Here at the Fort Smith Eats secret underground headquarters, we’re what you might call evil supergeniuses. Actually, we were going to say, “we’re what you might call pie fans,” but that a) sounded like something electronic used to cool pies (hmmm…where is that Patent Office number?) and b) really, really wanted to be replaced with “evil supergeniuses.” Sometimes you can just tell.
But we’ll leave our plans for world domination to another blog post. Here, our immediate focus is pie. Comparing and contrasting pies seemed like a brilliant idea because it meant, duh, we got a “reason” to eat pies (the sacrifices we make for you, loyal Fort Smith Eats readers!).
1. The pies must be commercially available in the Fort Smith area. Don’t care how good your Aunt Lila’s strawberry-rhubarb is—if we can’t go buy it in Fort Smith, it doesn’t qualify for a Pie-Off.
2. The pies do not have to be from the same restaurant.
3. The pies do not have to be the same kind of pie. Why not? Just ‘cause. We’re the pie-eating evil supergeniuses with the blog, and we like variety.
4. There shall be no more than two pies in a Pie-Off.
5. In the end, there can be only one. No Highlander-style beheadings required.
First up to bat are two slices from what should be the quintessential pie pros: locally owned diners. Let’s meet the contestants:
Coconut Cream Pie, from Dodson Diner
Sweet Potato Pie, from Lucy’s Diner
Hungry yet? You should be. Both of our first contestants bring it.
Dodson Diner’s Coconut Cream Pie:
The server at Dodson Diner assures us every occasion that, “Everythang’s homemade, hon” including the pies. We believe it. This slice ‘o yummy didn’t come from no tinfoil pie plate at Wal-Mart. If that whipped cream is actually Cool Whip, then we need to buy stock in Cool Whip pronto, because they’ve made it taste a whole hella lot better than we remember. As for the coconut cream filling, it was pale and smooth, cool and sweet without being cloying, little bits of coconut in it here and there. The sort of bite where the coconut kick is all in the happy aftertaste. Nice.
The crust was fine. We’re a little skeptical that it’s a homemade crust, but it could be. Seemed shortening-based, rather than butter-based. Wasn’t tremendously flavorful on its own, but still good in a pie-crusty-kind-of way. Did its job. The flakes of toasted coconut on top were just right.
The slice was generous, almost too big. Would have been great with coffee.
Lucy’s Diner’s Sweet Potato Pie:
First of all, bonus points for offering Sweet Potato Pie in the first place. Never have understood why it’s not more commonly offered—isn’t this the South? You can tell from the above picture how excited we were about trying it, since we didn’t even stop to snap a pic before digging in.
So, how was it? Good. Like any good Sweet Potato Pie should, it tasted like fall. More impressive, it still tasted like sweet potatoes rather than like pumpkin. Texture was smooth, denser than pumpkin pie. Full of flavor and spice. In fact, perhaps just a smidge too full of spice. Not that we didn’t scarf it down and lick our lips wishing for more. But sweet potato doesn’t need too much extra help in the flavor department. A tad less sugar and spice would still have left everything nice.
The crust we’re 93.4% sure isn’t homemade. If it is, those are some detail-oriented, crust-crimping perfectionists in the Lucy’s kitchen. It’s not bad, exactly. You just don’t necessarily feel compelled to eat the leftover crust once the pie filling part is gone. And if you’re a crust-loving evil supergenius like we are, you know that’s going to be a Pie-Off tie-breaker.
Both worth ordering, but the advantage goes to Dodson Diner Coconut Cream Pie, for being more convincingly homemade and setting the Fort Smith Eats bar for Coconut Cream. We have a winner!