OK, OK, the obvious question is: what about home-baked pies?
Lots to say on this one.
First, I ain’t no baker. Give me a skillet and some vegetables and spices and I’ll whip up something tasty. But cookies, cakes, pies? I’ve never been good at it. My sister is a wonderful baker. That’s one of the reasons I always liked to go to her house on Thanksgiving. But I digress.
The second point is that I actually prefer the Hostess Cherry Pie to all other forms of baked pies. I absolutely LOVE pecan pie. Love it love it love it. And if I were being given my last meal on death row, I’d probably eat both. But if otherwise forced to choose, I’ll go for the Hostess.
This leads to a second obvious question: what not try to bake Hostess-style snack pies at home. Well, see #1.
But don’t think that I haven’t tried. Not a hundred times, but twice. Still, the two failures—while not quite culinary catastrophes (we ate them and enjoyed them well enough; though I was thoroughly disappointed)—showed me that there are two inherent problems in attempting to produce them at home: the crust and the glaze.
My assumption (and this might sound disgusting) is that factory-level baking uses ingredients—stabilizers, emulsifiers, preservatives, and so on—that streamline the factory processes and minimize costs and result in a
n improved flavor to that which we can get at home. This is why so many home cooks make the outrageous and absurd claim that their “copycat” recipe is superior to the original product. Nonsense, hogwash, and bullshit. Their product is different, and while the goody-two-shooed “I just love baking wonderful things for my loving family” attitude might be praise-worthy, it ain’t gonna help me to get the Hostess Cherry Pies I crave. They’re all tease and don’t put out, if you know what I mean. Nudge nudge wink wink. The crust isn’t a result of finger-tip skill in working the fat into the dough and rolling it out with experience and precision: it’s some kind of recipe that allows the dough to be kneaded in gigantic vats and then rolled out onto conveyor belts. The glaze isn’t a result of the perfect proportions of AAA quality whipping cream with a dash of butter, simmered with a vanilla pod in a small saucepan while gently sifting and whipping powdered sugar into the mix: it’s some kind of thin, non-dairy, industrial food paint sprayed onto the pies as they proceed down the conveyor belt after being baked.
Nonetheless, I do think that the following recipe looks like its worth trying: Hostess Copycat Pies.
I’m thinking of trying it out for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ll let y’all know.