April 20, 2011

Fruitful Endeavours

Life Overtaking Law

Last week we blogged on our favourite pie crust. This week and next week, we blog on our favourite fruit pie filling. Two weeks on pie filling? Goodness gracious, why? WHY?

Our firm’s first debate on fillings dawned after our eating six pies with a mix of berries and rhubarb: was rhubarb a fruit that made pies eligible for voting, or was it a disqualifying vegetable? We researched the issue on the all-knowing internet. Rhubarb, we discovered, has a mixed identity. Sunset’s New Western Garden Book describes rhubarb as an “uncommon vegetable,” while the Joy of Cooking states that only by the wildest stretch of the imagination can rhubarb be included in the fruit chapter. But in 1947, a New York court decided that since it was used as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties (CJ Towers and Sons v. United States, 19 Cust. Ct. 12).

Given the mixed results, we decided to be courageous and conduct two votes, one on mixed rhubarb-and-berry pies, and one on “pure” fruit pies.

Our vote this week on the best rhubarb-and-fruit pie filling is the strawberry rhubarb pie by Tartine Bakery. We loved the full chunky fruit and rhubarb filling, which had a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. In close second place is a raspberry rhubarb pie made by Aphrodite’s Cafe. We also loved the chunky fruit and rhubarb filling, and liked the fact the fruit was organic. The filling was more tart than we preferred, however, and it had significantly more seeds, resulting in the second place finish. Rounding out the vote in third place was Uprising Bakery‘s raspberry rhubarb pie. This pie lost some points with our tasters due to its pureed filling, which did not give the same satisfaction as the chunkier rival entries. However, there was strong support for the sweeter taste of the filling, and the absence of seeds, which makes this pie a solid contender.

Unfortunately, our pies from Savary Island were pure fruit pies that we exiled from this vote. But next week, we move on to the pure fruit pies, featuring the ever-popular apple! Stay tuned.