Sunday, September 28, 2008

MISC: The Elusive Search for McDonald's Apple Pies

Things have changed at McDonald's. I love their french fries still. But the OTHER reason I used to love Mickey Dee's, was for their apple pies. They USED to serve apple-y gooeyness inside of a tempura-like pillow. The shell dough had sugar and cinnamon, matching the apple-filled interior.

And the pies were hotter than hell.

I guess the 'hot coffee in the lap' fiasco led to a change in McDonald's pie formations. The shell was replaced by a doughy crust that had air holes throughout it. The result was a warm, pleasant-tasting concoction that ran virtually no risk of scalding parts of your tongue.

Even before that calamitous decision (Thanks, you litigating morons), I was on the hunt for a home supply of the pies. My niece did her turn at McDonald's long after the great pie switch, so couldn't ask where they got them. And when I occasionally inquired about them elsewhere, when I saw some fast food joint selling them, I didn't get much positive information. I got even less information from food stores where I would stop the occasional manager to ask about the pies.

I DID find out that they were McCain's pies. I have great respect for the New Brunswick family business. It's fed me for years, as I've generally preferred their frozen french fries to all others. And I eat a LOT of french fries.

Inspecting their website, I didn't see any listing for the apple pies. I sent emails and eventually found out that the company doesn't sell to the public. Arrrrggghhhh!

So I stopped investigating. I kept WONDERING why the company wouldn't sell to me. I would think a dozen pies in a box would be a great seller. But I guess liability was some sort of issue. That said, I'd ask friends in the food biz every now and then about fronting me a box. I never got anywhere.

Until just recently. Now, I have to avoid telling you where, in the same way a man with a great secret fishing hole has to remain mum, but I now have a supplier.

Getting lunch recently in an otherwise empty fast food place I frequent, I innocently asked the long-time counter lady where she got the pies arrayed behind her on a shelf. She asked the manager and found out where. And then casually offered to sell me the extra box that was sitting back in the freezer! It was like the opening moments of the theme to Love American Style! Rockets were going off and exploding amidst a sky full of fireworks. EUREKA!!!

They even sold me the box at cost. And let's say the cost for a box of 60 (that's right, SIXTY) was downright reasonable. The only issue was that it was a BIG box and I have a small freezer. I tend not to buy food five months at a time, which is what I figured it would take to get through 60 desserts. Plus, I was going elsewhere after lunch, not straight home.

Took me all of ten seconds to scupper my afternoon plans and take the prize home before anybody stopped the dream in progress.

When I DID get home, I discovered the big box had LOTS of plastic trays inside. Taking a tray out and putting them carefully into plastic bags (five to a bag), made them an easy fit into the freezer space I DID have.

I fired up the deep fryer (unfortunately, baking these things won't work) and tried my first home-owned and cooked McCain's Apple Pie. Took five and a half minutes. The grill chef at the fast food place suggested I keep the pie only slightly immersed in 375 degrees hot oil, but I decided to risk this first experiment without personally watching it cook for all 330 seconds. He also suggested a dead flat minimum cooling time of one minute, ten if I wrapped it in a paper towel and let it rest on the cutting board. I took the second route.

Ahhhhhhhh! What delicious lava-hot goodness resulted. Perfect first time out.

Since then, I've done SOME experimenting. Not letting it cool enough DOES result in burning your tongue. Cooking two at a time is okay, if you have two people to feed. Two pies at one sitting for one person is sugar overload. I THINK the crust is rice flour, infused with sugar and cinnamon. Water makes a better companion that milk. Otherwise, this has been a GRAND experiment.

And the best news? The source for this happiness will be only too happy to order me a box come spring, when I expect to run out of the current stash!


Anonymous said...

Your blog is fricken hilarious and intriguing. I read your blog in hope to remember the day the heavens darkened when our scrumptious apple pies were stripped from our co-dependent apple pie fixes. Do you remember the year we lost our pies, would you post it? I did find a restaurant chain that serves the beloved Micky D pies, I will give you a hint, KFC.

Anonymous said...

Also available at Whataburger