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Hel-lo, Miss American Pie 

I needed a pie, Don't ask me why, To celebrate the Fourth of July.

But the heat, ugh, it made even the thought of turning on my oven a nightmare. So what's a pie-craving soul to do? Get up at 4 a.m. to construct and bake a pie in the relative cool of a summer's night? Suffer through hell of a 375-degree kitchen for an hour of baking, wondering if the kitchen would ever again cool down again?

I found my answer at Pie-Eyed Pies, a new business just east of the juncture of Maizeland and Academy. They bake pies when it's hot. They bake pies when it's cold. They bake pies all day long, regardless of rain or snow or gloom of darkness. Just be prepared to slap down a 50-cent deposit on your pie tin when you purchase a whole pie, refundable when you return the tin in usable condition. I highly recommend you forego the return of the four bits and just get another pie.

There are a dozen different fruit pies, including apple, cherry, rhubarb, peach crumb, strawberry rhubarb, blackberry, gooseberry and raisin. If your mouth isn't watering yet, consider chocolate, banana or coconut cream. There are specialty cream pies and old-fashioned, meringue-topped beauties. There are seasonal selections (call ahead or ask the cashier when you get there) plus sugar-free fruit and cream pies, and more than a half-dozen cheesecakes. The savory side includes classic quiches filled with cheese and ham, broccoli or chicken and spinach, or a glorious chicken potpie filled with chunks of chicken and veggies.

All the pies are available whole or by the slice. They also offer bakery items and the best thing to ever happen to leftover bits of pie crust -- pie twists. Mmm, just like Grandma used to make, brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, rolled up and baked to cinnamony, crumbly perfection.

On top of it all, you've got a choice of sandwiches, salad and soups ... but the main reason to go there is the pie. The blueberry pie I bought was deeply purple and sweet, with a crust that would make my mother jealous. The slice of strawberry rhubarb I got to tide me over was luscious, a tiny bit sweeter than I would have liked, but then again, I ate rhubarb raw as a child.

As Homer Simpson would say, "Mmmm, pie."

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