3 party pies you can eat with your hands – The Denver Post


By Melissa Clark, The New York Times

A golden-domed, syrupy-centered fruit pie may be the ideal dessert to serve at a summer gathering. But for eating out of hand, say, at a Labor Day cookout or picnic, a pie bar is superior.

Pies are a pleasure to eat but can be awkward to serve, especially when their insides are a little runny with fruit (which is exactly how I like them). You’ll need a pie server or a large spoon to transport the dripping slices, plates to put them on, and forks to eat it all with. And, to feed more than a handful of guests, at least two or three pies are required.

Pie bars offer most of the same delights as pie but make your life a lot easier. You can prepare them entirely in advance (even days ahead), then slice and plop them on a platter like cookies. Guests can grab one and nibble it standing up, pie bar in one hand, refreshing summer beverage in the other. One recipe serves a crowd.

Think of it this way: A pie bar is to a pie as a burger is to a big beefy steak. Each has its best time and place to be enjoyed.

Any pie can become a pie bar with a few tweaks. The biggest concern is the crust. For a pie bar, the crust needs to be firm enough to hold together, even when topped with loads of ripe and juicy fruit.

I like a shortbread crust, which is sturdy yet buttery, and extremely easy to make, especially if you’re using a food processor. (You can also use your fingers (or a fork) to pinch the butter into the flour mixture.) Another excellent choice is a graham cracker (or gingersnap) crust, which works particularly well with creamy fillings.


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