Rhode Island’s 5 Best Classic Pies
Thursday, May 08, 2014
"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!" Let them eat cake? Really? Look, cake is fine. We love it. But it lacks a certain creativity, a depth of flavor, a seasonality and a freshness that the humble pie provides. Come springtime, our palates, in dire need of a piquant peach, a succulent strawberry, a creamy coconut cream… they dream of pie. Ok, it may not hold a birthday candle as well. But pie is so much more elegant! And while you may think there’s nothing more American than pie, well, you’d be wrong. The combination of pastry and filling (fruits, creams, meats, stews, vegetables) is as old as man – almost 10,000 years, as far as anthropologists can tell. Pie might have been invented by the Greeks, or maybe the Egyptians. No doubt it was perfected by the Europeans, whose creativity with fats (butters, lards, oils) and flours helped them nail the execution of the crust. And after all, a pie without crust – well, it’s just a bowl full of filling, really. Oh, no. The crust, in all its buttery, flaky, golden deliciousness, is the thing. Pastry chefs spend years perfecting their recipes and forever guard them afterwards. We don’t particularly like the fact that pie has always taken the rumble seat to cake. And so, in celebration of the classic, popular varieties of pie, we present out favorite five.
Related Slideshow: 5 Best Classic Pies in Rhode Island
The difference between a pie and a tart? Very little, actually. For many it comes down to the crust. Tarts tend to have crusts that are firm and crumbly crust. Pies tend to aim for a more flaky and crispy shell. Look no further than Pastiche’s buttery tart shell filled with a velvety tart lemon curd and topped with fresh whipped cream for a perfect version. Pastiche has been perfecting the art of pastry for decades now, and this beauty wins top honors for its simple celebration of the lemon.
92 Spruce St
Coconut Custard Pie
This classic bakery opened in 1928 and only two families have owned it, so you can imagine how classic and fine-tuned the recipes are. We love the classic coconut cream for its rich custard, creamy consistency and toasty coconut flavor. The crust is buttery and firm – it has to be to hold up to the delish filling. These pies are the ones you remember from childhood; across-the-board crowd pleasers.
138 Wayland Ave
Okay, really, there’s no such thing as a bad Schartner’s pie. We’ve been eating them for decades, since our University of Rhode Island days, actually, when our parents would ask us to stop en route home on the weekend for a pie. The flavor didn’t really matter and often changed with the seasons – apple in fall (we preferred their Dutch version, with the crumbly topping), pumpkin at the holidays, and so on. Over the years, the blueberry became to go-to, though, for its small, sweet, flavor-packed berries and thick, flaky crust. Love ’em always!
1 Arnold Pl
Chocolate Cream Pie
Celebrate a rainy day. Celebrate the fact that your neighbor is having a yard sale. Celebrate the cat’s birthday. Whatever you need to do to find a reason to bring home these decadent creations, do it. Silky, extra-rich chocolate mousse and sweet whipped cream come together in what our Auntie Sue calls “pie-fection.” We couldn’t agree more, and as the saying goes, we dare you to each just one…piece, anyway.
701 Oaklawn Ave.
Old Fashioned Apple Pie
We originally began to frequent Borrelli’s in our childhood, when they were located in Coventry. We loved their hearty spinach pies and tasty calzones back then. In adulthood we return to them for their perfect take on classic apple pie. Borrelli’s seems to have found the perfect apple or combination of apples (they won’t share their secret!) – not too soft, certainly not mealy, just the right balance of sweet and tart, and not too acidic. We think they may be Golden Delicious. But we’re not slowing down on the eating long enough to look more closely.
820 Boston Neck Rd.
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