One bite and you'll know: These are not your grandmother's muffins.
The unique treats crafted by Megan Drew's one-woman-enterprise, Drew's Pie Supply, grace the counters of The Commonplace Coffee Company's two Pittsburgh locations (in Squirrel Hill and Voluto, in Garfield), as well as the New Hazlett Theater.
Named after Drew's Cowboy Supply, the Penns Creek, Pa., store once operated by her parents, the bakery is now rounding up clientele eager for seasonally-inspired baked goods with a kick.
"I just really like feeding people," says Drew.
Encouraged by former Commonplace manager Andre Chubb, Drew transformed her hobby into a business when Commonplace took over Voluto in 2012. Drew inherited the small back kitchen and got to work renovating the menu to offer refreshing departures from blueberry muffins and brownies. As Commonplace Voluto's manager and resident baker, Drew prepares 100 items daily — from cheddar corn scones to champagne grape puffs and grapefruit vanilla-bean muffins.
Voluto now hosts Pie Day Friday in conjunction with the monthly Penn Avenue gallery crawl, offering several Drew's Pie Supply's flavors until 10 p.m. The crust is a family recipe, though Drew's pies often deviate from her mom's traditional flavors with creations such as the gooseberry-raspberry pie and lemon hazelnut tart.
Sourcing from farmer's markets, Drew uses local ingredients whenever possible, and dreams up innovative combinations from whatever's available. "I learned from my mom's cooking to use what I have to make something good," she says. "It forces me to be creative."
She also thinks in "sets of three" — a method used in coffee tastings — to craft items with a well-balanced "element of salt, element of sweetness and something tangy," like her almond tart with crabapple.
Drew believes baking can use the same local, seasonal principles as restaurants, and that it can be done slowly too. "If I had it my way, everything would be made to order," she says.
Drew hopes that her Pie Supply may eventually occupy a "slow bakery" storefront (possibly partnering with Commonplace), where she can craft items from scratch while you wait. Until that happens, though, that parmesan black-pepper scone may satisfy your craving.