Holiday Pie-off: French, American, or store bought pie. Which will make the cut for your holiday table?

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With the holiday season in full swing, what kind of pie should be served at the dinner table? To expedite your decision making process, The Classic has put three varieties of the classic dessert, two homemade and one store-bought, to the test. 

Homemade Traditional Apple Pie 

The recipe that we followed from the website Tablespoon takes a little over an hour to make with easy-to-obtain ingredients, including pie dough, cinnamon, nutmeg, and granny smith apples. Granny smith apples result in a sour and tart taste, while honeycrisp results in an overall sweeter pie. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the typical spices used in traditional American-style pie, however, we found such flavoring less appetizing. The filling, made with flour and water, was also inconsistent in thickness and hindered the overall composition of this dessert.

Homemade Traditional French Apple Tart

We also made a French apple tart, based on a recipe from French cooking site Marmiton. This step away from the American variation uses puff pastry as its bottom crust, with no pie lid. Rather than the usual cornstarch and water based filling, this tart uses apple compote. The apples are placed along the base of the pie in a spiral pattern. Although this does not follow the conventional idea of a pie, it’s a suitable alternative. The absence of traditional American spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) in favor of the natural sugars present in the apples resulted in our shared enjoyment of the dish. We preferred this pie for its texture and simplicity. Each bite was not too sweet, and the crisp apples contrasted with the smooth compote. 

Store-Bought Apple Pie

The store-bought apple pie we tried was purchased from the supermarket Vitelio’s Marketplace in Kew Gardens. This pie is perfect for those who are rushing to get a last-minute dessert, are unable to bake, or do not have access to a kitchen. However, the taste of the store-bought pie does not compare to the quality and freshness of the homemade pie. It was far too sweet with a gelatinous-like filling and an underwhelming crust.

Overall, the French apple tart was the best of these pies. It brought forth a refreshing taste compared to the heavy filling of a traditional apple pie. Although the grocery store pie served as a good alternative, nothing beats the sweet taste of a freshly baked, homemade dessert during the holiday season.  

Art by Jessica Lin

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