PIE IN THE SKY: Ettore’s has great pecan and cranberry walnut (but not-so-great pumpkin) pies

Emma Boersma
The cranberry walnut pie has a sweet filling that works well when eaten with the cranberries and walnuts.

In the “Pie in the Sky” series, three staffers sampled pies at three local restaurants. Next, freshman Anna Frankel will review Tower Cafe. 

Ettore’s European Bakery and Cafe (2376 Fair Oaks Blvd.) was founded over 31 years ago by Swiss pastry chef, Ettore Ravazzolo, and  sells a variety of European baked goods, including cakes, tarts, cookies and pies.

Freshman Jewel Turner and I went to Ettore’s to try out these pies.

Though I had checked the menu the night before, all it said was “mini pies,” so I had no idea what to expect.

Luck was not on our side.

Ettore’s sells pumpkin, pecan and cranberry walnut – an unfortunate situation, as Jewel is deathly allergic to nuts, and I do not like pumpkin pie in the slightest.

So I returned to Ettore’s a few days later with freshman Alyssa Valverde, someone who loves pumpkin pie. Even though we arrived at about 10 a.m. – four hours after the restaurant opened – we found the pies weren’t ready yet. Instead we had to settle for some of their other baked goods.

The mini pies cost $3.50, and all the pies except for the pumpkin pie (served by the slice), were in mini pie tins. Ettore’s also bakes 9-inch versions of each pie. (The pumpkin pie costs $19.95 and the pecan and cranberry walnut pies $24.40.)

Emma Boersma
Even though the pumpkin pie’s dollop of whipped cream gave the pastry a tantalizing appearance, Boersma found the pie mediocre.

The first thing I noticed about the pies was that they were very aesthetically pleasing. Each looked like it was from a magazine, especially the pumpkin pie with its dollop of whipped cream.

The first I tried was the cranberry walnut. Its filling was the sweetest thing I have ever tasted in a pie. It tasted as though it had been drenched in honey. However, it was much better when eaten with the cranberries set atop the filling, which were juicy and tart, and the walnuts mixed in with the filling, which added a pleasant crunch. The crust was delicious and not too dense or flaky.

The pecan pie was also incredibly sweet, though not as intensely as the cranberry walnut pie, and it was by far my favorite. Including a generous number of pecans, the filling was delicious, and the perfect crust only added to the experience.

Compared to the others, the pumpkin pie was flat. The filling was more on the chunky side, but it wasn’t anything special. Based on my experience with the other pies, I was expecting something sweet, but instead the filling was lacking in spices and flavor.

Freshman Emma Boersma

“This (filling) is flavorless and pointless. It’s not even sweet,” Jewel said after a bite.

I agreed with her. The most of anything I could taste was egg, a flavor I definitely don’t want in my pie.

“It’s just like any other pumpkin pie,” Jewel said. “It’s good, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get an Ettore’s pumpkin pie.”

This summed up my feelings for the three mini pies. While they tasted good enough, pies are definitely not Ettore’s strong suit, and I will not be coming back to Ettore’s when I’m in the mood for pie.

Emma Boersma
Ettore’s display of pies hovers over their other pastry and croissant options.

By Emma Boersma

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