February 6, 2012

Pie in the Sky, the Boulder Producer of Gluten-Free Cakes and Pies, Keeps Expanding

By Evan Sandsmark -  

Several months ago, we wrote about a fledgling business in Boulder known as Pie in the Sky and their line of gluten-free cheesecakes and gluten-free key lime pie, which had just recently been launched by the Boulder-based Berry Best Smoothies, to use alliteration to an almost problematic extent. Since the publication of that article, Pie in the Sky – more precisely, Pie in the Sky Bakery – has expanded in a big way: their products are now sold in 27 Whole Foods Markets, all of the stores in the chain’s Western region. When you get your product into Whole Foods, your business has reached a certain threshold, and this achievement certainly warrants some coverage by the local gluten-free press. And that’s where we come in…

For the last article we wrote about Pie in the Sky, we tried the gluten-free strawberry cheesecake, which was excellent. We bought this cheesecake at Berry Best Smoothies, but for this article, being about expansion and all, it didn’t seem appropriate to buy anything from Pie in the Sky’s base, and in fact we couldn’t have done so because Berry Best Smoothies shut down in May 2011. We are presently concerned with the company’s rise to the soaring heights of Whole Foods’ refrigerated shelves, so we figured we ought to go to a Whole Foods to get some pie.

Since we tried a cheesecake last time, we decided to try the key lime pie. Pie in the Sky appears to be selling well, as there were only a few pies and cakes left when we bought ours. Only one kind of cheesecake remained, the chocolate mousse, and there were only a couple of key lime pies left. (Note to Whole Foods on Pearl Street: Order more pies and cheesecakes.) In total, Pie in the Sky makes four different kinds of cheesecakes in addition to the aforementioned chocolate mousse, including strawberry and blueberry, as well a seasonal pumpkin cheesecake. If you aren’t into flavored cheesecakes, they also have a classic cheesecake. The key lime pie also comes in multiple flavors, including toasted almond and mango, along with the standard key lime pie that we bought.

Like the strawberry cheesecake we tried, the key lime pie comes in a small, round container. So, the key lime pie has the shape of a regular pie, but it is merely reduced in size. Reduced in size though it may be, and even though it doesn’t look particularly big, it is surprisingly substantial. Unless you plan on eating key lime pie exclusively for a meal, you probably wouldn’t feel compelled to eat the entire pie in one sitting. One of Pie in the Sky’s desserts can easily be spread over a couple of days – for example, we ate half the pie last night while writing this article, and ate the other half during the revision process. The pies and cheesecakes are also well-suited for a couple’s dessert, to be shared as you gaze lovingly into each others’ eyes and revel in its rich taste.

And speaking of taste: the key lime pie is delicious. Granted, key lime pies are just the sort things that tend to be delicious, but Pie in the Sky’s gluten-free rendition is as good as any we’ve had in a long time. The pie’s filling, which is heavy and thick, like a dense yogurt, is rich but not overwhelming so, and there is just the right amount of lime flavor – a pronounced hint of lime, one might say. Of course, the filling isn’t the hard part when you are attempting to make a gluten-free key lime pie, as the filling of key lime pies are naturally gluten-free, at least generally. The crust is the tricky part. As far as we could tell, the crust of the key lime pie is very similar to the crust used for the strawberry cheesecake we tried, and so we don’t have much else to add about it here. Made with gluten-free graham crackers, the crust plays a minor role in the overall taste of the pie. It only lines the bottom of the pie dish (it doesn’t run up the sides), and it is only about a quarter of an inch thick. It adds a nice texture, but the flavor isn’t particularly distinct, perhaps because gluten-free graham crackers don’t really have a strong flavor, and this was fine with us because the filling is the main attraction.

Overall, we definitely recommend Pie in the Sky’s cheesecakes and key lime pies. We have now tried one of each, and we were very satisfied with both. If you want to try one yourself, you won’t have too much trouble finding one given the company’s recent expansion into Whole Foods Markets. Moreover, Pie in the Sky is offered at a number of grocery stores around town, including Lucky’s Market, Lolita’s Market & Deli, and Niwot Market. So, if you live near a Whole Foods or in Boulder and you like cheesecake and key lime pie, and if you need these treats to be gluten-free, you should probably try some Pie in the Sky.

Pie in the Sky does not have a website (or so our numerous Google searches involving tons of different phrases suggests as much), but you can check them out on Facebook here:

Pie in the Sky

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