My father, Stephen Broussard, was a self-proclaimed “master of cakes.” Early Saturday mornings, she’d tie on her “Skinny People Make Bad Cooks” apron, don her hat (yes, she actually wore the iconic chef’s hat while cooking at home), listen to her favorite jazz albums on the stereo, and bake a quiche. He felt that making quiches made him seem cultured.
To him, the quiche was like oui oui fancy.
My dad passed away in 2009. At his funeral, my cousin Stefanie said, “We should start a foundation.”
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I looked at her out of the corner of my eye. “And because?”
“In memory of Uncle Steve. We should bake cakes and teach children how to do it. It’s
it can be a family thing.
The last thing she wanted to think about was tarts or quiches.
Three years after his death, my tank was empty. I wasn’t sure what my next move was going to be, but I definitely needed time to rethink and recover.
I flew to San Francisco to visit my cousins Justin and Shamieka. One day, Shamieka and I stumbled across a bakery called Mission Pie. My skin began to tingle, and I felt a slight chill as we walked through the doors. It was supposed to be here.
I sat down and surveyed the place. It was small, cute, cozy, and reminded me of some places back home in Chicago. I noticed a lot of teenagers working behind the counter. As we waited for our order, my cousin joked, “I love this place. They hire a lot of displaced teenagers who live in shelters.” My head felt light and my ears began to ring.
I went back to the basement of Holy Family Catholic Church and heard an echo of Stefanie’s voice: “We should bake cakes.”
My dad’s spirit had been trying to tell me the whole time, and now I heard it loud and clear. I went back home and told my cousin Justin, “I think I’m going to open a bakery.”
Once I got back to Chicago, I got my proper paperwork and licenses, found a shared kitchen to work in, and applied to some spring markets. He didn’t have it all figured out, but he did have $7,000 and the willingness to go slow and steady. I also had a purpose.
I was not only celebrating my dad’s love of cake, but also reflecting on his life. He was a man who grew up food insecure and was also a criminal defense attorney. So when building the bakery, I integrated a social mission element to fight food insecurity and give people a second chance.
I started the company eight years ago, and since then, Justice of the Pies has been known not only for our delicious sweet and savory pies, quiches, and tarts, but also for how we positively impact the lives of others.
Besides helping people and carrying on my father’s legacy of doing good, my favorite thing about serving cake is seeing the reactions on people’s faces when they eat it. Customers have begged for my Salted Caramel Peach Pie recipe for years. In the past, no one had made that cake except me… but now, you can do it too.
The Best Mango Coconut Macaroni Tart
The taste of a mango reminds me of a pineapple, an orange, and a peach all rolled into one. When ripe, a mango is extremely sweet; and since it is a tropical fruit, of course it combines well with another tropical ingredient: coconut. So I take the two and combine them into this bright, slightly chewy pie that has coconut in the crust and filling, and mango in the crust and layer that on top of the finished pie as well. The macaroni crust browns nicely around the edges and its crunchy texture makes it an ideal base for tarts, especially filled with a creamy coconut cream topped with slices of fresh mango.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RECIPE
The Best Salted Caramel Peach Pie
My mom (and namesake), Dr. Camille Billingslea, specializes in family medicine. While I was growing up, she worked long shifts at the hospital, which meant takeout was often our best friend. When my mom cooked, she would make easy meals from leftovers that we could easily reheat if she wasn’t home, like spaghetti, tacos, or beans and rice.
Although she wasn’t much of a baker and rarely made desserts from scratch, there was one dessert she mastered, one she learned from her own mother: peach cobbler.
If I found tins of peaches on the kitchen counter, I knew a peach cobbler was in my near future. Mom would open the large cans, drain them, and pour the peaches into a huge pot. Butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar went into the pot, which she always did “by eye,” which we also call “vibration cooking,” adding ingredients to the dish until the ancestors were done. they whispered in the ear to relax.
A dessert traditionally attributed to the Deep South, cobblers aren’t meant to be pretty. The ingredients are literally mixed together in a deep dish and often served warm and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
When creating the Salted Caramel Peach Pie, I wanted to retain all of the aromatic and buttery spices found in my mom’s peach pie while adding oats and flour to the filling to create a fluffy, pie-like texture for an appealing appearance. , no need for a top crust (making this a great starter pie to make). When my mom made a peach cobbler, there were never any leftovers: the dessert was gone as fast as it came out of the oven. It’s always the same with this peach pie.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RECIPE
The best sweet potato praline cake
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite ingredients to cook with, as their versatility can be applied to sweet or savory dishes.
This cake is a nod to my paternal family’s Louisiana roots. Bonbons are a fudge-like confection with a creamy consistency that was originally brought to Louisiana by French settlers. They are typically made from evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and nuts, the same ingredients I use to make the custard filling. While I love sweet potatoes, I have to admit that the praline sauce is my favorite part of this pie. The creaminess combines with the saccharinity of sweet potato custard and the buttery nuttiness of pecans to create an incredibly delicious cake. The cake keeps very well in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen for two months and thawed in the fridge.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL RECIPE
Maya-Camille Broussard is the chef-owner of Justice of the Pies bakery in Chicago and star of the Netflix show. Baking squad. cakes justice cookbook is available now.
Reprinted from pies Justice, Copyright © 2022 by Maya-Camille Broussard. Photographs Copyright © 2022 by Dan Goldberg. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
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