April 12, 2011

Flaky or Crispy?

Life Overtaking Law

Deciding who makes the best pie in Vancouver has resulted in long philosophical and sometimes colourful discussions in our firm on what criterion applies, the weight to be applied to each criteria, how pie tasting is to be administered, and whose taste buds can be trusted given spring allergies and a particular person’s history of eating flaming hot sauce.  This is what happens when a bunch of legally trained people are asked to decide the best of anything!

So here we go, the pie-crusts vote first. We tasted pies with full tops (no lattice or topless pies), either mixed fruit (typically mixed berry or berry and rhubarb) or just apple, heated until the crust browned slightly, both natural and ala mode (milk ice-cream or soy ice cream), and all commercially produced by a bakery, cafe, or market (no home-made pies).

We are evenly split on whether a flaky pie crust makes a better pie than a crispy pie crust.  We all agree that a thick-bready or cookie-like crust does not complement a fruit filling. The pro-flaky pie eaters voted Tartin Bread & Pies number one and Savary Island Pie Company number two.

The Tartin pie crust was flaky enough to start falling apart just as it entered the mouth but hardy enough to survive a dollop of ice cream before ascending to the lips. Of course, with flakiness comes that delicious richness of the goodness of butter and sugar melting in your mouth. The one concern that arose was that the sugar sprinkled over the crust would make it too sweet but the tasters did not discern over sweetness.

The Savary Island pie browned beautifully, and we all agreed that it was the best looking pie we encountered. The crust was flaky but tasted a bit too thick, so did not balance out the fruit filing as well as the Tartin pie.

The crispy crust voters loved the pie from Uprisings Bakery (note we did not try any of the filo top pastry pies, opting for the traditional crust).  This pie was a surprise in many ways. The pies at Uprising are not vanity pies but hard-working, every-day Joe pies.  They are not as aesthetically pleasing because of their uniform look (a downside with all the market pies) but on the upside they were priced for austerity ($11) in comparison to the pies at Tartin ($25) and Savary Island ($25). The crust when browned was pleasingly crispy and held the fruit-filling and ice cream in place for easy eating. This is a good, organized, and efficient pie. The crust tasted crispy as you bit into it and then nice and smooth as you hit the butter. The tasters felt the sugar sprinkles on the crust were a too large for the pie but did not affect the taste of the pie.

Next week, we will write about the vote for best fruit pie filling. Organic or non-organic fruit? Fruit chunks, smooth fruit filling, crunchy berry seeds? Is Rhubarb even a fruit?