Pie 790 xxx
photo from the new york times

11.19.10 The Value of Pie

Pie is having a renaissance, although I'm not sure it ever really went away. As discussed in this recent NY Times article, it's about to kick the cupcake off its frosted throne. Yea! As a country, we've got quite a lot invested in the notion of pie. Just like us damn Yankees, it runs the gamut from down-home (tamale pie) to drop-dead glamorous (Baked Alaska). The best pie I've ever eaten was at a tiny shack somewhere near Nashville during a random stop on a cross-country drive. I still remember the shatteringly flaky crust (thanks to lard, no question) and the tangy, juicy whole blackberries. My own sour cherry version is a princess among pies, a slice of summer on a plate, best eaten in July with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. My father had a weakness for pecan pie, that tooth-achingly sweet confection loaded with nuts and Karo syrup. And I have always looked forward to the pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. But when it really came down to it, I realized that all I truly crave is the custard. It's that smooth, silky consistency I adore, the delicate balance of spices and a subtle sweetness—not the soggy cardboard crust, made worse by everyone's insistence on keeping pie in the fridge. (Where we know baked goods don't improve!) Besides, in this gluten-free household, I have come to realize that eating all that flour is what leaves you feeling bloated and puffy and gross. Especially on Thanksgiving, when you know you are going to load your plate with stuffing and Parker house rolls, maybe dessert is the time to think outside the crust. Or maybe not. Either way, here are a few suggestions for next week's finale.
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