Petsi Pies

Photo by Bryan Ennis

Photo by Bryan Ennis

Petsi Pies is the only bakery in the Boston area dedicated to pies, so it’s a natural first stop for a pie lover.  I’ve been sampling pies here for nine years, and it’s a significant stop on my pie journey: an underwhelming blueberry slice at Petsi Pies in 2008 launched my eternal search and personal challenge for better pie.

Today, I tried six slices at Petsi’s Putnam Avenue cafe. The overall takeaway is that Petsi Pies doesn’t seem to care about their crust.  Petsi’s crusts don’t offer anything more to their pies than a slab of crumbly cardboard would.  They aren't flaky or tender, they aren’t a little salty, and they certainly aren’t buttery.  In my world, this means Petsi Pies is off the list.  The crust is essential and, if it’s not right, there’s no use wasting premium dollars for a less than premium pie.  That said, there were a few winners in the fillings category, and Petsi’s is a definitive step up from a grocery store pie.  The tasting notes below rank from best to worst.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan
Bitter, booze, and sweet achieve perfection in this pie.  Though the chocolate filling is more grainy than creamy, the flavors are just right, and the crunchy pecans and chocolate drizzle on top provide textural balance.

Browned Butter Pecan
Golden and caramelly, the filling below a crust of perfectly crunchy soft pecans truly satisfies.  It is sweet, but not cloying.  The whole slice has a glossy glow you can’t resist.

Cherry Crumb
If you like sour and tangy, this is the pie for you. Petsi’s cherry pie stands apart from others in that the cherries have a fresher texture and taste (but not appearance), and the filling lacks that goopy, sugary glop found in most cherry pies.  Not for everyone, but I liked it.

Salted Caramel Apple
The bit of salt in this pie distinguishes it, giving the otherwise bland filling a little pop.

Classic Apple
Despite the fresh apple taste, this double-crust pie is uninteresting.  No distinguishable spices provide flavor, and the usual disappointing crust is doubly so.

Blueberry
This is the first slice I had years ago and, sad to say, it has not improved.  The berries lack flavor – they are neither fresh, nor tart, nor sweet.