Would you try a slice of Utah’s famous pickle pie?

What’s your favorite slice of pie? Apple? Pecan? Pumpkin? Or are you from Bicknell, Utah? In that case, you might be a fan of pickle pie. And they’re not the only ones. People travel hours for a slice of Sunglow Cafe’s specialty.

Bicknell is a small town in Utah, approximately three hours south of Salt Lake City. The population is less than 500 and the community is tight-knit. A fixture of Bicknell is the Sunglow Cafe. From the outside, it looks like a classic roadside diner, but it is perhaps the only place in America, if not the world, serving up a pickle pie. 

The recipe starts with more conventional pie ingredients. Butter, sugar milk and eggs make up the base. Other sweet flavorings include cornstarch, lemon extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. And now things go off-piste. Because in Sunglow Cafe’s classic dish, there is, of course, a lot of pickles. 

bicknell utah pickle pie

The combination is sweet and sour and served as a dessert. It dates back to the original owner of Sunglow Cafe, Cula Ekker, who was known as the “Pie Queen” of Wayne County. Cula found the pickle pie recipe in a magazine, though she changed a few parts for her own version.

Bessie Stewart is now at the helm and has worked at the cafe for over four decades. She says it’s “more than just a pie, it’s their work of art” and that creating such a unique sweet treat took both “pride and imagination”. Each morning, Bessie arrives at 5am and makes over a dozen fresh pies. 

bicknell utah pickle pie
Bessie Stewart in front of Sunglow Cafe.

“Cooking is all I have ever done,” she told Utah Stories. “I started working for Cula in 1983.” She continued Cula’s legacy at Sunglow, but she took a different local nickname than the “Pie Queen”. Bessie Stewart is affectionately called the “Pistol-Packing Pastry Chef” after once firing at her fleeing husband.

Read More: When Italy waged a war on pasta

“The Lord was with him,” she explained. “We were both so angry. When I picked up that gun, he knew I meant business and took off running. It was so dark I couldn’t see, so I fired at the sounds he made as he ran. It took a few years before we could laugh about it,” she says, “but eventually we made up.” Today, she has four kids, 15 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

bicknell utah pickle pie
Sunglow Cafe

Pickle pie isn’t the only strange creation in this part of town. Sunglow Cafe also serves pinto bean pie, in case pickles aren’t for you.

This isn’t our only pie-related Great Big Story. Check out the video below on one of New York City’s most revered pie shops. 


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