All flavors of Worcester’s Table Talk Pies, rated

So, in summary, Polar Park should be renamed Table Talk Pies Pasture, and Polar should gracefully step aside until it starts producing Hartselters. Call me Polar: I have suggestions for hard seltzer flavors that include both unicorns and Charlie’s Angels.

So that we understand each other. Table Talk does not make artisanal pastries. I’m not comparing Table Talk to Tatte. The fillings are made of fruit, but you don’t actually see any fruit in the blueberry pie. The crust tends to be too doughy. Sometimes the best memories have a certain flavor. Like our memories, these flavors aren’t always perfect, which makes them even more endearing.

As a kid, I was fixated on Table Talk’s 4-inch lemon cakes. So it was imperative to intervene at the grocery store to make sure my parents were buying lemon and not my sister’s favorite variety. I was so successful at this puff that I can’t remember my sister’s favorite strain. Looking back, I’m starting to understand why my sister used to threaten to beat my snot out.

There are no more grocery store tag-alongs, just adult indulgence. In 2017, Table Talk opened a store in downtown Worcester, not far from the stadium. Bonus! It sells cakes at a discount. These are cakes with small visual imperfections that could be called imperfections, but they seem fine to me. When it first opened the cakes were 25 cents each (!), now they charge 50 cents each. It’s worth grabbing change from your car’s cup holder and popping into the store when you’re in Worcester.

The exterior of the Table Talk Pies store in Worcester.Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

If you’ve never tried a Table Talk Pie (shame!), here’s a handy ranking of flavors, from best to fail. There were a few seasonal flavors that I couldn’t get my hands on, despite my best efforts: pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan. I also skipped the sugar free offerings. It can be a challenge finding all the flavors sold in the classic red and white boxes, so I recommend website famousfoods.com, which specializes in selling New England favorites.

A shot of Table Talk’s 4-inch lemon pie. We’ve ranked it as our top flavor from the Worcester-based company.table talk cake

1. LEMON

This is not an easy taste for the masses to master. Too spicy and you alienate your young audience. Too boring and you lost the adult demo. Table Talk serves up a tangy lemon treat that hits Goldilocks’ sweet spot (not too spicy, not too sugary). It’s gooey, thick, and rich with an excellent crust-to-filling ratio.

2. PINEAPPLE

You won’t find these in every store, but Table Talk’s pineapple filling is like eating the best part of an upside-down pineapple pie, encased in a doughy crust. Those of us who have a penchant for the fibrous yellow fruit get just enough pineapple texture hidden in the sweet juice. You won’t be transported to Hawaii, but you will at least take a walk down memory lane.

3. APPLE

When a pie company can’t produce a decent apple pie, you know you’re in trouble. Table Talk’s apple filling isn’t exceptional, but it beats most snack brands like Hostess and Entenmann’s. It would have been nice to see more real apples than just the apple slime filling, but this is still a solid offering for this category. There are pleasant notes of cinnamon, although I couldn’t find cinnamon listed as an ingredient. The crust on the apple pies I tried (in the name of research) were perfectly golden around the edges.

The inside of a Table Talk lemon cake. Lemon was the top flavor in the Globe ranking.Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

4. CHOCOLATE ECLAIR

What do you get when you stuff the innards of a chocolate eclair into a cake? The answer is creamy dreaminess. If you are buying this for the chocolate you will be disappointed. The name is a terrible joke. There are just a few lines of chocolate frosting on the top of the crust. But inside is an (artificially flavored) vanilla filling that makes up for the lack of chocolate. Remember, this isn’t an eclair from a French pastry shop, but for $1, the custard-like filling is very satisfying.

5. WILD BLUEBERRY

These blueberries may have been wild at first, but by the time they reach the pies, they’re considerably tamed and spirit broken. They’re cooked beyond recognition, so think of them as the spirits of wild blueberries. This is where things get harder for food snobs than the rest of us. Come to think of it, the food snobs probably lost interest once they read the headline of this story. No matter how undercooked the blueberries got, it’s still a flavorful cake with a generous amount of filling.

6. PEACH

Perhaps it would be best if Table Talk left that flavor to a southern-based company. His peach pie reminded me of Bath & Body Works hand soap. It didn’t taste like soap, but the texture seemed right at home in a bottle with a pump on the side of a sink. My test cake contained nothing resembling a peach, just a flavorful gelatinous paste. It lacked the subtle acid bite that should accompany the sweet smoothness of peaches.

A cherry pie from Worcester’s Table Talk Pies.Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

7. CHERRY

I remember a time when Table Talk’s cherry pies were significantly better than they are now. In my taste test, the first cherry pie was thinly filled and lacked flavor. The cherry chunks in the filling looked drained with depression. To make sure it wasn’t an anomaly, I tried another one and found the same thing. I cut into a third piece – by which point I could handle another bite of cherry – and it was the same story. The color seemed faded and I missed the delicious sour tingle on my tongue I usually get from a cherry pie.

So the little boy with the Charlie’s Angels lunch box seems to have been right across the board. Table Talk’s lemon cake is still the best deal by far.


Christopher Muther can be reached at christopher.muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_mother and Instagram @chris_muther.

Leave a Comment