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Guilty Pleasures: Banana Cream Pie

Last month’s discussion of where President Obama should dine during his brief visit to Buffalo inspired a comment from a reader with the handle “boozehound”. Our reader suggested that the banana cream pie at Mazurek’s was noteworthy, and that I, myself (after complaining about Buffalo’s “poor pie possibilities”) should give it a try. So I did.

I’d stopped into Mazurek’s before to pick up fresh donuts for a meeting and was pleased to find both old-fashioned charm and a large array of sweets. The couple responsible for shoring up their neighborhood with good fresh rye bread (still warm from the oven on my visit), and what seems like a hundred kinds of cookies, pastries and donuts are Jack and Carol Mazurek. In operation over fifty years, the bakery originally belonged to Jack’s parents, and when his mother was ready to retire, he and his wife were there to take up the gauntlet (and a vacation, something mom was never very interested in).

I called ahead to scope out the pie situation. It seems the President would have been out of luck had he been urged by our reader to take an impromptu pie break. Since Mazurek’s makes their pies from scratch, and banana cream doesn’t have an eternal shelf-life like many of its overly-processed counterparts, ordering ahead is required. It’s the best way for the bakery to ensure quality, and I was happy to oblige.

The pie itself was more affordable than I expected for a bakery pie. You can often find less expensive pies at supermarkets, but they are usually a pre-fab product that is mass produced, frozen and simply baked off at the store. Bakery pies are generally made from scratch and run between $12 – $20. This pie was of standard size and only set me back seven bucks and some change.

It seems our reader, boozehound, hasn’t lost his/her ability to taste things properly despite what appears to be a predilection for the hard stuff. Mazurek’s take on the classic banana cream is simple–as pie should be. And it’s good. No vanilla wafer crust, which may disappoint some people, but I prefer a traditional pie crust in this application, and the one delivered by the deft hands of Carol Mazurek is a quality one–flaky, light and flavorful. It was lined with banana slices and just the right amount of filling, which was also clean in flavor–not overly banana-y and with none of the chemical flavor found in the all-too-common version made with a serious assist from the Jello company. The topping was fresh whipped cream–and plenty of it.

Plus, there was none of that fancy handiwork meant to make up for shoddy ingredients—-no topping of crumbled cookies, no nuts, no wilting, brown banana slices, no sprinkles. See, when you make things from scratch utilizing good ingredients and time-proven techniques, you don’t have to mess with it, play games, or add distraction. I called and asked for a banana cream pie and that’s exactly what I got–an unadulterated, perfectly delicious banana cream pie.

So thanks, boozehound, looks like the next round is on me.

Mazurek’s
543 South Park Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14204
(716) 853-7833


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