Pies I've Spied

A journey through the crust.

There’s lots of things I like and some of them I like even more than pies. But there is hands down nothing I love more than a root beer float. It’s a childhood thing: I remember slurping down root beer in the Philippines, where I spent the first six years of my life, and pining for it when my family moved to Australia. And no, sarsparilla is not the same. NOT THE SAME. And I remember drinking floats made of that other brown soft drink with my brother in the warm Queensland summers and delighting in their creamy/fizzy wondrousness. From the age of six, however, root beer floats were a special treat found only in rare places. And then, 25 years later, I came to the US and root beer floats came back to me.

It’s really hard for me to ever opt against ordering a root beer float over here and I keep a pretty steady stock of the ingredients for them in my fridge at home…until I decide it’s too much of a good thing and go cold turkey for a while. So imagine my reaction when I discovered New York’s Allison Kave over at First Prize Pies had developed a Root Beer Cream Pie of amazingness. My delight was almost violent; I needed to have it. I found an occasion that would give me an excuse to buy one and put my order in. The system worked perfectly, I negotiated with Allison what day to have it ready by and on that day stopped by the Essex Street Market to pick it up.

When it came to revealing the pie it met all expectations. A lovely, latte colored whipped cream topped it and dark Nilla wafers formed the crust. But the pie itself, well, maybe it was TOO highly anticipated. I also get confused by the American ‘custard’ which is more like a syrupy, eggy, sometimes lumpy layer that’s spread pretty thinly over the base. Anyway, this pie had one of those layers and so the punch of root beer taste I was hoping for was more like a limp thwack. The cream topping, though, was lovely; a slight root beer taste with an almost ginger/spice afterthought.

All in all, it certainly wasn’t a bad experience. I think I might have even loved the pie had I not expected it to taste like the one thing in the world I adore the most (food-wise, that is). First Prize Pies have all sorts of exciting flavors I still want to try. This, for instance. Or this one. Whoa, mama.

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