after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

best pie in the world

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t says:  Imagine this.  You’re walking down Walnut.  Its getting dark.  Alluvasudden, a black, tinted-out limo pulls up next to you, matching the speed of your pace.  The window rolls down and a mysterious sun-glassed passenger asks in a raspy, smoker’s voice: “where’s the best pie?”  What would you say?

Now I’m sure there are great pies in Philly (I hear Percy Street makes ’em pretty good), but if a mysterious guy in a limo is involved, I’m not gonna screw around with the unknown.  I need a sure thing, as the last thing I want to do is piss off a scary guy in a limo … but that’s just me.  So I’d direct this guy to the best pies I’ve ever had: Penza’s Pies (at the Red Barn) in NJ.

Yea, this place is in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

I’m going to post the pix of what it looks like to go there, because it’s not like it’s in a city or anything.  It’s kind of like a farm stand on the side of the road:

driving down a NJ road

they don't call it "red barn" for nothing ...

But, go into that barn and you’ll see a pretty small area with lots of pies.  It seems like there are quite a lot in the picture below, but this one shot has pretty much all the pies they have on hand (unless they’re hiding some in the back).

pies pies pies

As you can see, the ingredients that are on top of the pie identifies the kind of pie they have.  In the past, we’ve had their pumpkin pies (and pumpkin ricotta pies) which are fabulous.  g’s fave might be the “multi-fruit pie” which has basically every berry that’s in season.  We’ve done apple-blueberry, strawberry, plain apple.  All fabulous.  My personal favorite is the one I bought most recently (and the inspiration for this post):

apple cranberry with a twist of orange ... i'm surprised i even made it home with the pie intact

our pie (enlarged to show texture)

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a side-shot of the pie when sliced, so I’ll just have to let you imagine what it looks like. I guess I’ll have to leave some of it to your imagination.  And the taste and textures are always perfect.

The drawbacks of Penza’s are as follows:
1)  Limited availability.  Especially during the holidays, it’s wise to call them to see what they have in stock
2)  Expense.  For a pie, they charge $20.  But it’s not a big pie.  I’d say that a single pie will give 8 “normal” slices (they’re pretty tall, but length and width per slice will look unimpressive).  However, realistically, because the pie is so damn good, I’d be inclined to say that it’s better to cut the pie into 6 slices and really give people a stomach-filling serving.
3)  It never tastes as good the second day as it does the first.  That crumb topping slowly absorbs the moisture from the pie, so it’s really the best on day 1.  Fortunately, the pie never lasts much further than day 2 when I’m around.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  You probably think I’m crazy.  You probably think that you’ll never go that far into NJ for just a pie.  You probably think that this was a wasted post.  Why must I taunt you?!  I don’t know.  But for those who know us, if they fork up the cost of the pie and give me a slice, I’ll be happy to pick one up the next time I’m in NJ.  As for that dude in the limo … well … he’ll just have to ride his limo about an hour or so … but trust me, he’ll be happy!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

8 February 2012 at 10:54pm

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