Even if you’ve had dessert at Baker Miller, there’s something new to try this holiday season: the revamped pumpkin pie.
In the new egg-free recipe, cream steeped with bay leaves is combined with spices and pumpkin puree, then poured into a organic grain-based graham cracker crust. Huge sheets of graham cracker with notes of rich caramel are crumbled and formed by hand in the pie pans. The new technique results in a more uniform appearance — a smooth pie surface without cracks.
Dave Miller, who opened the “thoughtfully sourced” Lincoln Square artisanal cafe five years ago with his wife, Megan Miller, credits his life and business partner for coming up with the new pumpkin pie recipe.
“It’s so creamy almost like a soufflé, like a really creamy soufflé, not eggy at all [with a] balance of spice and bay leaf coming through,” Dave Miller said proudly.
Since its inception, Baker Miller has been at the forefront of sourcing and hand-milling organic, heritage and non-GMO grain. The Millers no longer mill in-house but were trailblazers for securing pathways for farmers to connect to local and regional mills — an effort that now benefits many of the finer Chicago area restaurants and bakers.
The couple also take pride in using organic flour — mostly from small farms — organic sugar and fair trade chocolate and eschewing ingredients with soy by-products and high fructose corn syrup.
In addition to the pumpkin pie, seasonal pies that can be pre-ordered — preferably 48 hours in advance — include apple, chocolate chess, Key lime, pecan and Koval Whiskey pecan. Cinnamon rolls and an apple tarte Tatin (a French upside down apple tart) can be purchased as “take and bake” items.
“This time of year we’re known as a pie shop but we’re a lot more than that,” Dave Miller said, pointing to heavy brunch and lunch crowds.
Some of the more popular menu items include the buttery biscuit egg sandwiches with thick bacon and herb aioli and an elote organic grits bowl featuring creamy grits, corn, tomatoes, cheese, Tajin, cilantro, salsa verde and a soft egg with chipotle aioli and radish.
Other favorites include the Persian salad with roasted beets, feta, spring greens, dates, bacon and house dressing, the avocado toast and the roasted turkey pesto on house made bread with cheddar, and tomato pesto. The house made bread is available in natural wheat sourdough or a sunflower rye.
To help give back to the community, Baker Miller partners with the not-for-profit One Feeds Two and donates one meal to someone in need for every meal purchased at the cafe.
Dave Miller, who grew up in the foster care system, especially wants to give back around the holidays — a time he remembers when strangers would go out of their way to give him not only what he needed but what he wanted.
Dave Miller’s recent post about his childhood coupled with a request to sponsor a child’s Christmas wish list went viral, leading the Millers’ food supplier GFS to provide Thanksgiving dinner to over 200 people at Lawrence Hall, a Lincoln Square-based organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected youth and their loved ones.
“We see this every year, these lists, but we forget that it actually has a real impact and that there are a lot of people out there that have good memories [of Christmas] because of it,” Dave Miller said.
Baker Miller is located at 4655 N. Lincoln Ave. Call (773) 654-3610 or visit bakermillerchicago.com