When’s the last time you ‘Eta Pi?’

Marilyn Schanaman, owner of Eta Pi, pours a fresh batch of homemade caramel into a pan inside her shop’s kitchen. The pie shop, located at 3415 C 1/2 Road, opened last week and is taking orders for the holidays.

Just in time for the holidays, Marilyn Schanaman’s long awaited pie shop has opened on East Orchard Mesa.

Eta Pi opened last week in the former Rancho Fruita location at 3415 C ½ Road.

Open for more than a decade, Rancho Fruita was a well-known pie shop whose closing left many locals at a loss for their holiday baking needs.

Schanaman isn’t worried about living up to the legacy, she plans on creating her own reputation based on her carefully recipes for perfectly, perfect pie.

“I try to take the traditional and keep tweaking them until their really something special,” Schanaman said while she gently folded macerating berries to let the juices run inside the shop’s kitchen.

She also stirred a pot of browned caramel for the second batch of homemade candies sold in the display case, stopping momentarily to gather her pie cutters on a counter.

Wearing a cranberry colored dress and crisp white apron, Schanaman, 28, appeared to be a wiz in the kitchen.

She has been baking since she was a child. She still remembers the first thing she ever cooked at age 10 — macaroni and cheese — because she caught a kitchen towel on fire.

“I was trying to remain calm but it was burning my fingers,” she said with an embarrassed laugh.

She made eclairs when she turned 13, and gave “random acts of cake” to her friends and family as a teen.

Later, she found the chemistry behind cooking almost more interesting than the yummy results. “I’ve literally read the textbook on pies and there’s an art to it,” she said.

Eta Pi is offering strawberry-rhubarb, triple berry, peach and high apple pie available for $18 from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Daily.

Schanaman’s signature pie is the apple flower, a bottom-crusted pie topped with fresh sliced apples arranged in an attractive floral pattern.

Schanaman sold out of pies last weekend, and is hopeful customers will keep coming back for more. “Most of the people have been really excited and friendly,” she said.

Most of the fruit used in the pies comes from the shop’s adjacent orchard. The orchard attracted national attention last summer when Schanaman and her husband, Donald, gave their unsellable peaches to the public for free. Some pickers disrespected the orchard, driving over and breaking irrigation pipes. Some picked other fruit from neighboring orchards.

In an effort to repair the pipe, Schanaman sold pie tokens in anticipation of opening the pie shop. She’s ready to fulfill those orders.

“It was fun to share all the peaches despite what happened,” Schanaman said, “and now we’re just looking forward to the support of everyone.”

Pre-orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas are highly encouraged. Schanaman plans to add Christmas favorites such as cran-apple to flavors. Gourmet Christmas candies and custom gifts are also available. Pie tokens also make a great gift.

To order, call 778-6753.


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