In case you are new to Jersey Pie, The Tick Tock Diner in Clifton, NJ came out on top in our year-plus long search for the best cherry pie in New Jersey, which evolved into a search for a tolerable slice of cherry pie in a Northeast Jersey diner. It was our intention to keep Jersey Pie alive by continuing to search for good food and desserts in this neck of the woods, but our momentum slowed, and we haven't made any new entries in almost a year.
Turns out our efforts did not go unnoticed. Kara Yorio, staff writer at The Record, contacted us as she was preparing her article on the American resurgence of interest in pie, and she graciously included our thoughts in the recently published article Move over cupcakes: Pie is the hot new pastry trend. Reading her article we learned a few new things. Did you know of the American Pie Council? Are you aware that Sunday, January 23rd was National Pie Day? We admit we were tickled pink by our recent notoriety, and we decided to celebrate NPD at the Tick Tock, because their winning cherry pie was truly tasty.
That night, a crisp January night under a waning Ice Moon, the Tick Tock was quiet at 5:30 p.m. So quiet that we went unnoticed by our waitress for quite some time; time which we used to consider whether National Pie Day celebrated all pies, dessert pies, or possibly even only fruit pies. We later downloaded our 2011 National Pie Day poster from the American Pie Council. The poster pie is not a common man's pie, and we ventured a guess that it was a dessert pie, but not a fruit, and might be Chess. "Is that a raisin?" Jersey Pie queried. "It doesn’t matter if it’s Apple, Cherry or Chocolate Cream. It makes the time we spend together, just a little sweeter," the poster says. The savory pies, it seems, are excluded. Sorry chicken pot.
We ordered light, and let our waitress know we were saving room for dessert, which she took in stride. After soup and a sandwich, when we said we were interested in pie, her face lit up. "Cherry pie?" she asked with an in-the-know brightness all about her. We instantly looked at one another, wondering if (hoping?) we'd been made. "There was an article," she sounded delighted, "and people just kept coming in last night." She clarified that she had not been present, but had heard about it from another waitress. She speculated that maybe about "twenty five thousand people" had come in and that they had made their way through, literally, a dozen pies. "So it's fresh! They make it right downstairs." We could barely contain ourselves. The dessert trend was just announced yesterday, and today, it's already a new world. Never in all our travels had we received such caring and enthusiastic reassurance that the freshness of our pie experience matters.
This pie confirmed the Tick Tock Diner's winning status. Maybe they could turn up the temperature on their refrigerator a couple of degrees, maybe they could lighten up a little on the thickening agent in their matrix, maybe they could put a leeeeetle bit more salt in a leeeeetle bit flakier crust, but as diner pie goes, this is mighty fine pie, not too sweet, plenty of perky cherries, and truly fresh, with a satisfying crust. We asked our waitress which was her favorite pie, and she confessed that she had never tried any of them. She described herself as a chocolate mousse girl. But before we left she came by our table to share with us that she thought the cherry pie tasted good. She said that she had tried a piece that "they couldn't sell." We can only speculate on whether the pie was aesthetically impaired, cut too small, or perhaps had sat in the refrigerator too long. Whatever the case, Jersey Pie thanks the Tick Tock for making the distinction.
Now, we'd love to be able to say that Jersey Pie created or even predicted that pie was the next big thing in desserts, but we'd be setting ourselves up for a pie in the face. Still, as pie lovers, we are not going to miss an opportunity to leverage this overdue trend into some decent diner pie experiences in the state of New Jersey. So, Jersey diners: you have been served. Jersey Pie is back, rolling the Garden State's highways and byways to report on how this dessert trend plays out for the common man.