Friday, March 17, 2006

Apple Pie Korean-style

I'm often asked about food in Korea... I tell my clients that Western influnce is popular--Starbucks, Outback, Krispy Kreme are common...not to mention pizza and burgers.

I just found out about this Korean business, Lucy's Pie Shop. I'll make sure to check it out on my next visit to Seoul

Korea Times

During the 13 years I[ the reporter] have been back in Korea, bakeries in Seoul, though certainly plenty in number, have been of little help in satisfying my craving for a piece of good pie.

In the smaller shops, I still walk in asking to see their pecan pies and when asked, ``wouldn't a walnut pie do?’’ I turn right around to walk out. The two ARE different and no, walnut pie will not do when the other is in order.

In the more well-known shops, often I see the recipes tweaked a wee bit too far and the pies come off looking and tasting far different from the home-baked feel that I had come to love.

Growing up in a family who loves their desserts, I am particular about how my cakes and pies look and taste like. Up until now Crispy n Krispy, where the filling to their puckering lemon pie is fabulous, had been my favorite pie bakers.

But that was before my Lucy Pie-experience.

Rumors of good pie have let me down many times in the past, but walking into the Lucy Pie Kitchen, a sweet little shop in Tongbu Ichon-dong, earlier this week I got the feeling that this experience may be different.

The entries on the chalkboard menu hanging behind the counter that got my attention right off was the Sour Cherry Pie and Banana Tart.

But given the fact it was late afternoon, those two were long gone so I had to choose from what was left.

Having noticed that I was having difficulty making up my mind, the gentleman at the corner recommended I try their popular Chocolate Mud Pie. While my hungry friend reached for a double crust meatball pie, I went ahead and pointed at the Apple Crumble that I had heard so much of.
As soon as I saw myself to one of the stools, I dug my fork into the mud pie.

The three-tier fare is made up of Oreo cookie base crust, deliciously creamy chocolate mouse layer, whipped cream topping complete with milk chocolate shavings. It was like biting into a succulent portion of paradise.

From the looks of the Apple Crumble, I could see for myself that the rumors were true and the Cordon Bleu Tokyo-graduate owner really did use eight whole apples per pie. The single crust pie, packed high with razor thin apple slices and topped off with cookie and cinnamon crumble, was the best thing I had tasted in a long time.

The filling was at the perfect point of moistness. I could tell that the apples had not been tossed with sugar, which could put the filling at risk of getting too sweet and runny and also ruining a crust, which wasn’t the case here. The crust couldn’t have been more flaky or crispy.

The price of a slice ranges from $ 3.80 to $4.00. Multiply by eight what it would cost you for a slice and you will get the price of a whole pie. For $4, I'd choose a slice of pie from Lucy's over pie from anyplace else any day.

Aside from their assortment of pies, which include ones made of Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Cream Cheese, Blueberry Cheese and Pecan, Lucy’s also serves tarts, meat pies and quiche. The sugar cookies on a stick are pretty and the cups of pink heart meringues should delight visitors of all ages.

A trip to this shop will mean having to go to Ichon station on subway line 4 and then taking a 10-minute walk on top of that, but one visit is enough to assure you that the trip was your every won’s worth.

I can't wait to get back. And next time I'm going to make sure I drop by earlier to make dibs on some of their cherry pie which I can take home, warm up and eat with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream plopped right on top.

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