Fast food restaurants have long struggled with how best to include desserts on their menus. Aside from ice cream based treats, the one trend that has spread across chains is the hand pie, a portable turnover stuffed with all manner of fillings.
McDonald's originated the trend with their Apple Pies, and they've amassed a devoted following. Just in time for summer, they've introduced a S'mores Pie, and Louisiana-style fried chicken chain Popeyes has followed suit with a Southern Peach Pie. We gave both a try at Serious Eats Headquarters.
McDonald's S'mores Pie: The chain has attempted to recreate the classic summer campfire dessert, and I must admit they get the flavors down pretty well. Though the marshmallow lacks the "toasted" flavor that makes a s'more truly great, the typical flavor profile of cloyingly sweet chocolate and marshmallow comes through beneath the not-too-sweet graham cracker crust.
The problem here is the texture. Unpleasantly thick chocolate meshed with a viscous white goo offers none of the contrast usually found in a s'more (where we generally look for gushing chocolate alongside a more pliable marshmallow.) But despite its textural faults, we can pretty much guarantee fans of S'mores Pop-Tarts will enjoy this pie.
Popeyes Southern Peach Pie: This deep-fried concoction is part of Popeyes' "Summer of Peach," and is meant to accompany the new Cane Sweeeet Peach Tea. (Both will be available through August.) The crust of this pie is crisp and golden, coated with chunky granules of sugar and reeking of cinnamon. The cinnamon odor completely eliminates any peach scent and unfortunately continues to overpower the promised peach flavor of the pie. The small pieces of fruit drown in the cinnamon-y syrup and the imbalanced crust-to-filling ratio. All in all, if it is peaches you are looking for, perhaps the tea is a better choice.