie? And chocolate? That’s better left in a cookie. So, as you can imagine, chocolate cream pie had a lot to prove.
First impressions: what a pretty pie. Listen. I’m the first one to admit that the phrase, “it’s too pretty to eat” totally makes me roll my eyes, every time. But, I’ll also admit that I might have caught that thought crossing my mind as I dug out my first (and second) slice. Once I took my first bite, the only term I could think of to describe this guy with was: real. The chocolate in the pudding? Authentic as heck. That whipped cream on top? Clearly, freshly made. And the ratio of the two? Spot on. Well played Granny’s, well played.

Well, as you can see, Granny’s is one factory I plan on visiting again in the near future. And, with the holidays already coming around the bend, I imagine many other pie lovers will be doing the same. Now, all I need is one of their damn cool shirts that rep one of the only lives worth living: Pie Life.

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