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Food and Drink Features
 

Pie chart


Ready for a slice? Pies are poised to become the breakout dessert of 2011.

Malena Lott February 2nd, 2011

They don’t call it “as American as apple pie” for nothing. Simple, cheap and quick have always been hallmarks of patriotic popularity (hot dogs and hamburgers, anyone?), and that goes double when it’s also piping hot and delicious. And popular.

From newspapers to blog posts to even a California-based consulting firm, pies have been showing up on lists of top food trends of 2011.

“If I had one trend — one trend — of the year that I could predict … this would be the trend for pie,” Andrew Freeman told Nation’s Restaurant News in late 2010. “I think that we’re going to make room for pie shops in the next year.”

Freeman runs Andrew Freeman & Co., a San Francisco-based restaurant marketing consulting company.

Seems pie is set to usurp the cupcake as the “next dessert trend,” which is pretty crazy since our ancestors have been eating it since about 9500 B.C.

According to Linda Stradley’s “History of Pie” on the website What’s Cooking America, pie’s crude beginning, called galettes, were rustic, free-form pies made with oat, wheat, rye and barley, with honey in the middle, and baked over hot coals.

Several thousand years later, the bakers to the pharaohs incorporated nuts, honey and fruits in bread dough, making it an early pastry dessert. According to Stradley, drawings of it can be found etched on the tomb walls of Egypt’s Ramses II, located in the Valley of the Kings. Must’ve been some dessert.

We can thank the Greeks for

above Nathan Pharr ladles decadent ingredients into pie crusts at Ingrid’s Kitchen.

piecrust soon after. A flour and water paste was wrapped around meat to help retain the juice. And just like that, pie took off, being adopted and adapted by cultures throughout Europe and landing, along with the pilgrims, in America. Although, there was no pumpkin pie at the first Thanksgiving, since there were no ovens.

Michael Brown of Brown’s Bakery, 1100 N. Walker, said pie’s appeal is obvious. “It’s traditional. It’s easy, not hard. You don’t have to ice it like you do a cake,” he said. “It’s a little more healthy with the fruit in it, and it doesn’t have the sugar content of cake.”

Since Brown’s has been in business since 1946, they’ve made and served nearly every pie a baker can dream of: pecan, pumpkin, sweet potato, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, coconut cream, meringue, lemon meringue, chocolate cream, chocolate meringue … you get the idea. He said restaurants like to serve it because it’s easy to slice and serve.

What makes a great pie?

According to Brown, using fresh fruit makes a pie even better, and the key to a great crust is to make it tender.

Each holiday gets its top seller at Brown’s: pumpkin at Thanksgiving, pecan at Christmas and New Year’s, and pecan squares as the everyday item throughout the year.

While pie is traditional, it’s also diverse. Go nutty with walnut, pine nuts or even a peanut butter chocolate pie with real peanuts. And

if that doesn’t suit you, don’t worry — there are trends in pie just like with other desserts.

“Everything comes around in good time,” said Maggie Miner, the manager at Ingrid’s Kitchen, which has blessed the metro with its baked goodies since 1978. “The cupcake thing will calm down. We always have new trends, so why wouldn’t we in food?”

Our pecan pie is to die for.

—Maggie Miner

The most popular pies at Ingrid’s, 3701 N. Youngs, are the chocolate cream pie, coconut cream pie and cherry pie.

“We still make everything from scratch,” Miner said.

Pies are cost-effective, too.

A whole pie at Ingrid’s only sets you back $11.99 for fruit pie or $12.99 for chocolate cream. Miner’s personal favorite? “Our pecan pie is to die for,” she said.

At La Baguette Bistro & Bakery, 7408 N. May, tartes, a French take on classic pie, come in small, large or half-sheet sizes to satisfy your pie craving. La Baguette offers raspberry and chocolate truffle, almond and pear, cherry or lemon, fresh apple and fresh fruit.

And what about pie à la mode? Historians credit the origin to a professor who dined at the Cambridge Hotel in Cambridge, N.Y., and asked for apple pie and ice cream. When a woman asked what it was called, he said he had no idea, so she named it pie à la mode, which in French means “fashionable.” The professor asked for it by name thereafter.

Get yours at Cafe 501, 501 S. Boulevard in Edmond and 5825 N.W. Grand Blvd., which serves a homemade warm apple pie with brown sugar and cornflake granola, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

As for the popular saying “as American as apple pie,” we have the British to thank for our national treasure.

According to The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, apple seeds were brought over by early settlers from Europe, where apple pie was already a popular dish. Apple trees flourished in the New World and apples became a part of nearly every colonial meal thereafter.

I’ll eat to that.

 
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