Pies used to be seen as the either the coup de grace on Thanksgiving or snarky protesters' tool of choice. (Remember when Ann Coulter, Ralph Nader and Jeff Skilling, former president of Enron, were all pied?) Then in 2011 the lattice-topped treat hit the big time, and Nation's Restaurant News declared pie the restaurant trend of the year.
Since then, pies have given cupcakes a run for their money when it comes to a slice of the dessert dollar.
At So Perfect Eats, which I review this week, chef-owner Lynda Campbell is better known for other kinds of baked goods, some thirty of which -- such as chocolate oatmeal cookies or housemade Oreos -- are in the case to tempt your willpower on any given day. But she has quietly developed a following for her pies, too.
At Thanksgiving, Campbell made nearly 120, and orders are still rolling in for sour cream apple, pecan, pumpkin and other varieties this Christmas. Pies are only available by special order, but come summer she'll add fruit-filled hand pies to the case (which should inspire lots of impulse buys).
Other bakeries have gotten in on the sweet action, too. Wednesday's Pie, part of Frank Bonanno's culinary empire, sells three kinds of whole pies -- think turtle pie with sweet cream and caramel apple - from its underground Larimer Square location starting at 11 a.m. every day.
At Sugar Bakeshop, Natalie Slevin whips up a mean selection of pies, available by special order or on the weekends by the slice, including pear-almond and chocolate bourbon pecan. No need to wait for Saturday for a bite of flakey goodness, though; scratch-made hand pies known as "popsters" are sold daily, with such fillings as Nutella and strawberry inside a flakey crust.
And this fall, Humble Pie opened in the Baker neighborhood, putting out not just scrumptious sweet varieties but savories such as chicken pot pie and beef Wellington as well. If you're one of those for whom pie isn't the same when it's not a la mode, try the pie shake, a slice of pie blended with ice cream.
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Hint to Nation's Restaurant News: have you considered that for trend of the year?