Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hot or Cold Pie for Thanksgiving Dessert? Debate Not as Easy as Pie

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hot or Cold Pie for Thanksgiving Dessert? Debate Not as Easy as Pie

Article excerpt

Debate over Thanksgiving dessert not as easy as pie


TORONTO - Some insist on their pie served cold while others swear warming the sweet confection is the way to go. And should it be topped with whipped cream, ice cream or cheese, or left gloriously unadorned so the filling and pastry shine?

With pie set to be plated at many Thanksgiving celebrations this weekend, The Canadian Press got some top chefs and bakers to weigh in.

It's a personal preference, says pastry guru Anna Olson, who notes the debate -- like whether butter tarts should contain raisins or nuts -- can provoke "quite a heated conversation."

And it depends on the pie.

"Apple pie, I find you have to let apple pie cool completely and rewarm it if you want to serve it warm. I like apple pie warm, but if you cut into an apple pie fresh from the oven those juices are going to run everywhere. So let it cool, the juices reabsorb and when you rewarm them they don't run out again because the apple's cooked."

But she likes pumpkin pie ice cold. "In my mind, it's a custard, like a creme brulee. You add cream, sugar and eggs to it." Ditto for cream pies like chocolate, coconut or banana or lemon meringue.

Butter tarts and pecan pie, on the other hand, are best at room temperature, she says.

"They're too fragile when they're warm. The pastry shell with that drippy filling, it just collapses on itself if it's warm from the oven. And cold, it just becomes too gummy and not palatable," says Olson, whose new cookbook is "Bake with Anna Olson."

Chef Michael Smith prefers his favourite old-fashioned apple pie cold because it holds together and is easier to cut.

"To me, apple pie is best at breakfast the next day. That to me is the all-time best breakfast," Smith says.

"My birthday is coming up soon. My family knows don't make a cake for Michael. Make him an apple pie for breakfast. Now we're talking."

The P.E.I.-based Smith says excellent cinnamon makes all the difference. His go-to choice is Vietnamese and warns shoppers "don't assume that the cinnamon at the supermarket is excellent cinnamon."

"If you're obsessive about pies, you'll want to do something special. Go online and order real cinnamon from an incredible source," he suggests.

Smith isn't the only one who loves cold pie for breakfast.

Karlynn Johnston's pumpkin pie recipe yields two so there's enough for leftovers. Her husband Mike likes to eat a slice cold with his hands like pizza, with a cup of coffee.

"If I didn't make enough for breakfast the next day my husband would be so sad," says the author of the new cookbook "Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky."

Johnston says holiday bakers shouldn't worry too much about esthetics.

"Nobody cares if your crust is crooked or a little bit more browned in one place," says the Edmonton-based author. "There's nothing like a homemade pie. …

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