Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pint-Sized Pies

I'm a sucker for good pie: I'd love to come home and find a fresh baked pie cooling on my windowsill... Who wouldn't? But I live in the real world (you know, the one where nobody bakes or cooks.) My choices are limited: Frozen pies? There's a few good ones out there (Mrs. Smith's.) Bakery pies? Too expensive. What about individual pies? You know... the kind that cost about a buck and a half, available in apple, cherry, lemon, etc. Now we're talking; but are they any good? We tried some of the heavy hitters (Hostess, Tastykake) and came up with the following...

7-Select Apple Snack Pie: Who saw this one coming? 7-Eleven tops Hostess in the Pint-Sized Pie Wars. Almost identical in looks and taste, 7-Select's entry costs $.50 less and packs fewer calories and carbs than Hostess or Little Debbie. Sounds like a winner to me.

Grade: B

7-Select Apple Snack Pie

Entenmann's Apple Pie: Smaller than the rest (3.5 oz.) Entenmann's pie ranks at the bottom of our list, thanks to its doughy exterior and minimal amount of apple filling. Hard to believe this is the same company that produces top notch Apple Puffs and Strudel. $1.69 doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

Grade: D

Entenmann's Apple Pie

Hostess Apple Fruit Pie: It's been seven years since Hostess ditched Fruit Pie the Magician; and it's probably no coincidence that the magic appears gone (taste-wise) as well. For one thing, they're noticeably flatter; and aside from good quality fruit filling, not the least bit delicious. 480 calories/42 grams of sugar never tasted so ordinary.

Grade: B-

Hostess Apple Fruit Pie

JJ's Bakery Apple Pie: Hard to find (we got ours at Brookville Market in Cleveland Park) and cheap to boot, this $.99 bargain ties 7-Select for top honors. JJ's makes six flavors (Brookville carries two... apple & lemon) and they have the best balance of cake and filling. They're also smart enough to recommend microwaving inside the provided box (with directions.) Genius!

Grade: B

JJ's Bakery Apple Pie

Little Debbie Cherry Pie: They've recently gone up in price ($.99 to $1.29) but Little Debbie offers four choices (including chocolate) worth checking out. Similarly sized to Hostess, these 4 oz. desserts pack 420 calories and 64 grams of carbs, yet have less fruit filling than the competition. Good in a pinch, but I'd rather pay a quarter more to get better taste elsewhere.

Grade: C+

Little Debbie Cherry Pie

Table Talk Pumpkin Pie: Table Talk makes 18 different pies, and "lucky" me... I got stuck with pumpkin. Don't get me wrong: I like pumpkin, but it's more savory than sweet (as evidenced by its relatively minuscule 12 grams of sugar.) Dynamite crust, but the creamy pumpkin proved an unwelcome addition to the mix. Best price ($1.19) so far; yet the only pie I couldn't/didn't finish.

Grade: D

Table Talk Pumpkin Pie

Tastykake Lemon Baked Pie: I had high hopes for this perennial favorite; but Tastykake's pie left me longing for days gone by. I looked up and down for French Apple (hard to find) yet had to settle for lemon: Big mistake. One bite, and the air literally went out on this under-filled pie. Even worse, the filling tasted more like curd... bitter with no zest. Fair price ($1.69) when filled properly.

Grade: C- (7-Eleven wins: Go figure.)

Tastykake Lemon Baked Pie