Don't forget the pie—an American classic with endless possibilities.
Pies are piping hot, with trend predictors calling them out as one of the biggest movers on the trend scale. The new cupcake! The new whoopee pie! Our take? They've always been hot. Pies are classic American comfort food, moving in and out of season and occasion with grace. Rhubarb pie heralds spring. Pumpkin pie cues the holidays. And chocolate pie? Or banana cream pie? They trumpet all that is good and right in the world.
Our chefs suggest that your pie offerings—like any other dishes in today's culinary landscape—need to keep pace with today's diner. "From appetizer to dessert, diners are demanding new, interesting, exciting flavor combinations," says Ryan Baxter, senior executive research and development chef at Kraft Foodservice. "That's how our team approaches recipe development—menu distinction, ease of execution and dishes that eat well."
Behind the Recipes
Cherry Cheesecake Pie
Other profiles—switch out cherry filling for apple-pie filling or blueberry filling
For diners vacillating between pie and cheesecake—give them both! This cheesecake pie brings the wonderful pairing of cherry and almond together in a delicious layered profile. Chef Mitchell tops a graham-cracker crust with almond cream, then adds a creamy, rich layer of cheesecake batter made with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, then dotted and swirled with cherry-pie filling. This dessert scores points through a familiar, popular profile, but presented in a memorable, unique way.
Banana Cream Tartlets with Peanut Butter Cookie Pieces
Garnishing tip—cut the bananas on the bias, so you have longer slices to lie over the top of the tarts
"Peanut butter and bananas are a classic comfort-food flavor combination," says Chef Mitchell. These mini banana cream pies offer a fun, nostalgic twist. Prepared Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling adds a lush texture. Caramelized banana finishes these beautiful tartlets.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cheesecake Pie
Other profile—switch out pineapple with apple, peach, apricot or pear
Everyone loves the caramelized gooeyness that pineapple upside-down cakes deliver. This one adds the creamy richness of cheesecake underneath, adding 'wow' factor and that all-important menu distinction.
Banana Cream "Pie" with Vanilla Cookie Pieces
Other profile—use chocolate cookie instead of vanilla cookie for chocolate banana cream pie
This mini dessert offers a fun take on the classic banana cream pie. It can be made ahead and is ready to go for service. Again, taking a fun approach to pie crusts, Chef Mitchell chops a vanilla cookie and places the pieces on the bottom of the glass. She tops that with prepared Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling, then layers in sliced banana and more pudding. She garnishes it with a quartered cookie piece.
Fluffy White Chocolate Pie
Other profile—make into individual pies or tarts, breaking the white-chocolate shards into smaller pieces
This pie breaks the mold with a fun profile and a sophisticated white-chocolate/vanilla-cream filling. An easy-to-make pie crust stands out with crushed chocolate chip cookies. The velvety filling sees Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling and white chocolate. Prepared Dream Whip topping billows over the filling. "Your diners will remember the presentation, and it's so easy to do," says Chef Mitchell. Shards of white chocolate studded with chocolate-chip cookie pieces jut out from the cream-pie cloud, adding drama and texture to the plate.
Peaches & Cream Hand Pie
Other profile—substitute fresh strawberries for the peaches and use fresh basil in place of thyme
Pie's fun, portable answer to the mini dessert trend? Hand pies. We're seeing them on food trucks, in bakeries and at independents across the country. Our version sees a moon-shaped pie filled with fresh peaches, fresh thyme, lemon zest, sugar and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. A fun caramel dipping sauce finishes the profile.
Move Over Happy Hour…It's Pie Hour!
Manhattan's Hill Country Chicken is known for its fried chicken and down-home comfort food, including its pies. Taking advantage of the happy-hour philosophy and in an effort to increase traffic during a typically quiet time in all-day restaurants, the restaurant offers a pie happy hour every day from 4 to 6 p.m. From Bourbon Pecan and Lemon Meringue to Double Cherry and Whisky Buttermilk, diners can order by the slice ($5) or 3-inch pie cup ($3). Each comes with a free cup of coffee and second helpings at half price.
Learn more at http://www.hillcountrychicken.com/