259 14th St
The Malibu Diner is well appointed for Christmas. There's a tree, holiday music, and decorations hang from the ceiling: snowflakes, peppermint candy, and ornaments. It's festive!
The water was very, very good. The coffee was acceptable. Okay, that's it for the make nice. The Malibu Diner pie was clearly refrigerator damaged. Would it be too much to ask that the exposed edge of the pie be shaved off? The pie was over-microwaved and served too hot. There was concern of scalding the tongue. And the microwaving further affected the exposed edge of the pie. The word "clot" came to mind. Our friend, a physician, had these comments: "The freezer-edge was like a sticky, rubbery blood clot. The ratio of goo to cherry was way too high, and the goo was flavorless. Even the cherries had more like the ghost of cherry flavor than actual cherry flavor, although they were the best part of the pie."
It is a mystery what the goal of the diner pie crust is. These crusts clearly do not even aspire to flakiness. Even Hostess pie crusts seem to be tipping their hat to flakiness. This crust was soggy, and something... we can't even find a word to describe the texture of these crusts. Is it more like bread?
Come on, New Jersey. This pie situation is outrageous. We have yet to taste a single pie we would be happy to try again. Isn't cherry pie part of Americana? Well... turns out the first cherry pie was made for Queen Elizabeth I. Could the hostility expressed through these cherry pies have something to do with a Revolution against our neighbors across the Pond? We know there's a whole world of cherry pies out there. But, for now, we'll continue to explore our little slice. It would appear that we may have to venture away from the venerable diner to find a slice of pie truly worth blogging about. So, stay tuned.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
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Jen and Ken,
I know where you can get a perfect cherry pie, with flakey crust, an enhancing hint of almond. To die for. It's a little dive in Seattle, WA, called, appropriately enough, Mom's House. Give it a try. I know you won't be disappointed!
That's cheating, Kate Forster! That would be a seattlepie (or maybe a washingtonpie), not a jerseypie!
Oh, yeah! We are definitely down for cherry pie the next time we are in Seattle. Still, we must persist in shaming New Jersey into improving its pie. It's a mission.
Oh, totally! I would even consider buying a plane ticket and flying to Seattle specifically to have a huge slice of Kate Forster's delicious-sounding seattlewashingtonpie.
But a quest is a quest, and y'all have a Jerseyquest going on.
I love the blog and the concept! Unfortunately I can't be of any help since I've never been out to eat at all in NJ much less for pie. Happy pie hunting! (Let's have brunch soon?) P.S. I don't know how to use my real name to post this comment : )
Okay, folks - I just tasted a cherry pie worth sampling at:
The Quaker Bonnet Eatery
175 Allen St.
Buffalo, NY 14201
Here's the deal: Mom and I were going there to buy Buffalo Chips (delicious macaroons covered with a dollop of rich dark chocolate) and noticed a cherry pie with temptingly flakey crust on the counter, just begging for us to buy a piece.
(Another note is that mom has a freezer filled with cherries, picked by her friend, and we're planning to make a cherry pie this afternoon, so we already had cherry pies on the brain).
Okay, on to the Quaker Bonnet pie:
The crust looks flakey, delicately browned, with a soft glaze on top. The cherries are just the right balance of sweet and sour. As for goo - these cherries are embedded in something like a gelatin, but the good news is that the gelatin preserves the shape of the pie and the integrity of the cherry flavor. Mom and I agree that we prefer a more "runny" looking cherry pie, but that, once we got over the appearance of the gelatin, this is a very good cherry pie. I dug right in as we drove back home (leading to LOTS of flakes of crust showering me and the inside of the car), and it was just as good cold as it was heated.
I'd like a higher cherry-to-gelatin ratio, but I don't detect an ounce of the Evil Corn Starch in this. The crust is toasted just enough to give it a nutty flavor, and, although this was not a particularly positive point when it was showering the car with crumbs, it is a flakey delight.
I blame myself and not the pie for the car situation.
The report on our pie:
This is good filling! Got it off the internet, and tweaked it a little bit. Just cherries, sugar/splenda, cinnamon and flour. I did not add the optional almond, because I don't particularly like it. Our filling does run a teensy bit, but it manages to hold its shape without being ridiculously gelatinous or slick. And the cherries are just the right combination of sweet and sour.
So, in my world, the winning thickener is clearly flour!
Well, my dear Mia, since you have introduced home-made filling to the discussion, I shall proceed to disclose Grandma Miller's pie crust. For a double-crust pie:
2 C white flour, not sifted
dash of salt
1 scant cup Crisco (she used lard), measured by the
water displacement method. Very cold water.
Cut Crisco into flour mixture in 2 part, using a real pastry cutter (not 2 knives, that's bogus). The first cut should look like small peas, the second like coarse corn meal.
Ice water--maybe 8-12 TBSP. Sprinkle over flour mixture about 2 tbsp at a time, and move aside with a fork. When the dough is just moist enough to clean the bowl, form it into a ball. Cut the ball in half and shape it into a round biscuit-shaped thing. Roll it on a floured board or pastry cloth. Maybe sprinkle a little flour on top. Depends on if it will otherwise stick to the rolling pin.
Important to handle it as little as possible after mixing in the Crisco. Very important. It's the secret, really.
Ahhh, thanks for the crust recipe! Mom always used to cook with Crisco, and I have to admit that it does make for a flakey crust. We'll try Grandma Miller's pie crust next time. Mmmmmmmmm!
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