Cupcakes A Distraction, Pie ForeverFriday, January 14, 2011
Back in November, the NYT ran an article entitled "Pie to Cupcake: Time Up".
Pie had been lurking below the radar in recent years: taking cover during the ice cream trend, perhaps waiting to see which way the macaron tide would turn. (For proof that the cupcake craze has gone too far, consider the new turkey cranberry cupcake with gravy in the batter from Yummy Cupcakes in Los Angeles.)
Suddenly, New York and San Francisco are national centers of pie innovation. In Brooklyn, a pair of sisters from South Dakota are integrating sea salt and caramel into their apple pie and inventing aromatic fillings like cranberry-sage and pear-rosewater. In the East Village, at Momofuku Milk Bar, the pastry chef, Christina Tosi, has transferred the buttery, caramelized flavors of apple pie into a layer cake, with apple filling between the layers and crumbs of pie crust in the frosting.
(I just have to interject here: in Alabama we have Pie Lab. Since 2009.)
“We were the only game in town,” Emily said of the Calico Kitchen, which served breakfast, lunch and dinner. “But even a small town in the Midwest can get through a lot of pie.”
When the sisters opened their shop in a post-industrial corner of Brooklyn, the pair expected to make 10 pies a day to keep up with demand. Already, on each weekend day, they need 40.
Last weekend, the sisters also made extra pie for 200 people: a wedding pie, an increasingly common alternative to wedding cake. (Emily recommends “slab pies” for large gatherings: double a normal recipe, use the crust to line a sheet pan with sides, and cover the filling with more crust or a crumble top.)
I admit, too, I'm a little over the cupcakes. Not that they aren't fantastic, but they're overexposed now. Plus, that Spencer Shoults Cupcakes! exhibit at Space One Eleven where they were artfully rotting...:
It's time to get back to pie.
Earlier this month, NPR ran a segment called Cupcakes Are Dead. Long Live the Pie! which was actually more about food trends for 2011 than anything else, but still:
Every year, I predict the death of the cupcake. I'm always wrong.
But this year, they'll have real competition from the humble pie. Trend-spotters are calling pie the food of the year. Texas and New York restaurants offer pie happy hours. Pies are showing up at weddings, and pie shops are opening in a neighborhood near you. Pies come in sweet and savory, maxi and mini, deep dish and deep-fried.
Pies *really are* showing up at weddings. Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and ten thousand other places. Av is still kicking himself for not thinking of the Krispy-Kreme groom's cake trend when we got married, I'm sure.
One new-ish thing I'm ready to embrace: mini king cakes. People have been making them at home for a while (the cheat is to put icing/sugar on a cinnamon bun) but this year Cochon is making them, and *Hubig's* is doing it too - reformulating the one that came out last week so the icing stays on better. Ready for that.
Hurts that Zapp's sold last week to Utz. Or Utz's. Or whoever they are. Make sure to leave those Cajun Crawtators the same!