Is pie the next cupcake?
When I was young, my family and I traveled across Montana on a road trip. I was in heaven—and it wasn’t because of the thrilling city of Billings or the state’s diverse flora and fauna. Surprisingly, it was Montana’s culinary landscape. In light of an upcoming pie contest, restaurants across the state were serving all kinds of the classic American dessert—from apple to blueberry, pecan to chocolate, and everything in between.
However, according to an article in the LA Times, this little slice of Montana heaven may become a widespread reality. Foodies across America have predicted that, soon enough, the mini-pie will replace the cupcake.
According to the NDP Group, Americans bought 12 million more slices of pie in 2010 than they did in 2009—not to mention that cupcake sales were down 18 percent. As a result, pies have been streaming into restaurants and bakeries. Many even offer mini-pies, which are about the same size as a cupcake.
To further investigate the trend, I traveled to the famous Magnolia Bakery to answer the question: Can mini-pies actually replace the cupcake?
The answer, at least for now, is no. The mini-pies at Magnolia were much more messy and fussy than cupcakes. They required forks and were largely liquid, while the cupcake is perfect because you can eat it with your hands.
The pie is wonderful for its hominess. It reminds us of childhood, comfort food classics, down-home Americana. The idea of miniaturizing the dessert makes it lose all comforting qualities. Mini-pies aren’t those latticed, delicious, giant delicacies I had in Montana, by a long shot. And so, as I difficultly worked through the mini-blueberry pie, all I really thought about were those lemon cupcakes with the meringue frosting.
Thus, while Williams Sonoma sells out of pocket pie tins, and foodies across America predict the next big (or, in this case, little) thing, I’ll be sticking to cupcakes. Or at least to real pie.
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