Few feelings rival standing beside a warm oven wafting luscious notes of flour and spice through the house that not even the best scented candle could imitate. As we retreat to the warm confines of our abodes and prepare to open them to friends, family and those begrudgingly invited, the discerning host will no doubt go to great competitive lengths this holiday season to set the perfect table, which can only be capped by plating the perfect pie. We asked Brittany Bennett, a South Salem native whose Brooklyn-based baking business, Taartwork, has drawn accolades from Vogue to an Instagram shout-out by Lucky editor Eva Chen, to share some secrets and bake an artful ode to the northern suburbs.
56 Clapboard Ridge Road provided the perfect setting to style the moment. The sun-splashed kitchen, resplendent with ancestral woodwork and masonry, radial line of picture windows and custom dual refrigerator paneled with English watercolor scenes, effuses thorough modernity with a nod to tradition.
Brittany is mindful of the provenance of each and every ingredient, sourcing them locally to the greatest extent possible. Urban greenmarkets fill the void when the trip north isn't possible, which isn't bad for an expat epicure when the valley's bounty is often a short stroll away at the McCarren Park Farmer's Market, thanks to the omnipresence of 845 and 518 growers in city limits.
The home's Adirondack room recalled woodsier corners of our region, from equestrian estates of back country Greenwich to the history-steeped Hudson Valley. Bennett's signature apple taarts typically spotlight varietals from Harvest Moon Orchard in North Salem—a regular pilgrimage for Northern Westchesterites only competed with the obligatory face-stuffing of a fresh, hot cider doughnut. But her pumpkin-chocolate layer pie best reminded her of home this time of year. "The brown/burnt orange color combination reminds me of a late Hudson Valley autumn," she explained. "Throw some chamomile on for garnish and it brings the colors together like the landscape, just past peak."
Proceeding through the butler's pantry, the bright dining room beckoned from a distance, resplendent with its refreshing color palette and flawless place settings. Perhaps most fascinating to experience is how the home's historic fabric is so seamlessly interwoven into equilibrium with modern appurtenances, enveloping all who enter with strikingly authentic charm without compromising a single convenience or luxury. Form follows function consistently to create a manifestation of ergonomic and aesthetic splendor truly second to none, with not an ounce of pretension to detract from it. One could say loving it is as easy as, well...
Follow @taartwork on Instagram (and @houlihanlawrence, of course, if you haven't already)
If your holiday cooking specialty is making reservations, Taartwork is taking pie orders through the holidays.