Prosciutto, Fig, and Brie; Apple with a Gruyere Crust; and more: THE AMAZING PIES OF KAREN OLSON

As soon as the calendar ticks over to that third week of the month, I know that many of you begin salivating. And by Tuesday, there’s probably even a little drool on your pillow. Of course, I’m talking about those of you who have ventured over to Practical Art for our Third Friday Pie Social featuring the mouth-wateringly scrumptious, creatively-crusted creations of Karen Olson of Vonceil’s Pies.  (Yup, her last name should sound familiar– she’s Lisa’s sister!) For those of you who haven’t made it yet, have no fear! Friday night approacheth!

Whenever we mention our pie social, people are always like, “I don’t get it it. What do you do? Just… like… come and eat pie?”  We know. It DOES sound too good to be true; we’d be incredulous too. But it’s for realsies! Every Third Friday, come by the gallery from 7pm-9pm, and you’ll encounter a group of fun and friendly folks enjoying a sip from a wine glass and slivers of pies that have previously included Pear Cardamom, Peach Habanero, Blueberry Scotch, Strawberry Rhubarb, and, my personal favorite, Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie. (Honest to God, it takes me 30 minutes to eat even a small piece of this slice of heaven.)

The other question we get is, “Where do the pies come from?” And just as we have artist photo essays and interviews logged and in-process for our blog, we’ve chosen to highlight this artisan-of-the-rolling-pin for today’s post.

Meet Karen Olson. She makes each of the classic and adventurous baked goods listed above completely from scratch. Not only does she make and roll out her own crusts, but say you’re nibbling on a piece of Pumpkin Pie: Karen’s baked, scooped, and mashed AN ACTUAL WHOLE PUMPKIN. Mowing down a slice of Cherry? She’s PITTED FRESH CHERRIES; none of that ‘from-a-can’ crap. And when there isn’t a pressing need for a particular type of pie, Karen will head to the store either the day before, or morning of, and pick out the ripest, freshest, best produce for her pies.  Often, there’s no added sugar. When you have flavorful, quality ingredients, nature does most of the work for you; it’s then about recognizing great ingredients and highlighting those flavors, either in their pure forms, or with a complementary flavor pairing. Karen’s got her philosophies down pat.

“Vonceil’s Pies is my dream in the making. My name is Karen Olson and some day I hope that Vonceil’s will be my own store front bakery in which I can share the wonderful, crazy, beautiful world of homemade pie to the Arizona community.”

Currently, if you’d like to order a pie (or many pies), or book a class/pie-making-party, you can contact Karen directly at or at 480-329-0301.  

Feel free to come by and taste test on Friday. Go ahead, have a little pie scouting session.  It’s fun, it’s free, it gets you out of the house and enjoying your community… It’s a social, fer-cryin’-out-loud– meet some people! We dig it when you bring your own funky plate, or even better, if you pick up an artisan-crafted plate on the spot, made by one of our 100 local artisans.

Once you become a fan (love at first bite), you can root for Vonceil’s Pies at the upcoming Roosevelt Row Pie Social… Karen’s competing for the first time! November 3rd!

See you Friday at 7pm!

Practical Art loves the Phoenix arts community.
Also this Friday night:
Steve Weiss“56 of 100: Candid Landscapes and the Arizona Centennial” at The Hive

Lara Plecas“Residual Energy” & Logan Bellew’sAngels v.2” at Eye Lounge

Kathryn Maxwell’s “Searching for the Center” at Five15

And this weekend (to be expounded upon in Friday’s blog post):
DON’T MISS!!  The Grand Avenue Festival and, in conjunction, Coffee Cookies & Crafts!


2 thoughts on “Prosciutto, Fig, and Brie; Apple with a Gruyere Crust; and more: THE AMAZING PIES OF KAREN OLSON”

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