Celebrate 4th of July with all-American pies

July 2, 2010 (CHICAGO)

And while some folks will just slice up a watermelon, others will seek comforting sweets like pies and cakes. The Hungry Hound says there is one bakery where all-American treats are on the menu all year long.

You know you're in store for a taste of retro-American sweets, when you see whoopie pies and homemade Twinkies -- in this case, "Airstreams" -- on the menu. It's the way things have always been done at the Angel Food Bakery and Cafe in Ravenswood.

"Well, I think I started with the concept of using all-American desserts, especially ones from the '60s and '70s when I was a kid, so I really focused on snack cakes and things that I was familiar with as a kid," said Stephanie Samuels, owner of Angel Food Bakery.

This week, Samuels is obviously in a patriotic mood. Her love of pie is obvious.

"When I think of Fourth of July I think about those desserts and ice cream and pies, all kinds of pies, but especially apple pie, because that's the one you think about for all-American pie," Samuels said.

Samuels makes everything herself. The dough for each pie -- whether large or small -- has to be rolled out; it is placed and shaped into aluminum molds; tart, firm Granny Smiths are generously loaded into the shell, then, depending on the type of style, she will either fold the top crust over, brush it with maple syrup, add sugar crystals and butter... or, she'll go topless, then simply bury the apples in a sheath of brown and white sugars, oatmeal, cinnamon and flour.

"I try and keep everything here individual portions or portions for two," said Samuels, "just because that's the way I started, and that's kind of the way I like to do it. Of course I will do large pies for special order, and holidays I do a lot of large pies, but for here in the cafe I do these little small 5-inch pies that two people can share."

Angel Food Bakery
1636 Montrose Ave.

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