There's a New Pie in Town: Fresh Market's Crusts Are Exceptional, and Pliable and Moist

Judging by the number of work trucks in the parking lot, House of Pies will keep its vow to reopen before Thanksgiving. I certainly hope so. My mom always made a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie for the holidays, but we threw tradition under the Metro when we discovered the Banana Cream Pie at HOP, creamy and custardy with the peculiarity of whole bananas inside.

But guests have other ideas, and somebody always wants the Thanksgiving touchstone of pumpkin pie. Dutifully, I'll make a butter crust, and the filling from the recipe on the Libby's Pumpkin Puree can.

This year we can concentrate on other dishes at our house, because we've discovered the bakery at Fresh Market. The pies have something I've never encountered from a mass-market pie -- edible crust. Many pies you buy in a supermarket have a dry, crumbly crust of hydrogenated shortening and flour, which can taste as though it's been stored in the attic since last Thanksgiving.

The crusts of Fresh Market pies are soft and pliable, and while they aren't as tasty as a homemade butter crust to pull off and eat (as one unidentified family member does at night), they blend very well with the fillings, and could be mistaken for homemade shortening crust. The Fillings Are Delicious, Too The pumpkin pie has a ginger flavor that is stronger than the cinnamon and nutmeg, and while it's not exceptionally better than the Libby's can pie, it is certainly a superb variation. For presentation, it slices up with clean, sharp edges, and the crust stays with the filling.

There are other flavors at Fresh Market, but so far I can speak only for the apple pie, with fresh apples -- not too tart and not too sweet -- and a light touch on the spices. Like the pumpkin pie, it sells for $7.99. I saw mixed berry, strawberry-rhubarb, cherry, and peach-praline among the day's picks, and they cost a few dollars more.

Of course, Fresh Market can't offer memories of late-night sessions of Galaga and the last time you smoked a cigarette in a restaurant, the way House of Pies did, but you can rely on the supermarket for an almost-as-good-as-homemade dessert for Thanksgiving

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