Monday, November 28, 2011

Gone (Pecan) Pie and Pumpkin Brownies

Last fall I overdid it with the pumpkin.  Pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin loaf, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cupcakes.  So much so that when autumn came upon me this time around, I was (practically) immune to the temptation.  That is, until the talented baker at the helm of Gone Pie Vegan Bakery generously sent me a pan of her pumpkin pie brownies to share with my infamously non-vegan co-workers.

At first I thought I could resist (just until the next morning); but when the delivery arrived with explicit instructions to immediately sample, it was only right to follow the direction.

The packaging* was pristine and included an extremely friendly and useful info sheet listing the contents of the package, the ingredients of the items, etc., as well as explicit information regarding serving the pumpkin brownies.  To paraphrase, the icing may get stuck on the lid of the container in transit, but a side of frosting is included for immediate consumption repair.

And sure enough; they know of what they speak:

The trusty repair kit:

And voila; good as new:

Seriously, if I can make it look this pretty, anyone can.  Reward yourself for your hard work by licking using a fork to scrape the inside of the lid and not let it go to waste, i.e., shove it in your mouth!  No matter how you slice it (pun intended), you're ultimately getting extra frosting!  Trust me, this is a very good thing.

In the interest of full disclosure, my personal taste test occurred prior to having addressed the aesthetic frosting issue.  What?  Like you could have resisted.

Know that as soon as the lid is removed, all of the fragrant, autumnal spices waft out.  It was at this, precise moment that it instantly occurred to me that I probably wasn't really over pumpkin.  I knew the first bite would be telling.  In a word?  No.  I wasn't over it.  At all.  I was, apparently, just over my own half-assed pumpkin attempts; this was tasty to the nth degree.  First the spices hit my surprised tastebuds, then the chocolate cake and frosting: the combo created quite the chocolatey/fall powerhouse.  VM insisted she's not a big fan of pumpkin, but I counter-insisted she try it anyway; she loved it.  "These giant chips!" and "This frosting really is something else" were among the litany of compliments that followed.  Poor VM, always being made to taste delicious baked goods against her will.  The horror!

What really gets me about Gone Pie baked goods is the crumb; this was no exception.  I found the pumpkin brownie to be more cake than brownie, and the crumb is perfect.  And this coming from someone who barely knows what that means!  Needless to say, they didn't last long in my office; people know a good thing when they see/smell/taste it.  Add this to the roster of irresistible Gone Pie brownies.

And then there was one.  Look at those giant chips beckoning to whoever will have them.  The chips.  Oh, the chips!!!  Clearly the esteemed tasting panel's favorite part...or was it the frosting?  Who can decide?  Good thing it's a package deal.

The overall office consensus on the pumpkin brownies was as follows:

1) YUM
2) that the pumpkin taste was perfect: not so dominant as to overwhelm the dessert or the dessertee
3) that the frosting is outstanding

Next up, pecan pie.  Yes, PECAN PIE!!  There is just something about pie, isn't there?  Well wait till you get a load of this one.

I especially loved the way the pie was wrapped.  Impressive and impeccably presented, this is a particularly great item for gifting, in my opinion:

Unwrapped, it is an exquisite specimen.  I immediately cut myself a small slice.

KIDDING!!  Okay, only partially kidding.  You have to know what you're sharing, right?

Seriously, the best pecan pie I've ever had.  I didn't even think I was really a fan of pecan pie.  VM definitely wasn't.  Guess what?  We are now.

And let me address the fact that this is gluten-free.  Because I am not, I am often hesitant to try things that are; I blame an unfortunate incident regarding a papery tasting wrap that I won't go into.   But fear not, fellow gluten-partakers; this is a phenomenal dessert with or without the'd never guess.  Gone Pie has proven me wrong time and time again; this too was no exception.  The pecans, the crust, the sweetness: all skillfully proportioned so that each bite is a masterpiece.

