Over the past several weeks, pie has been repeatedly touted as the next big trend in desserts. Yes, it’s time for the cupcake to disappear within Dante’s Third Circle of Hell, but is pie, America’s iconic diner food, worthy of being the next big trend? No, and here’s why.
Has no one stopped to think that this is actually all one big scam, and everyone is singing the praises of pie only for the obvious reason that it’s holiday pie season? What better way to sell pies for Thanksgiving than to create a buzz about them? Even Tina Fey knows about the pie lobby.
Yes, New York City is home to several high-quality pie shops selling artisanal pies made with local ingredients (and, of course, anything local and artisanal equals a trend alert). But what’s so great about pie is that it’s a classic. It’s not cutesy or wildly inventive. So don’t ruin it by making trendy, gourmet versions of it.
Plus, do people even really love pie that much outside of autumn? When the website Jezebel ran its March Madness-style Pie vs. Cake tournament last spring, the winning pie wasn’t even a real pie, but a cheesecake. Jezebel tried to claim cheesecake as pie, but that’s a hard sell when you have “cake” in the name, no?
Besides the oft-cited macaron contender, Popsicles and Whoopie Pies have also both been championed as potential desserts to upset the reign of the cupcake, but the former is too seasonal of a product while the latter is too limited in terms of flavor varieties.
So, without further ado, a (semi-serious) list of better future dessert trends:
Doughnuts — Anything fried is an easy sell, plus doughnuts are traditionally eaten for Hanukkah, so why not rile up the doughnut lobby now? Plus New York will soon have a triple-threat of new doughnut shops (Dough, Zac Young’s still-unnamed venture, and the Doughnut Plant’s outpost in the Chelsea Hotel).
Hostess favorites, remade — The perfect blending of nostalgia and culinary innovation, re-imagined Hostess favorites like the Twinkie at Trois Pommes or the Yodels at the just-opened Lulu Cake Boutique are equal parts kitschy and delicious.
Trifle — It sounds vaguely like “truffle,” which helps on the trendy scale, plus it’s vaguely foreign and usually made with custard, fruit, cake, and cream, so how can you go wrong?
Ice cream cakes (or, more likely, mini ice cream cakes) — Ice cream cakes evoke preteen birthday parties, and what’s more fun than remembering the days of Slip ‘N Slide and Seven Minutes in Heaven? Right, nothing. Plus ice cream cakes still evoke a working-class sensibility, since no one loves low-class food gone upscale more than New Yorkers.
The “new” Four Loko — No matter that it will soon be stimulant-free. It will still be sweet like candy, brightly colored, and full of calories — and isn’t that the definition of a quality dessert?
And if none of those take hold, maybe the pie craze can at least turn into a pie-cake trend, à la the above-pictured Cherpumple. But never forget that even if it’s made up of three different pies, at the end of the day, it’s still a cake.