Yesterday’s discourse on the virtue of pie was a bit of a bait and switch, and for that I apologize. My original intent was to extol the virtue of several pies that—though they cannot compete in any realistic sense with the culinary perfection of a properly-prepared pumpkin pie—I enjoy a great deal. Unfortunately, I ran out of time.
The first hurdle faced when engaging in a serious discussion of pie is one of classification. While I touched on the distinction between dessert and non-dessert pies yesterday, the problem of classification is incredibly complex, even if we limit ourselves to only dessert pies.
At first blush, it seems a simple matter to separate pies into three categories: fruit, berry and custard. However, this immediately leads to questions as to how pumpkin pie is classified, as it is both a fruit and a custard pie. We have also entirely failed to take into account cream pies, such as those originating in Boston, but the introduction of a fourth category leads to even further confusion as the proper classification of the banana cream pie becomes an issue. Confusion abounds and we’ve yet to touch on the pseudo-pies, those whose crusts are filled with pudding or mousse.
Allowing for hybrid pies goes a long way toward making more precise classification possible (e.g. strawberry-rhubarb is both a berry and a fruit pieSort of.), but berry enthusiasts will undoubtedly claim the strawberry contributes more to the flavor, texture, and overall enjoyment of the pie. That anyone who would make such a claim is clearly batshit crazy is completely irrelevant to the discussion, but does paint a fairly accurate portrait of the average berry pie fanatic.
Unfortunately, even in the example above, there is room for argument. Rhubarb is not a fruit; it is only classified as such because of how it is eaten. Now before the vegetable contingent pipes up on the matter, let me say this: rhubarb isn’t a vegetable, either, so shut your pie holes. Rhubarb is an herb.
Let me repeat that: rhubarb is an herb. We haven’t even gotten to sweet potato pieRoot vegetables? Do we really need to go there? yet and already we’ve got to take herbs into consideration. It boggles the mind.
So far we’ve got fruit, berryYes, I realize that berries are technically fruits. But not all fruits are berries, so they’re different, okay? Let it go, will ya? This is hard enough without you nitpicking every damn thing I say., vegetable, herb, custard, cream, pudding and mousse.
And nut. Damn pecans.
Am I forgetting any?