I enjoy reading Mark Bittman’s column in the NY Times, and I’ve learned a lot from Bittman, but he disses pie in favor of crisp in his most recent column, saying “It’s that pie crust adds little to a fruit dessert apart from heft and calories.” WRONG!
First, don’t you know how to make a good crust yet? A good pie crust sets the stage and allows the fruit to shine with a beautiful and delicious vehicle to carry it from plate to mouth. Second, all that cinnamon, and oats and nuts in a crisp distracts from the fruit, the supposed star. No star likes to be upstaged, especially by some nut.
And by the way, Bittman, cornstarch is a bad choice to thicken fruit desserts (or much of anything in my opinion). First of all, it is too gloppy when it does thicken, (recalling the horrors of cafeteria desserts) and it doesn’t consistently thicken due to the varying acidity in fruit. Tapioca is a much better choice, and flour is terrific in some pies, such as apple. Harumphh.
Show me a streusel-topped crisp that is as mouth-wateringly appealing as any of these pies, and I’ll reconsider my stance.