From Apple To Butterscotch Chiffon, Advice From A Master Pie Maker

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Jean Mercer and her family own and run the Pepper Mill Cafe in Gladwin, Michigan where the population is 3,000. It's been a family operation for years, with home cooked hearty meals like roaster chicken on the menu.

They also bake 80 types of pie — everything from all-American apple to anything a customer wants. “I’ve had orders for onion pies and I’ve had orders for vinegar pies,” Mercer told Here & Now's Lisa Mullins.

Mercer's pies are very popular and at this time of year, she is put to work filling customer's orders for the holidays. “Last year I believe we had 110 pies on the day before Thanksgiving,” said Mercer.

For Mercer, baking pies at the Pepper Mill Cafe is very personal. “When my mom taught me years ago, when she had the restaurant, she taught me how to make the pies so that her and dad could have a vacation in the summer," she said.

Mercer is currently battling ovarian cancer, which will make the work more difficult for her, but she still enjoys it.

"I just like doing it, they work for me. I usually don’t have a problem with the crust and I like the way it smells when they’re baking. I like they way they look — pretty and appetizing."

As for a perfect crust, Mercer said "make sure your board is floured well and flip it over a lot — I just dust it and it rolls.” she said.


  • Jean Mercer, co-owner of Pepper Mill Cafe in Gladwin, Michigan.

This segment aired on November 25, 2014.


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