But, as far as sharing was concerned, I had to tread lightly.  The OCD employee in me couldn't risk simply placing this gorgeous cake at work for the taking, only to find it quickly desecrated by the gads of "pickers" who insist on slivering their way through office desserts, leaving them in a disrespected, crumby heap (can you tell this drives me nuts?).  So, I was prepared.

I pre-cut the pie into tiny, perfect slivers and watched contentedly as my co-workers said, "I can only have a piece"...and then neatly took a whole, pre-portioned slice.  I am a genius.  What I didn't anticipate, though, was the fact that people would take their slice with their fingers instead of a utensil, which I'd placed right beside.  Baby steps.

My boss, in particular, is a tough cookie when it comes to desserts.  One of the first people to try the pie, she exclaimed something complimentary I can't recall and, I dare say, reached for a second slice before swallowing the last bite of the first.  Others quickly followed suit even before I could send out the invitational email for my department to partake.

Despite the very clear presentation, I still fielded the requisite omni questions posed in accusatory tones, none more irksome than the incredulous, "Are these vegan?".  Too late VM suggested that my response should have been, "Oh no, I used to be vegan.  These are all filled up with cruelty and cholesterol just like you like it; enjoy!"  Of course they were not, I was nice (!), and the goods were not to be resisted.  Everybody wins!

The accolades poured in- general gratitude via email and explicit praise muttered through gratified chews.

  • "What you taste is the nuts; this is done right.  And by right I mean better than any pecan pie I've ever tasted."
  • "How is the crust not soggy?  I have to line my crust with chocolate [(!)] in order to prevent that from happening."
  • "What a pleasure and novel idea- to have a pie filled with pecans and not filler."
  • "Exquisite, European, like a tart"
  • "Pecan pie is usually goopy; this is all the quality stuff, not the goop."

And those are just the quips I was able to scribble down.

So perhaps the lesson to be learned is that it's not necessarily vegan food that scares people, but MY (homemade) vegan food.  Hmm; something to consider.  These items, for sure, were a hit.

More importantly, another thing to take away is that people can identify quality.  And when they do, the fact that it's vegan becomes secondary.  Gone Pie's desserts are the decadent type that are satiating in just a few bites- evident by the accolades from all.  Can you tell I was very popular this day?  Know how to be popular yourself?  Share or gift any and all of Gone Pie's incredible creations.  Just remember to snag a few items for yourself, lest your gifts not all make it to their intended destinations as a result of an unanticipated detour to your belly.

A sincere thanks to Gone Pie for their extreme generosity, startling talent, and exquisite contribution to veganism.

* A word about the packaging and presentation: outstanding.

my iPhone pic orientation has to foil me at least once per post
In high school, an art teacher told another student that her execution and presentation was flawless; I often reflect on that statement and aspire to it.  Gone Pie truly delivers and achieves.

And you know what they say about a well-placed sticker.


  1. At the very least, Gone Pie should hire you to do their advertising. I'm convinced that everything you've said is true, and I'm barely surviving here without access to Gone Pie. Thank heavens they have some recipes on their blog that I can try, until I can get to NYC, or somewhere on the East Coast where they deliver. I'd go for the brownies — I don't like nuts in things, though you make the pecan pie sound perfect.

  2. I'm a huge Gone Pie fan! She's a baking genius!

  3. Andrea, You're exactly right. You actually don't know what you're missing until you taste Gone Pie. They may ship to your neck of the woods!?

    I agree with you about nuts AND I always go for chocolate desserts over all else. This pie was a game changer.

    Note: I still need chocolate, especially GP frosting!

  4. Also let it be noted that we have the incredible gluten free brownies from Gone Pie at Lula's for a Gluten free brownie sunday!

  5. Gorgioso! I have yet to try her goodies, but I masochistically follow her twitter and flavors....

  6. Abby,

    I'm a long-term huge fan of anything Gone Pie. Everything I've ever had has been delicious and fresh. The pumpkin pie brownie was so good, I had to have two pieces. And the Pecan pie, well, I think we should judge a book by its cover because it tasted better than it looks, and it looks mighty fine.


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