When it comes to fast food pies, fried is better than not-fried a full 100% of the time. Consider this: People still complain that McDonald’s switched its pies from fried to baked, a move that was made in 1992. The taste of a fried handpie is so good that it’s almost impossible to forget, even 27 years later.
What I tend to forget is that other fast food chains also offer pies, and many of those chains still make theirs the right (read: fried) way. After having a serviceable baked pumpkin pie at McDonald’s, I was informed that Popeyes had also added a pumpkin pie to their own menu—one that was filled with pumpkin and cream cheese frosting, deep fried, and tossed in cinnamon sugar. The amount of time between me learning of this pie and me eating the pie was less than 15 minutes, because pie is always at the top of my priorities list.
Popeyes pumpkin pie is spectacular. Truthfully, it’s hard to mess up a mass-produced pumpkin pie, because the fillings for both store-bought and homemade are all, for the most part, the same: canned pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and a bit of spice. On its own, pumpkin can often taste a bit earthy, which is why tanginess of cream cheese is often used to compliment it in cakes, and why pumpkin cheesecake is in truth far more delicious than pumpkin pie. It’s a brilliant addition to this humble fast food pie, which was already going to receive high marks thanks to its crispy, buttery-tasting fried shell. It made an audible crack when I bit into a freshly fried one; the ones I had brought home to eat later retained that crunch, and did not disappoint when they had cooled to room temperature. Its filling retains the pumpkin’s earthiness, not veering into overly saccharine territory. It’s the type of pie you’ll want to buy two of, because you just know that you’ll be craving one late at night, long after you’ve taken your pants off for the day.
Popeyes hasn’t exactly reinvented the wheel here, but they made sure their seasonal pie offering was the very best version of itself. I hope this little pie is proud.