It’s a rainy Saturday morning in Ocean City, and I am sitting in my car…pondering. Across the street stands Ward’s Pastry Shop, a local favorite. The only distinguishing visual provided by Ward’s was its green awning. Well, that and one other thing:
There was a chalkboard sign declaring that the “World Famous Scrapple Pie” could be found there. And its those very pies that I am pondering.
Those two food concepts would seem to go together like “kimchi cheesecake” or “herring ganache,” and yet, here they were proudly announcing that, yes, you can take home scrapple in pie form.
But I was on a mission – a food enthusiast mission. Scrapple pie from Ward’s is a truly unique gastro-offering in South Jersey, and my mind was made up. I was going for it!
Or…not. I mean, it was raining and all. Was I really going to run all the way across the street for…scrapple pie? For french fries cooked in duck fat, I would take a barefoot strool over hot coals. For soup dumplings, I would dodge my way through a gang of chainsaw-flinging jugglers with slippery fingers. But scrapple pie?
Then the rain picked up in intensity. Maybe that was a sign. But there was that other sign, the one written in chalk, that kept staring at me.
“Dude,” my inner voice chimed in, “just go in. Enough with the deliberation!”
And so, out of car and into the bakery I went, a little more wet than before.
Ward’s Pastry Shop is a bakery for those who like their bakeries without any fussiness or pretention. It is all about the business of baked goods. The ladies at the counter call you ‘hon,’ and I am perfectly fine with that. It is Jersey, after all.
It was my turn to order, and I stumbled over my request for one scrapple pie, still wondering if I am about to get laughed at for falling for such a prank. But no – a small pie tin with a lovely crumbly crust is presented to me. And it was the last one of the day, too!
So I brought my little pie back to the car. And I look at it. Was I supposed to eat this thing cold, or what? I didn’t know enough to ask about the protocol for eating a scrapple pie. I made the decision to eat half right then and there, and bring the rest home to be warmed up. After tasting it both ways, I would suggest doing the latter. Warming up the pie allowed me to get the full flavor of the scrapple filling (a phrase I never imagined I would actually write). I got the saltiness that played off the buttery sweetness of the crust.
Oh – I could write a sonnet about that crumbly bonnet. Rich and buttery, it was a crust that you would have been glad to have on top of any pie.
Heavy? Oh goodness yes.
If you plan on picking up a scrapple pie yourself, make sure that you plan on abstaining from food for two, possibly three days. But you will be rewarded with an oddly good treat that you will not find anywhere else. Seriously.
If you decide to pass on the scrapple pie, don’t pass on Ward’s Pastry Shop altogether. Having sampled some of their other treats, I can say that you will not be disappointed in the quality of their offerings.
As for me, I need to do some more pondering. Hmmmm…kimchi cheesecake…
Ward’s Pastry Shop
730 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City.