Pies Instead Of Cupcakes: The Newest Trend In Desserts, Baking, & Coolness
Just when you thought you'd gotten used to seeing cupcakes everywhere...cupcake shoppes on the corner, cupcakes on aprons, cupcake recipe books, even cupcake wedding cakes...now it seems the cupcake trend is on the wane. This, even despite cupcake shows hitting the Food Network. Perhaps they were a little too cutesy..perhaps a bit too lacking in substance. Or maybe it was the $2.75 - $5.00 apiece price tag...yikes! About a year ago, my son begged his doting aunt to take him to a local cupcake shop where she paid an obscene amount for four cupcakes. Afterward, they were in Target together and she showed him a box of Duncan Hines cake mix and explained to him that for just 99 cents, they could have baked 24 cupcakes together. A simple lesson in economics. Maybe the reason cupcakes are not so trendy anymore is people decided for that much money they wanted to have something they couldn't eat all in one sitting!
Pies Are The New Cupcake
Enter the lowly pie. You know, that thing your grandmother used to make with the crust on top? It was more than likely apple, maybe peach, or even blackberry, depending on the season. If your grandmother was a decent cook, the crust was nice and flaky, if she was a bad cook, you could throw it against the wall and break a hole in the wall. Or possibly break out a tooth.
Then there were the "icebox" pies, so named because you had to keep them in the freezer. They usually had a ripply whipped cream topping and about an inch of some kind of filling at the bottom, usually chocolate or lemon. Somehow, though, they usually ended up tasting alot like the waxy cardboard box they came in...not too impressive.
A Piece Of The Pie
Oprah, who evidently is the self-appointed Guru of Everything, mentioned pie on one of her shows, not the sweetie sweet variety, but the stick to your ribs chicken pie variety. We call it chicken pot pie here in the South. Not too long afterward, Rachel Ray mentioned pie being "the new cupcake" on her show. Then Martha Stewart's team piped up saying Martha has always been pro-pie and there you have it, before long a trend is born. Cupcake shoppes started taking a nose dive and diners serving pie start making a comeback. Even in my neck of the woods which is about three years behind New York and California, pie shoppes are becoming popular with the "upper crust" and everyone in between. The ever so trendy cupcake shoppe where my son got a lesson on how not to make a dollar stretch further has closed down.
The Comeback Of The Pie
Just like the cupcake, pie bakers couldn't leave well enough alone and expanded the pie repertoire way beyond the classic apple, cherry, pumpkin, and sweet potato. Now besides the basics, there are pies like Peppermint & White Chocolate Cream Pie, Mississippi Mud Ice Cream Pie, Mile High Caramel Apple Pie, and Pucker-Up Lemon Cranberry Pie. Seems the more words in the name, the tastier the pie!
However, why the resurgence in pies in particular?. Sure cupcakes had been around awhile as a bake sale classic before they got gorilla-sized and filled with a bunch of fancy ingredients, but why the ordinary pie that's been around since Medieval times? Maybe it's because the world has gotten way too complicated, and we're longing for something a little more basic, a little more simplistic. Maybe the thought of a pie brings back all sorts of sensory images: the sight of our grandmothers rolling dough, the warm, delicious smell of the kitchen as the pie was baking, the first taste of that still warm pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Maybe life has gotten so difficult that the thought of an ambition no loftier than making the perfect pie crust sounds about as much as we can handle.
I'll have mine with a glass of cold milk, please.