Introducing The Little Rock Pie Cycle: Taking sweet to the street | Rock Candy

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Introducing The Little Rock Pie Cycle: Taking sweet to the street

Posted By on Thu, May 16, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Hannah Moore and her bike
  • Hannah Moore and her bike
I'm continuously amazed by the opportunities I’ve had to find great eats in the most unlikely of places. This is probably a phenomenon seen in many cities around the country, but it’s certainly true in Little Rock. I've eaten some splendid meals in some very interesting locations—trucks, carts, office buildings, sidewalk sales, malls, and farmer's markets. I wouldn't be surprised if I eventually find myself feasting on salade Nicoise and beef bourgignon inside a bowling alley. Hey, I think it would work.

The latest in Little Rock's unexpectedly wonderful eating experiences comes to us via a young baker and her bike. Introducing the Little Rock Pie Cycle, a true Arkansas original. The Pie Cycle is the brainchild of Hannah Moore, a native Arkansan with a zest for life and a flair for the unconventional. The Pie Cycle only recently began selling its wares—every weekend Hannah jumps on her bright red bike with an insulated container full of freshly baked hand pies strapped to the back. She's been selling primarily in the Hillcrest neighborhood, keeping things close to home to keep her pies at their freshest. The girl's pumpin' pedals to work here, so don't expect her to be making appearances in Conway anytime soon.

So you stalk her Twitter or Facebook page, where every weekend Hannah posts her location for the day. She’ll be camped out at a park, or a bench outside the grocery store, or at a farmer’s market peddling pies to the hungry masses. You’d be wise to get there early, though, she often sells out quickly. I’ve been attempting to meet up with her for the last three weeks in order to gorge myself on handmade pie and meet the sweet genius behind this business venture. Last weekend, at the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, I finally got my chance.

As I mentioned previously, the Pie Cycle specializes in "hand pies"—hand-held pocket-sized pies, akin to the more familiar fried pie—except Hannah's pies are baked rather than fried and dripping in oil. The small pockets of piecrust are filled with fresh fruit fillings of all sorts, neatly wrapped, and individually sold. To me, the sign of a great pie maker is seen in their piecrust, and Hannah’s crust certainly passes the taste test. Hers are heavy on butter, rich, soft and flakey. The light, flavorful crust creates an ideal backdrop for the myriad of fruit fillings Hannah incorporates into the hand pies. Our order included a bright, whole blueberry filling, a spiced apple, and a tart, tangy strawberry rhubarb. She uses only fresh fruit and all natural ingredients, utilizing local ingredients whenever she can. She’s creating everything from scratch, baking all her goods the morning she goes out to sell. To Hannah, “hand pies mean summertime. It’s a food you would eat in shorts with your bare legs hanging off the side of something like a boat or a bridge.”

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I questioned Hannah as to how she came up with the idea for the Pie Cycle and what inspired her to venture into the pie business. She relates this story:

“My father-in-law is a math teacher, and every year on Pi Day (March 14th) he celebrates with his students by doing experiments, reciting digits of Pi, and of course, eating pie. He really liked these hand pies I had been making, so he asked me if I could make 150 of them for his students. So I made 150 pies and I thought, ‘How can this be my life?’ We came up with the Pie Cycle as a way to justify a lifestyle of baking and eating pies every day.”

The Pie Cycle is a truly wonderful addition to our mobile and street-side dining scene, and it’s certainly something worth tracking down. It’s an experience, and a real pleasure meeting young people with big dreams and the creativity to make them happen. Hannah says she’d like to make a few bike modifications in order to accommodate cold drinks for the hot summer months. Hannah says, “I got the opportunity to live in France for a few months where we drank tons of lavender lemonade, which is probably the most refreshing drink I’ve ever had. I’m also working on a roasted peach lemonade.”

The Pie Cycle is destined to brighten the day of anyone fortunate enough to get their paws on some of Hannah’s lovely creations, and I look forward to seeing this small business grow in the coming months. You can find the Little Rock Pie Cycle wheeling around the Hillcrest neighborhood of Little Rock. Follow the Facebook or Twitter pages for the week’s locations, times, and flavors. And if you’re a regular at the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, you’ll be able to catch her there most Saturdays.

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