Chef: Morgaine Brunn
Restaurant: Charlsie’s Bakehouse based in Catonsville and named for her grandmother, Charlsetta
I entered the restaurant industry by accident. I enrolled in a weekend baking class at a community college and loved it. I immediately switched my major. Now, I wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. I’ve cooked at the James Beard House, and have had a few nods from various publications, as well as making pastries for local Baltimore top 50 restaurants for years.
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This key lime pie recipe was inspired by my childhood escapades. Being part of a military family, I often lived in tropical places. When we lived in Key West, one of my favorite pastimes was visiting local shops and trying their offerings of sweets–key lime pie flavors usually being the focus.
Twenty years later and I still judge a good restaurant or pastry shop by the quality of their pies and down-home Southern desserts. Today, I find that most bakeries are lost in the modern pastry world with excessive extracts and additives. There are too many discussions regarding the newest fad in the world of baking and too few discussions about how to achieve the flakiest pie dough that our grandmothers would smile upon.
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I’m most inspired by Sean Brock’s style of cooking–wasting nothing but coaxing every ounce of flavor out of each ingredient. While I don’t have a brick and mortar yet, my goal is to evoke a feeling of childhood wistfulness within my customers upon tasting one bite. If one can take a simple classic whoopie pie and add a bit more individuality to it, that’s what I believe takes people to their happy place.
This is a very uncertain time in the restaurant industry, many of us have to take odd jobs to get by. But, it’s amazing to see chefs banding together to support each other. As soon as things pass, I’ll be right back to focusing on new plays on old favorites.
Key Lime Pie from Charlsie’s Bakehouse
2 cans of condensed milk
6 egg yolks
¾ cup of lime juice
¼ teaspoon of salt
Zest from two limes
Graham cracker crust, made with your favorite recipe (or try this one)
- Preheat oven to 325. Whisk all the ingredients together and pour into the graham cracker crust.
- Bake until the filling is set, around 22 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Let cool at room temperature. Then chill the pie for six hours or overnight.
- Serve with fresh whipped cream and fresh raspberries or blackberries.
Other ways to help
- #CarryoutWednesday or any day to support small businesses. Here’s how.
- Not hungry? Wear your support instead.
Reported by Maya Henry