Posted by: Pat | October 31, 2008

Betty’s Pie and How I got Started

My fascination with the American Pie began several years ago with a visit to Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, MN. Two Harbors is located on the north shore of Lake Superior. Betty started her business selling food to local fisherman in 1956. Her pies became her trademark and she changed the name of her eatery to Betty’s Pies. Betty retired in 1984 and sold her diner to Carl Ehlenz and Martha Sieber. They move the restaurant to it current location in 2000. They asked Betty to come back and help with creation of some of the original pie recipes. Betty’s Pies has become a tourist attraction for the North Shore. In the summer they are opened from 7am to 9pm baking about 300 fresh pies daily. I first heard about Betty’s Pie from a stranger when I admired her Betty’s Pie t-shirt. After that every trip to the North Shore included a trip to Betty’s Pies. It is hard to explain this restaurant. It is set up like a diner with blue and white Formica tables and booths, Yes, they do sell regular food but it is pies that everyone comes for. The selection of pie is incredible. In the summer, there are all varieties of berry pies with multiple combinations. My husband’s favorite was the strawberry-rhubarb pie. In addition to strawberries, blueberry, bumbleberry, apple, and cherry there are the cream pie. To name a few French Cherry Cream, Butterfinger, and Chocolate Silk Cream. After several visits to Betty’s Pies, I had ambitions of opening my own pie shop. But since I have never been able to achieve the perfect crust, I have to be content with searching out the perfect pie.

I am not sure how this fascination with American Pie turned into a travel log. But soon I started talking about taking my pie tasting on the road and hopefully I would visit all of the 50 states to sample pie. I would require that the pies be freshly baked at the location, made from fresh products (no canned fillings), and reflect the locally grown produce or have some historically claim to the origination of that pie.

The pie was around before the Pilgrims but not as a sweet. The pies in Europe were savory meat pies. The crust originally served only as a container for the filling so that it could be portable and eaten without utilities. The Pilgrims brought their recipes to America but substituted berries and fruit. Due to the availability of cheap sugar, the American Pie became a mainstay in every home. Pie was served with every meal in some homes. It was inexpensive, could be made with locally grown produce, and was substantial filler for hard working settlers. Every woman was expected to know how to make a pie. Soon pies were sold at local fairs and pie contest became regular events.

I am only going to sample what is known as sweet pies. By definition is a baked dish, which is usually made of pastry dough shell that covers or contains a filling of various sweets. I may taste but will not write about tarts, cobblers, or tartlets, but I will consider fruit, cream, custard and of course chocolate pies.



  1. Omg, I’ve been wanting to order one (all) of Betty’s pies. How are her cream pies and what are the crusts like? Thanks!

  2. The French Silk and the 5 layer chocolate are to die for. They have been doing pies for years which means they have perfected their crust, Flaky and tender. Can you order on line at

  3. Hi, Pat, thanks for responding. There are no decent bakeries around where I live I’ve been obsessed with pie lately. I’ll definitely give Betty’s a try. You’ve got a great blog you’ve started here. Thanks so much!

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