Time flies with pie

It’s true what they say: time passes by far more quickly as you get older. Summers no longer last forever; before you know it you’re begrudgingly digging out forgotten sweaters and planning Thanksgiving dinner, only to realize that Thanksgiving was last weekend and that it was great, remember?

As you get older you acquire milestones against which it becomes possible to gauge the passing of time. When you’re young and in school each year follows the same pattern—a pattern you take for granted and expect to continue indefinitely. But once you leave the comfort and security of the education system, you discover that life can change drastically from year to year, even month to month.

Kingston, ON

Sometimes it’s the tumultuous change you’ve experienced, and other times it’s the feeling that you haven’t changed at all, that accentuates the passing of time. For me, it’s a little bit of both.

It seems almost impossible that a year ago I was working the 5am-1pm shift at Bread & Butter Bakery in Kingston, Ontario. At the same time, it feels like only yesterday that I was experiencing a crisis of confidence when making the day’s lemon meringue pies and reminding myself not to forget the sugar in the scones. Again.

Although I was only entrenched behind mounds of flour, sugar, and butter for a short period of time, I learned a lot. I learned a lot partly because I worked alongside a wonderful group of people—the owners themselves!—who were not only encouraging, but also patient.

I chose to work at Bread & Butter because I knew the people in the kitchen were personally invested in the products they were making and dedicated to ensuring that those products were of high quality. Financially, bakeries are a tough sell. Ingredients are costly, labour is intense, and yet the return on the goods is often low, particularly if you focus on bread.  It was so inspiring to watch Wendy Whitall, the owner, balance the processes of production with her unflinching dedication to quality. If something wasn’t right, she’d rather take the loss than place a sub-par product in her display cases.

Beautiful and delicious fruit cobbler from Bread & Butter Bakery


It’s not surprising then that everything at Bread & Butter not only looked beautiful, but also tasted delicious. Their customer base and demand for their products was growing at a rate that exceeded their capacity. Word travels fast when it comes to quality baked goods, and before you know it people are traveling from afar to eat a great cookie. I’ll admit that working there has partially ruined me; few bakeries reach the high standards that Bread & Butter set and I find it difficult to enjoy entirely a piece of gingerbread when I know better exists.

Homemade Bread & Butter pumpkin pie

Thanksgiving was the first holiday season I worked at Bread & Butter.  For someone with no official culinary training, it was an experience. I was tasked with making pumpkin pie filling. In 60qt batches. That’s 15 gallons or 57 litres—twelve times more than if I made enough pumpkin pie filling to fill my KitchenAid stand mixer to capacity. But it was so utterly rewarding to see the pies flying off the shelves. Think the enjoyment of baking for friends and family times a thousand.

I was also delighted when I found out each of us would be given a pie to take home to share with our families. The pumpkin pie I took to dinner that weekend was devoured by even the most critical of pumpkin pie eaters.  The balance of creaminess, sweetness and spice was perfect.

This Thanksgiving I wanted to share that experience again both with my family and with you.  Katie Whitall from Bread & Butter Bakery has generously shared their recipe with me and has given permission to share it with you too.  Canadian Thanksgiving might have already passed, but I don’t believe you need an excuse to make pumpkin pie.

Thank you for the lessons and the pie, Bread & Butter!

Bread & Butter Bakery and Fine Pastries
1530 Bath Road, Kingston ON, K7M 4X6
Phone 613.384.3675

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday 7:30a.m. to 6:00p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.

Bread & Butter Bakery’s Pumpkin Pie
I have adapted the recipe slightly as the original made enough filling for seven 8” pies. This recipe uses weight measurements and makes enough filling for one 9” pie. The original recipe also calls for canned pumpkin, I used fresh because t’is the season, but canned works too.

For the crust, use your favourite recipe for one 9″ pie crust*

443g pumpkin, freshly roasted and puréed
82g white sugar
44g brown sugar
2g salt
2g ground cinnamon
1.5g ground ginger
scant 1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cloves

171g whipping cream
171g 2% milk
2 eggs

Combine the pumpkin, sugars, salt, and spices and mix until the sugar is fully dissolved and combined.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and then add the milk and cream.

Add the eggs, milk, and cream to the pumpkin and mix until fully combined. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes so that the pumpkin full absorbs the flavours.

Preheat your oven to 450F. Fill an unbaked 9″ pie crust with the pumpkin filling. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until the filling has set and no longer jiggles when you shake the pie plate.

Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably with a dollop of whipped cinnamon cream or vanilla ice cream.

*I’ve been working on a pie crust of my own, and while the one I made for this pie was a success, it still isn’t exactly what I want it to be. Rather than share with you something I consider unfinished, I thought I’d let you reach for your own favourite pie crust recipe.

4 comments on this post. Leave your own...

  1. Katie Whitall says:

    Thanks so much Calantha for your kind words – beautifully written! Your pie looks pretty good too! We miss having your passion around these parts, and if you’re ever in our neck of the woods you know where to find us. Hope you had a great thanksgiving (perhaps one with more rest than last year!)

    • Calantha says:

      Thank you for sharing the recipe, Katie, and the kind words as well! You know I will definitely stop in whenever I am in the area.

  2. Wendy Whitall says:

    Calantha, Thank you so much for your kind words. It was definitely our pleasure having you work with us. Its not often we find someone who enjoys baking with such a passion, its very inspiring to us. Congratuations on the Elora Bread Trading Co. The pictures of your bread that I have seen look absolutely gorgeous! We have to come see and taste it in person one day when things slow down here a bit. All the best, Wendy

    • Calantha says:

      Thank you, Wendy! And thank you for creating such a positive and encouraging work environment. I am forever inspired.