[Photographs: Todd Brock]
Fried pie and I go way back. Like most of us of a certain age, that love affair started at McDonald’s. And whether you were an apple fan or cherry lover, we all cried a bit when Ronald took those little beauties away, started baking them, and forced us all to grow up. Thank God somebody’s still looking out for our inner eight-year-olds.
Popeyes has long featured cinnamon apple pies and sweet potato pies on their dessert menu, but their new limited time offering puts the spotlight on the official state fruit of Louisiana, the strawberry. (Yeah. Who knew? See, kids, stay in school. Or… get a job eating and then writing about fast food.)
The new Strawberry n’ Cream Cheese Pie starts out with the same traditional dough as the chain’s other fried pies. Crisp and warm and golden brown, with all of those delicate little crust bubbles and craggy, flaky edges, it fit neatly into the palm of my hand just the way I remember.
Inside, though, there’s a rich and creamy surprise. Not content to just cram it full of fruit goo, Popeyes has layered its strawberry puree with real cream cheese. It’s the same technique they used last year when I test-drove a blackberries-and-cream model at a special event at their test kitchen.
But while I remember being suitably awed at that killer blackberry version, the strawberry left me a little underwhelmed. And thirsty. The ratio of a fruit-and-cream-cheese pie needs to be just right, as too much cream cheese can easily overpower, especially with a less assertive fruit. That’s what happened for me here. I found myself wanting a tad more strawberry goo and a touch less cream cheese.
Maybe it was just that one pie. Or two. ‘Cos I had two. ‘Cos they’re only a buck. And ‘cos I’m a fat pig.
A few too many grams of cream cheese is an awfully minor quibble, though. Fast food desserts are a tough sell overall, and I’m not sure this one warrants a special trip. But it’s Popeyes. C’mon. They tend to do just about everything right and super duper tasty, so as long as you’re there, the Strawberry n’ Cream Cheese Pie (available until March 31) is worth the one-dollar-add-on.
About the Author: Todd Brock lives the glamorous life of a stay-at-home freelance writer in the suburbs of Atlanta. Besides being paid to eat cheeseburgers for AHT, pizzas for Slice, and desserts for Sweets, he’s written and produced over 1,000 hours of television and penned Building Chicken Coops for Dummies. When he grows up, he wants to be either the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys or the drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish. Or both.