Beauty is in the Pie of the Beholder: Pie Fillings from AJ Pickle Patch and Salads
At some point, everyone has replaced a meal with dessert. Why? Because it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Deep down, you know it’s wrong, you know it’s unhealthy, but it’s so freakin’ good that you just can’t help but indulge in this sinful activity from time to time. It’s human nature. Seriously though, if you stumbled across a refrigerator cabinet full of beautiful custards, cobblers, and puddings, you can’t honestly tell me you wouldn’t immediately consider making it a meal by ordering a cupful… or two… or three.
AJ Pickles & Salad Patch (or is it Pickles Patch & Salad? Their sign is too ambiguous…) is a shop nestled in the Northwestern corner nook of Reading Terminal Market. They sell pickles and salad obviously, but that’s not what I was there for. Despite the name, they’re also home to a collection of pie fillings, because why bother with all that crust when it’s the good stuff you are really after.
The cost of the fillings are really reasonable, they range anywhere from $3 to $6 per pound of whatever you choose, and the variety is seriously mind blowing. With roughly 25-30 or so flavors on hand at any given time, it’s like putting a fat kid (me) in a candy store and telling him he has the pick of the lot. Sure it’s all peachy (cobbler) keen on the surface, but how do they taste?
I’ll preface the rest of the post by ruining the surprise, all the flavors sampled/bought were pretty phenomenal. It comes down to a preference thing, if you like your peach cobbler… go for it, if you want grasshopper chocolate mint, well there’s that too. Basically, buy what you want, and you’re 95% likely to be satisfied.
For $3 I got a nice sized taste of AJ’s Ice Cream Delight, a custard inspired by ice cream. The name isn’t too accurate, as there isn’t really any semblance of ice cream in the custard/cake mix. It’s more like vanilla custard blended with a very very light frosting, which then has yellow cake bits integrated throughout the mixture. Flavor-wise, it’s pure and pure vanilla. It hits you from the first bite and lasts for a while afterwards with a pleasant and dainty aftertaste. Not over powering, but not one for those who like their sweetness on the mild side. Texturally it was like a soft sponge cake immersed in a thick pudding. The two components are actually quite difficult to tell apart, making a beautifully smooth texture of cake and custard. Brilliance in a cup.
Also sampled was the pumpkin pie cobbler. Exactly as described, it’s a pumpkin pie filling swirled together with a whipped cream mix and inundated with bits of pumpkin pie crust. For those who have always felt the crust to be a bit tedious in the whole pumpkin pie equation, this is the flavor for you. You get the best of the center (heavy on the cream), with just a sampling of the crust, it’s like taking a spoon and massacring a pumpkin pie without the consequence of having your grandmother flip out at a you. Again, another top notch flavor.
In summary? If you’re sick of the savory, and have a bit of a sweet tooth, don’t shy away from AJ Pickles for some decadent desserts, since they’re not overly expensive, feel free to go nuts and get 3 or 4 different flavors. Variety is healthy right?
[Ed. note: And then maybe snack on a pickle for dessert?]
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- There’s enough custard flavors to have something for everyone
- Pricing is excellent, you can get 4 cups and leave the place spending less than $10 (not that I advocate eating 4 cups of this stuff)
- It’s like eating pie without having to eat the crust, right to the good stuff
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Custards are not quite a meal
- I’m not entirely sure this is so healthy…
- Only open Wed- Sat
AJ Pickle Patch and Salads, 12th and Arch, 215 318-7480