Move Over, Cupcake

Published on: March 17th, 2011

“If I had one trend—one trend—of the year that I could predict, that’s why it’s in the No. 1 position, this would be the trend for pie,” Andrew Freeman of Andrew Freeman & Co. said. “I think that we’re going to make room for pie shops in the next year.”

He was giving a webinar on food trends and, indeed, pies—both sweet and savory—made the No. 1 spot on his list, as well as the lists of other foodie gurus. Whether full size, bite size, hand held, baked or deep-fried, this all-American comfort food has started showing up everywhere, from the menus of fine restaurants to weddings and beyond. And much the way gourmet cupcake shops started popping up everywhere a few years ago, experts are predicting a similar surge in pie-oriented restaurants, to which we say, bring it on.

Kini Christie, who owns My Mom’s Pies (mmpies.com) in Niwot, is ready: She’s been scouting locations for a retail shop from which to sell her award-winning pies. And believe me when I say this is a woman who knows her pies.

“There’s a lot of pie that people make that is very fou-fou with the crushed cookie crust, and to me that’s a pastry,” Christie says. “To me, pie is when you have a flour crust and butter and fruit or cream. I like the old-fashioned kind.”

And those are the types of pies you’ll find on her menu: whether the filling is as classic as, yes, apple pie, or a little more unique, like green chile apple, or the sour cream walnut apple pie she makes for the Boulder Dinner Theater.

Of course, she’s not at all surprised pies are making a comeback—as if they ever really went away.

“I just think pie is really fascinating and how it affects people,” Christie says. “They just really touch people to the core and I think it’s because it is really old fashioned. It’s back to the way food used to be.”

Christie says when they sell pies at the farmer’s markets, people come up to them with pie stories: stories of people who made pies, of great pies they had, of strongly held pie beliefs.

“People are really attached to pie, they have really strong feelings about it.”

So, perhaps more so than other food trends of late—small plates, cured meats, food trucks, even cupcakes—pie is about getting back to our roots. It’s about remembering a simpler, happier time, when the best part of any gathering was when someone brought out the pies.

“Plus,” she says with a laugh, “I think it’s more nutritious than cake. It’s got real food in it. I’m obviously not selling a health food. It’s food for the soul. It’s happy food.”

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