Oak Park bakery serves up seasonal pies

OAK PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Oak Park is known for many things, including the Frank Lloyd Wright neighborhood and the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway. And our Hungry Hound says if you ever plan on visiting, you must make a stop at a tiny bakery.

He says it's hidden along Oak Park Avenue, across the street from the green line stop. But if you like pie, it ranks among the region's best.

Not to be confused with the Spilt Milk bar in Logan Square, the Oak Park bakery's staff spends most of its time making delicate, flaky pie crusts, filling them with fruit or cream or chocolate and then baking them into utter deliciousness.

But don't think for a second that pie is all they're capable of. It takes only a few minutes of staring at the front pastry case to see what I mean.

Molly Svec always knew she'd end up with a bakery. She just didn't know when.

"I finished up work at a restaurant on Nantucket Island and I came back to Chicago and I said, think I'm ready, like I'm ready to not work for anyone else right now," she said.

Last year, she and her sister, Meg, opened Spilt Milk, one of the smallest bakeries you'll ever see. Despite its size, it manages to crank out dozens of pies, quiches, galettes and hand pies each day. But this time of year, the cream pies - as rich and indulgent as they are - take a back seat to the ones filled with fruit.

"The pies are really beautiful right now, we get a lot of really awesome fruit from Mick Klug Farm and Nichols Farm and it's just fun; twice a week we just get massive quantities of fruit and it's kind of funny to see it stacked like on every surface but it's fun and I love it," said Svec.

Molly does a lot of the dough rolling herself, and it's not easy. Each one is hand-crimped as well. The fruit is the real star though - luscious plums, peaches, apples and berries - some of them mascerated in sugar to bring out their sweet liquid, others just as-is, like the blackberries. On top, a rough crumble is spread evenly across the top; that will end up becoming sweet and crispy after time spent in the oven.

Don't overlook the creamy alternatives: lemon meringue, banana cream and chocolate silk all hold their own and it doesn't matter if you're a kid or a grown-up, the towers of cookies are nearly impossible to ignore.

"My mom has a cookie addiction and I think she passed it down to me, but she always has cookies in the house. When I see a cookie recipe I'm like, we have to have; we can't say no to that cookie," she said.

In Steve's Extra Course, he talks about the world-class chicken pot pie at Spilt Milk.
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In Steve's Extra Course, he talks about the world-class chicken pot pie at Spilt Milk.

Spilt Milk Bakery
103 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park
(708) 613-4403
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