We Eat It So You Don't Have To: McDonald's Pumpkin Pie
The world went stupid crazy about pumpkin spice this year. The first leaf hadn't yet fallen from a tree (bear with me, I was in Seattle at the time), and Starbuck's had already made a giant deal about the yearly debut of its pumpkin spice latte. They weren't alone, every chain from Tully's to Peet's and Coffee Bean made a big deal about the return of their pumpkin and cinnamon-flavored edibles, and I was honestly kind of sick of it.
Then came McDonald's, with their own pumpkin spice latte (zzz) and their limited-time-only pumpkin pie. I like McDonald's pies, more so when they were fried instead of baked, but I still think they're pretty good, and pumpkin pie should be easy so nothing could go wrong, right?
Wrong. I was so very wrong.
Photo by Charles Lam Welp, never mind. That looks pretty horrible.
The McDonald's Pumpkin Pie is bad. Not just it-came-from-a-fast-food-place-so-it's-bad bad (remember, I think McDonald's Apple Pies are alright), but legitimately bad. If you're getting one of these looking for a semi-competent pumpkin pie experience, you're going to be disappointed.
These are the basics: This "pastry" is effectively pumpkin pie filling wrapped with McDonald's pie crust. It's not fancy, and you shouldn't it expect it to be. It's not even packaged in its own box, rather McDonald's puts them in generic "Baked Pie" boxes that say they're "bursting with flavor" and "baked with love."
Now, exactly what kind of flavor these pies are bursting with I'm not sure, but it sure as hell ain't pumpkin. The pies barely taste like anything distinct, forgoing America's favorite seasonal gourd for a plain, generic sweetness that's unassuming, unoffending, but also unappealing.
The texture is even worse. While the apple pies have texture contrast from the apple chunks to keep them interesting, the pumpkin pies are just sad. There's no other word for it; you bite into a pie and all you're going to get is some firmness from the crust (it would be better if it were fried, but that's a subject for another post) and then just boring, monotonous sameness. There's no texture; the filling is just pureed stuff. And it's not even fun to chew. If the pie tasted of pumpkin instead of general not-actually-a-flavor sweetness (with a hint of cinnamon), then maybe the act of chewing would be rewarding, but at this point you might as well just swallow the entire thing whole.
Tl;dr: Don't eat it.