August is full of raspberries! Those tart little berries are fully in season this month, so national food holidays featuring the fruit are speckled all over the month of August. I hope you like fruit tarts and fresh fruit swimming in cream! But for today, the holiday to celebrate is National Raspberry Cream Pie. Made like many other cream pies, this pie is comprised of a crust–which can be homemade shortbread, graham cracker, or, as the famous Pioneer Woman makes, a crust of Oreo cookies–with freshly crushed raspberries, heavy whipped cream, and lots of sugar to balance out the tartness. The pie isn’t traditionally cooked to make the final product, though the crust and/or the raspberries may be baked to deepen their flavors. But the best part about this pie is that it’s prepared, served, and eaten cold, to really get that experience of the cool cream mixing with the fresh berries. It’s perfect for a sweltering August day!
Unfortunately, we New Yorkers have seemed to find other sweet, cool treats to enjoy during the summer months, because barely any bakery will deign to put out a raspberry cream pie these days…much less spend enough time to make it their signature dish. If you really want to try a delicious raspberry cream pie, the way it’s meant to be enjoyed, get your butt on the LIRR. (I know, Long Island is scary when it’s not the Hamptons, but bear with me!) A small, family-owned bakery in Riverhead, Long Island, is the closest you’ll get to a real raspberry cream pie in the city–but oh man, what a pie! Briermere Farms is an East End institution here on the Island, and their cream pies are astoundingly good. (See, food can taste good outside of New York City!) They make their seasonal raspberry cream pie with fresh raspberry jam–sometimes adding fresh peaches for extra sweetness–and sprinkles whole raspberries on the top. Just remember if you’re coming all the way from the city for this dessert, try to get there early: everything is baked fresh daily, so when they’re out of pies–and they do sell out pretty quickly!–they are out for the day. So plan accordingly! But if you’re just dying to have an authentic, delicious raspberry cream pie today, this is the place to get it.
4414 Sound Ave, Riverhead
“They make the most wonderful cream pies, raspberry cream pie, peach cream pie. The raspberry has its jam on the bottom and it is covered in a delicious cream, I think its a cream cheese/heavy cream mixture. The same with the peach cream pie, luscious peaches and cream. Its the cream that stands out. A whipped cream cream cheese topping.”–Road Food
“The sign is there to warn you: some varieties sell out fast and furiously. I knew exactly what I was getting: raspberry cream pie! That’s what we had years ago, and I remembered a thick, ruby-red, sweet-tart layer of fresh raspberries. ABF ordered peach, another excellent choice!”–Stuff I Ate
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“So I walk in there with the intention of ordering an apple pie and walking away . . . little did I know that I would walk in and be face-to-face with a delicious looking Raspberry Cream Pie. The raspberry puree on top looked about as fresh as you could get and I could just imagine what lay beneath. We were NOT the least bit disappointed by this wonderful dessert. It was certainly as rich as we anticipated, but it was also tart, the cream was plenty fresh and the crust was pleasantly flaky — all-in-all it made for a wonderful combination that should not be missed if given the opportunity to enjoy this confection.”–Jeffrey K.
“This place is AH-mazing! They have the best pie I’ve ever had in my life…and I really love pie. The raspberry cream pie is so good I’d fly back to New York just to get a slice of it. The place is a cute little cottage type bakery that does more than pies but that’s what they are known for. I can’t even explain how amazing this pie. Ohhh damn you Briermere now my mouth is watering just thinking about that delicious pie with the cream filling and fresh raspberry topping. They also have fresh apple juice and cider. So So So good!”–Lita L.
But most of us, I assume, can’t get out onto the East End on little notice just for the whim of raspberry cream pie. Try something a little closer to home by taking the 6 train, not the LIRR, to Penelope bakery. There you can taste their peach raspberry pie; not a full raspberry cream pie, but the peaches really blend well with the raspberries and sweeten their tart counterparts. And it’s definitely a great substitute for getting out on the island on the middle of a Wednesday! Maybe leave the raspberry cream pie for the weekend when you head out to the North Fork, and try this one on your way to work today! 🙂
159 Lexington Ave (between 30th St & 29th St)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I got a peach raspberry pie, my cousin got a lovely piece of carrot cake with nice gooey thick frosting and hubby got a nice chocolate cupcake. Everyone was happy. The world was good. And when I come back to my second home I’ll be boppin’ over to Penelope for something really delicious.”–Susan D.
“Desserts are always flaky and rich and fresh… especially the seasonal treat. Aptly named, whatever it is will definitely delight- my treat the other day was a not-too-tart-not-too-sweet peach raspberry pie.”–Frani I.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!