Savor the flavor — it's time for some pie

Pie, they say, is the new cupcake.

It had to happen sooner or later. The cupcake craze went too far. Exhibit A? A turkey-cranberry cupcake — with gravy-spiked batter.

Of course, such cupcake foolishness didn't happen overnight. But once the genre tread into the savory side of baking, many a cook could be heard uttering, "Now that's just wrong!"

First came Brooklyn baker Keavy Landreth's maple-bacon cupcake: a tender maple-cinnamon cake, topped with a puff of vanilla frosting and garnished with a thick chunk of — bacon. Would it help to know it was Vermont's Tamarack Hollow Farms bacon?

Didn't think so.

Well, anyway, those bacon-garnished creations opened the door for macaroni-and-cheese cupcakes, meatloaf cupcakes and lasagna cupcakes. A far cry from double chocolate with sugar sprinkles, I must say. So with such silliness overtaking the cupcake trend, going from food hottie to food naughty was only a matter of time.

Meanwhile, over on the sidelines, just biding its time was pie. Some say pie could have jumped in during the ice-cream frenzy. But there it stayed, below the radar, even as our lovefest for macaroons faded.

But now, it seems, pie is big — or little. Or encased completely in dough and hand-held. That's how flexible the idea of putting edible things in pastry is, which is why so many cuisines have celebrated the concept.

With this column, for example, I've got the empanada, which has Spanish and Portuguese roots, an American potpie, plus a good, old-fashioned, vegetable pie — with a twist. Not a tortured twist; just a little variation in common ingredients to add depth of flavor.

As for fruit fillings, hang on. Summer's on the horizon, and the pie trend is barely heating up. For now, with winter still rattling our windowpanes, let's stick with rich and savory shall we?

Jan Roberts-Dominguez is a Corvallis food writer, cookbook author and artist. Readers can contact her by e-mail at or obtain additional recipes and food tips on her blog at

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