Quick service restaurants are changing the way Americans enjoy pie. Pieces of pie are being mashed into frozen desserts. Classic pie flavors are being served up on fritters and donuts. And don’t forget the all-important beverage sector where pie flavors can add comforting appeal for your bakery’s customers who are always looking for something both traditional and innovative.
Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop is celebrating the arrival of fall with the addition of the new Apple Pie Fritter, Apple Fritter Timbit and Hot Apple Cider Supreme to its lineup of harvest beverages and baked goods. Guest favorites like the Pumpkin Pie Iced Capp, Pumpkin Pie Latte and the Pumpkin Spice Muffin are also back by popular demand at US restaurants.
The new Apple Pie Fritter, available only at Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop restaurants, is made with real diced apple filling, glaze and crunchy graham topping. This fresh baked good is available for a limited time for $1.25. The Apple Fitter Timbits are also glazed, providing the same sweet apple pie taste in a bite-sized treat.
"We're excited to announce the return of the delicious pumpkin beverages and baked goods that our guests look forward to each fall," says Kate Jung, vice president of marketing for Tim Hortons. "With an expanded harvest menu, guests can also savor our new Apple Pie Fritter, Apple Fritter Timbit and Hot Apple Cider Supreme as they celebrate the season."
Shake Shack, the acclaimed gourmet burger joint, features signature specialties at its Atlanta location like a local flavor-only concrete called the Pecan Pie Oh My, made with vanilla custard and a slice of pecan pie from Atlanta bakery H&F Bread Co. A concrete is dense frozen custard ice cream blended at high speed with mix-ins.
Shake Shack opened its first Chicago location last year in the city’s River North section. As the chain does everywhere it goes, it immediately connected with retail bakeries with a name in their city to create “mash-up” frozen desserts that are becoming immediate hits with Shake Shack’s loyal following. One item on the Chicago menu is Da S’mores, made with pieces of Bang Bang Pie s’mores pie. A single concrete at Shake Shack sells for $4.30, a double for $6.55.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. plans to continue using real pumpkin in its popular Spiced Pumpkin Pie Shake. Made with real pumpkin since its inception in 2013, this seasonal favorite is made with Libby's pumpkin pie filling, vanilla soft serve, nutmeg and graham cracker crumbs. The product was launched Aug. 24.
"We're excited to announce we're just going to continue what we've always done and serve delicious, Spiced Pumpkin Pie Shakes made with real pumpkin," says Lee Dolan, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Red Robin. "At Red Robin, we pride ourselves on offering fresh, quality ingredients and that promise extends beyond real pumpkin to include fresh, never frozen, all-natural domestic beef and locally sourced produce.”
Pie Five Pizza Co. recently introduced its own triple threat called the Monster Brownie Pie. The dessert is made with Oreo cookies between a chocolate brownie and chocolate chip cookie layers—all topped with an icing drizzle.
"The Monster Brownie isn't for the faint of palate and can easily cause guests to consider starting with dessert first," says Patty Scheibmeir, vice president of R&D and product innovation for Pie Five Pizza Co., which offers other sweet treats including brownies and cookie pies.
For bakers and pastry chefs who want to add innovative pies to their menus, educational resources such as The French Pastry School offer a world of possibilities for both sweet and savory ideas.
World Pastry Champion and Chef Patrice Caillot continues to be on the cutting edge of pastry innovation as a chef instructor at The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago. Formerly a resident of Las Vegas, Caillot owned and operated Ice Dessert Boutique with his wife since 2006. Caillot has extensive experience in all things sweet and baked and teaches a variety of subjects at The French Pastry School, including pies. In a recent course, he led a three-day workshop titled, “The Sweet, the Salty, and the Flaky: Sweet and Savory Pies.”
“Your reputation as a pastry chef starts with quality,” Caillot says. “When you use the best version of each ingredient available and learn to manipulate them with correct technique, you can make even the most basic recipes shine.”
His workshop featured recipes including Ham and Cheese Lorraine Quiches, Oven Roasted Vegetable Quiches, Old Fashion Dark Lager Beer Quiches, Alsatian Tarte Flambée, Caramelized Onion Tarts, Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Cream Pies, and Old-School Parisian Flan (in vanilla, apricot and plum).
Bakers can expand their pastry skills by taking a food enthusiast course, such as the upcoming “Holiday Baking” class Dec. 8-10 at The French Pastry School. To learn more, visit frenchpastryschool.com.