Saturday, November 8, 2008

Time for Pie!

Healthy Living seemed to have a great turnout at their Pie Tasting last night on Dorset Street in South Burlington. I'm definitely glad Shannon got word to me about it. Before I get you the rundown, here's a smattering of pictures of the event:

The entire place was filled, with a line out the door of the room the were serving the pie in. May I congratulate the entire staff of Healthy Living on a job well done. Eli, the General Manager, greeted people as they walked in, collecting info about where they heard of it. He was surprised when I handed him my card and said, 'One of my readers let me know.' So what did they have there? Well - they offered a couple different coffees, serving them with the standard cream or soy milk,, sugar and, best of all, Maple Syrup. In my opinion, the best way to sweeten coffee. Next there were some local ciders, Lake Champlain Chocolates' Hot Chocolate was freshly ladled into cups as people approached as they were stirring it up right there. Yum! Next I saw a great selection of Teas. I heard they had mulled cider, though I'm not sure if that was true. I may have missed it while I snapped my pics. They also had Cinnamon Ice Cream, though I missed the name of who it was from. Very tasty!

And then... then there were the pies!

In the foreground is the 'Perfect Pumpkin Pie', directly behind that is a slice of 'Pecan Pie' (it's partially hidden), to the left we have 'Classic Apple Pie' and then at the far left is 'Gluten-Free Blueberry Pie'.

I was quite impressed that they had two gluten-free pies available there (the other was an un-tasted Pumpkin Pie), and I believe at least one of the pies was entirely vegan, though it's likely a few of them were. A number of the pies represented promoted organic ingredients and, I believe, all of them were made of a considerable amount f local ingredients. Some were entirely locally organic! Best of all - they were all delicious.

So how did they taste? Here's the ranking from great to best. There wasn't a 'worst', which made it even more difficult to consider ranking them, but two did really stand out, so I decided I must. There were no losers in this bunch though, these are nearly the Olympic athletes of the pie world, battling it out in South Burlington.

The fourth position was held by the 'Perfect Pumpkin Pie' and there's really not a big reason for this. All I can say is - it was darn near perfect. The texture was spot on with none of the grainy or fibrous texture you can get from fresh made pie. That means they selected the right sized pumpkins for their pies. It's an important lesson I've learned - don't use carving pumpkins for pie. The taste, texture and fibrous nature of the right pumpkin is worth being choosy. Obviously someone was with this pie, it was velvety smooth, but with enough of a texture to know it was in fact pumpkin pie. If there's one thing I would have added, it would have been a touch more of the standard spices. That's it. However, that's also why this one hit fourth.

The third was the 'Classic Apple Pie'. Now, I love Apple Pie. In fact, behind Pumpkin Pie, it's my favorite to cook. The apples were perfect, not overdone to the point of being a melted pile of unrecognizable mushy applesauce. They also weren't too hard. The cinnamon and sugar were represented well and there were some other flavors that teased the pallet, perhaps lemon juice? Something Citrus perhaps. However, there was a bit of a crust issue. It was a good flaky crust, but amazingly while the apples were done well, the crust tasted like it was covered the entire time and never got the nice browned color. It tasted *almost* like it wasn't fully cooked at the thickest point. Because of that 'almost' is hit number three. Five minutes of baking was what made this fall from the next spot.

The Second was the no frills named 'Blueberry pie'. OK, this was nearly perfection. In fact, it was so good, I considered this for the top spot. The gluten-free crust did not distract or detract from the taste of the perfectly sized blueberries. Again, it's god to get the right size. By right size it means none of those gargantuan South American grown blueberries. Nope, you need those flavor packed slow grown northern berries to get the proper blueberry pie. This was more than a proper Blueberry pie, and kudos to West Meadow Farm Bakery for serving it warm. I really enjoyed this pie, and am enjoying just thinking about it. This one will most definitely be on my table soon. Soon, but not as soon as the next one!

Number one at this event was the modestly named 'Pecan Pie'. What?! Not 'Amazing Pecan Pie'? Not 'Kick You In The Pallet Pecan Pie'? Nope. It didn't need it. This was delicious. Make that DELICIOUS! The Pecans that were placed atop the pie weren't overdone. They were nice and crispy - crunchy. The crust was great, the filling was just an explosion of flavor with every bite. My mouth didn't tire from too many nuts arguing over who was next. They just complied with me and my desire to slowly savor them. When I was done this slice, I wanted to get more. I wanted an entire pie right then. But, after thinking about it, after considering it, I decided that it wasn't right for me of the pie. It would be too gluttonous. I decided I would visit this one again tonight. Yes, you heard me - the Pecan Pie and I will cozy up shortly. Well, no not the entire pie. That would do a disservice to the pie and to me as well. I will have only one slice. OK, maybe two - but I'll take a nice breather in between. This Pie is so deserving of the number one spot and may I say, "Well Done" to the bakers at Red Door Bakery in Marshfield, Vermont. I looked, but they don't have a website that I could find - so call them at (802) 426-3469, or just go to
Healthy Living and get one of your own. Or, better yet, pick up any one of these pies and come over to my place. I'll have spoons and delicious ice cream waiting.


Anonymous said...

The ice cream at the event was from Strafford Creamery in Strafford, VT. Cinnamon is the star. They also make a really good maple.

Dessert Dude said...

Thanks for the info!