Having written about our vote on the best rhubarb and fruit pie filling, we now turn our taste buds to our vote for the best pure fruit pie filling. Despite having separated out rhubarb from the pure fruit category, further narrowing down this category still left us trying to compare apples and oranges – or, in this case, apples and berries. As it turns out, there is a great diversity of opinion in our office about the relative merits of the two varieties, and support for each contender tended to reflect the personal preferences of the reviewer more so than the skills of the pie-makers – each of whom put forward a solid case for being considered amongst the elite of the Vancouver pie scene.
Our first and most strongly debated contender was The Bean Cafe‘s traditional apple pie. While we all loved the Bean’s cozy atmosphere, the pie itself received mixed reviews. Some tasters found this dish to be a simple but very satisfying take on an old classic, while others felt that the thin crust coupled with thickly packed apple filling did not compare well with some of the other entries. Although the pie received hearty approval from its fans and has a welcome place in our firm kitchen, it did not enjoy the same unanimous support as our final two contenders.
Our last pair of pies were very evenly matched. Savary Island‘s blueberry/raspberry pie was an instant hit, receiving top marks for its flaky crust and sweet and juicy filling. However, it ran into tough competition in the form of Tartine‘s field berry pie, which proved just as popular as the strawberry rhubarb pie reviewed last week. Although the contest could easily have gone either way, Tartine’s pie was narrowly voted in as champion, thanks to the bountiful amount of plump mixed berries that created an explosion of flavours at the same time as giving that satisfying feeling of sinking your teeth slowly through complex layers of delicious fruit filling.
Honourable mentions go to the market pies at Whole Foods and Meinhardt Foods, which are good and reliable pies when one can’t make it to a bakery.
Last Bites: We leave blogging about pies with two more bits. First, we did not have the chance to taste a fresh cherry pie given the season and we were not able to locate a mixed peach and blueberry pie (Lisa’s favourite) to taste. We shall scout for those two precious pies during the summer season and blog on the blissful experience of chomping into them. Second, we thank readers for sending us fabulous factoids about dough kneading, French rolling pins, how to choose cherries and the best way to pit them for a pie, the best pie ice-cream in Vancouver, how the apple get into an apple dumpling, and the glories of the lattice top crust. It has been a slice…bon appétit!