Will These Tiered, Meat-Filled Pies Replace the Wedding Cake?
Over the years, wedding desserts have gone from standard, tiered white cakes to much more creative affairs—naked wedding cakes sans icing, croquembouches tower unified with delicately spun caramel, and even donut walls. Now, Sam Jacobson, chef and owner of Stargazy in Philadelphia, is offering another option for couples: savory, meat-filled, tiered pies. And his alternative just may be the next big thing in wedding cakes.
The tiny and popular East Passyunk shop is known for its flaky-crusted pie-and-mash and other traditional English treats. When two of Jacobson’s regular customers got engaged, the English-born chef was tapped to create something special for their wedding, but instead of a classic, fondant-covered cake, he built a towering, tiered wedding pie.
Made from cold, picnic-style pork pies with a sturdy, hot water crust, Jacobson’s inaugural wedding pie also had a vegetarian layer with spring vegetables set with egg to accommodate the non-meat eaters at the celebration. The whole project took the chef about twelve hours to make and assemble. He used wedding cake supports he found at Fante’s—the old-school kitchen shop in the nearby Italian Market—and trimmed it with some fresh farmer’s market produce.
The result was such a hit that Jacobson has been experimenting with other savory and sweet fillings. “It needs to be a filling that’s firm enough that it won’t spill out when you slice it,” he says. “But other than that, it can be anything—it can be cake batter inside, so you have a cake inside a pie.” (Yes, please.)
A few weeks after making his first pie, the chef repeated the feat to celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May. This time, though, he took a little more creative license. The six-layered stack included pies peppered with pickles and boiled eggs, and breakfast-inspired layer with sausage, bacon, black pudding, eggs, and cheese. He also added a little decorative flair with handmade fruit jellies, and sold the pie by the slice.
Prices for the whole pies depend on the size, ingredients, and detail. (The price goes up with the decadent addition of truffles or foie gras, for example.)
“Wedding cakes tend to be an afterthought,” says Jacobson. “But they can be really good, depending on how much thought you put into it. They can be anything you want them to be.”
We want them to be flaky-crusted and filled with pork, please, so with any hope Jacobson has launched the next big wedding trend.