Save room for pie
I Love Pie Bakeshop’s Diana Shockley says the secret to a delicious pie is love—and butter
All the best pies start with a scrumptious dough. Form your dough. Make a disk. Wrap it up and place it in the fridge.
If you’re Diana Shockley, the “Pie Lady” of Carmichael, you add a few extra steps: Hold the pie dough high in the air, and say, “All hail the disk of dough.” Have your family join in. Then place the dough gently into the fridge. Know your dough will be the star of the show.
Shockley began selling home-baked pies almost two years ago at local farmers markets with her 11-year-old daughter, Katelyn Caudill. She recently quit her 9-to-5 job to go all-in as the Pie Lady. Her new brick-and-mortar shop opened earlier this year with a name coined by Katelyn that gets straight to the heart: I Love Pie Bakeshop (with “love” represented by a red heart).
“I knew when [people] saw the heart, they would remember us,” Katelyn says.
One bite of Shockley’s impossibly rich crust, and it’s easy to see why she’s so reverent about her dough. Nowadays, she and her small staff no longer “hail the dough,” but Shockley still has a few tricks up her sleeve for making her pies stand out above the rest.
“We use an all-butter crust. That’s what makes it so flaky and flavorful: butter,” she confesses.
Words such as margarine and shortening make her cringe. She hand rolls her dough every morning, working with it, rolling it out, trimming the edges before crimping each pie. All that love and attention shines through in a strikingly delicious finished dessert.
“Everyone tells me it’s the crust, for sure,” she says.
A quality pie takes time, so no shortcuts allowed at I Love Pie. Nothing is pre-made or pre-mixed, not even the silky cream pies.
“Sometimes I get people that come in, and they’re like, do you put pudding you buy in your chocolate cream pie?” Shockley says, laughing. “We don’t.”
From handmade cream pies and salted caramel in her apple variety, down to hand-tossed coconut flakes, Shockley places high importance on making every detail from scratch.
Pie ingredients are also as locally sourced as possible, which means seasonal fruits have sweetened on the vine instead of on a truck. “When we get our berries from local farmers, there’s nothing comparable. They have more flavor,” she says.
Once her pies are assembled, aesthetics are the next focus.
“It’s not just the flavors,” she says. “You want it to look good. You want it to look like you can eat it with your eyes.”
Shockley is continually experimenting with new pies, which is good news for her daughter who works with her mom part-time.
“I love the salted caramel apple because you can taste the caramel in the pie. I love apricot pluot and I like blueberry. Every pie is my favorite,” Katelyn says.
From fruit stand to her brick-and-mortar in Carmichael, the pie business has been sweet for Shockley as she has plans to expand next year. Still, the magical ingredient remains the same—talk to the pies. Tell them they’re gorgeous. Tell them they’re going to a good home. So says the Pie Lady.