Pie is eternal. Food trends come and food trends go, but when trends are slow, foodwriters always come back to pie. And no one can argue. Doesn't mean they have to eat it, "Oh, just a small slice, please!"
Lately, our son Travis has been central to our pie fascination. Of course, when he lived in Brooklyn, pie meant pizza. Visits to New York always involved the pilgrimage to di Fara's out at the end of the city for a slice of the 'round pie' and an order of the 'square.' The former plain cheese and the latter Italian sausage and mushroom.
Now that Trav's moved to Boerne, the pilgrimage is to the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. If the drive is timed right, you can make it in time for pie happy hour, then get one to go! So when he drives up, he shows up with pie. And when we drive down, we show up with pie. And not only that, you have to drive down 281 which is a far superior drive than the dreaded I-35.
The pies are delicious. The problem is the pairing. The problem first presented itself when R.J Shonuff's delicious pralines demanded to be paired with rye whiskey. (See my blog)
Susan and I went down at spring break and picked up a lemon meringue pie. The obvious pairing is lemoncello, which my sister makes and gives at Christmas. She extracts the flavor from Meyer Lemons with 100 proof vodka and Everclear and cuts it 1:1 with simple syrup. Delicious, but with a kick! Poured straight from the freezer, the viscosity dissolves the rich pie into the longest finish imaginable. The next night Travis paired it with a Tequila Daisy. (Here's a recipe!) The edge of the tequila and the lightness of the soda sliced through the pie and rendered it naked on the palate. You could skip the Grand Marnier in the recipe and float the lemoncello and be very glad that you did!
Travis drove up last weekend for a wedding and brought a banana cream pie. The pie was phenomenal, delicious and somehow lightness pervaded the whipped cream and the custard. The lingering nutty buttery crispness of the crust carried through the long finish. Pairing? Old rum of course. But lighter rums, not the dark scrapings of molasses barrels. Plantation Old Reserve 1990 the first night, Pyrat 'Pistol' the second. Both were superb. As the rum is rolled around on the back of the tongue, it picks up all the little bits of pie clinging to the inside of the mouth - just like deglazing a pan - and the resulting 'sauce' is a glorious thing.
Susan's favorite pie is coconut cream. I've just never been a coconut guy, but with the right rum....