Noble Pies apple pie| All photos by Anjelique Almonte
A renowned Hudson Valley piemaker comes to Rye with both sweet and savory offerings for pie lovers in Westchester County.
At the age of 8, Leslie Noble baked a cherry pie — the first of many pies in her life.
“It wasn’t enough just to bake the pie on my own,” says the mother of three, who learned baking techniques and recipes from her grandmother, Troy Fowler (who lived to be 103). “I hand-painted the top with food coloring to make it look like a quilt. Grandma Fowler was also a quilter.”
She’s been doing grandma’s good baking ever since, first as a hobbyist home baker for family and friends and then, after the Great Recession of 2008 (which tanked her horse farm), as a business called Noble Pies.
“It was out of desperation, really,” she says. “The only thing I could think to do was make pies.”
She put fliers in people’s mailboxes, set up a picnic table, and sold at the side of the road, along Route 94 in Orange County, near their Warwick home. “I used to ride my horse to attract people. The town got mad because of the slowing traffic, so we had to leave the spot.”
Noble now has two retail locations, the newer of which is in Rye.
“Many pie recipes I see are overly complicated, whether it’s the way to roll out dough or some of the thickening ingredients,” says Noble, who studies recipe books (she has a shoebox of Grandma Fowler’s handwritten recipes, perhaps her most prized culinary possession). “Also, they are way too sweet.”
Noble’s pies contain less sugar than most; she wants people to instead taste fresh fruit and grass-fed local butter. Among the pies available on the winter menu are apple, blueberry, mixed berry, cherry, and pecan, plus pineapple ricotta and chocolate cream. There are also savory options, like chicken pot pie, Buffalo chicken, and shepherd’s pie. A host of other varieties are available for preorder, including sweet potato, coconut cream, and lemon meringue.
In the early days of the business, Noble made her pies sweeter than she liked because she was afraid people wouldn’t take to them otherwise.
“By the second year, we cut back on the amount of sugar,” she says. “Nobody complained.”
Grandma Fowler never ate something premade: Bread, rolls, biscuits, etc., were all made from scratch, using the best ingredients she could get. To that end, Noble uses sustainably grown fruit from Ochs Orchard (Warwick), butter from Kriemhild Dairy Farms (Hamilton), Sweetman’s Farm Grass-fed Beef (Warwick), and Quaker Creek (Goshen) for sausage. With the help of her youngest son, Sam Bonder, she also grows organic mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs, potatoes, and squash on the family’s 1830s 37-acre farm.
In the two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, Noble sold approximately 4,000 pies — with apple and pumpkin leading the pack.
So, what is it about a from-scratch pie that people love so much?
“I hear from customers all the time,” she says. “It brings back memories of an aunt, a mom, a grandma who made pie. I’ve seriously watched grown men cry over our pies and the memories they stir up.”