Grad's passion is pies

Marielle Dupré has always had pastries on her mind, even while pursuing her psychology degree at Tulane University.

Marielle Dupré shows off Widowsill Pies' blueberry lavender honey pie, vanilla bean bourbon pecan pie and passion fruit raspberry tart. (Photo by Sally Asher)

Dupré, a 2003 graduate, was waiting tables to save up for graduate school when Hurricane Katrina hit. The storm was a catalyst for Dupré to change course, inspiring her to fast-track her dream of baking as her primary goal.

She moved to San Francisco to attend the California Culinary Academy. After graduation, she stayed in the city for a few years to gain professional experience, baking in various high-end hotels and restaurants before returning to New Orleans.

When her friend Nicole Eiden contacted her to start a pie business in 2011, Dupré jumped hands-first into her extensive collection of recipes from relatives, work and cookbooks. Their mission? Add a connoisseur's twist to conventional pies with complementary but unusual ingredients. They chose the name Windowsill Pies for their business because it was “evocative of a homey, old-fashioned afternoon.”

Word of Windowsill's Southern-styled, French-inspired gourmet pies has spread and the women fill orders for parties, receptions and weddings.

“The most satisfying way to get customers,” Dupré says, “is when they taste one of our pies and have to have it for themselves.”

The women bake out of a commercial space at the Blue Plate Café and offer seasonal traditional, mini and hand pies. They sell their wares at the Covington Farmer's Market every Saturday and plan to start at the Freret Market uptown in the fall.

On the current menu, the vanilla bean bourbon pecan is decadent and bold, the blueberry lavender honey lulls you into a summer reverie and the passion fruit raspberry tart is tropical and lively. Seeing the joy that Windowsill Pies brings to people, and to herself, Dupré's shift from psychology to pie baking is clearly what the doctor ordered — Freud would have approved.