We, as humans, are a curious lot. They say that curiosity killed the cat, but I’m sure it’s also killed its fair share of humans. We’re drawn to things that don’t make sense, or that defy the very beliefs and logic we were instilled with. The weirder and crazier and more dangerous something is, the more interested we become. We must investigate it. We must figure it out. We must remove all doubt and understand – whatever it is – on our own terms.
Naturally, the specific thing I’m referring to is a pastry from a gas station. Speedway, no less, which has (thankfully) merged with 7-11 to create a monstrous behemoth in the field of convenience stores and gas stations. Speedway has always been uninteresting on its own. 7-11, on the other hand, has some good memories attached. I remember partaking in the frequent downing of Slurpees as a youngster, when there were two 7-11 stores within a two mile radius from my home. Then, suddenly, all of them dried up. The two near us closed down within a couple months of each other, then others followed. Soon, we went from around a half-dozen within reasonable driving distance, down to zero. I don’t think I ever fully recovered from the trauma.
The one thing I’m excited about, besides Slurpees of course, is their own private label brand! I don’t think they had such a thing when I went there, although if they did, I was probably too young to even care. They are released under the “7-Select” moniker, and they actually cover a wide spectrum of products. There are chips, pastries, beverages…even pints of ice cream. From what I have read, most of their goods are pretty well-regarded, and I was eager to test that out for myself.
So what did I settle on? Out of all the items in the store, the only one that sounded good at the time was a fruit pie. But not just any fruit pie: A strawberry cheesecake fruit pie. I know what you’re thinking. “How did you expect something like that to be good?”
I’ll admit, I got this because I figured the whole thing would be a dumpster fire. It’s not one of those “natural” flavors you’d expect out of one of these. Apple? Sure. Cherry? Of course. Even regular strawberry? That’s expected. But a strawberry “cheesecake”? It’s not only unnatural, but it’s completely unnecessary. Who would think to put that in a pastry? Just the very idea is absurd.
7-Select’s Strawberry Cheesecake Snack Pie actually smells better than I was expecting. The exterior shell on a lot of these usually have some weird “manufacturing” smell that just doesn’t bode well for the inside. But the aroma here is “light and playful”. It’s honestly somewhat inviting, which isn’t usually a characteristic of these. I can even smell the strawberry in there! Initial impressions are surprisingly positive.
It actually tastes pretty…decent? Is that the right word? But that’s higher praise than it sounds like, because I was expecting something inedible. Of course, it doesn’t really taste too much like a cheesecake, which would be pretty impossible to replicate in pastry form. The cream cheese does blend well with the strawberry, creating a rich combo that’s shockingly palatable…at first.
The tradeoff is that it’s very, very sweet. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone, because these kinds of pies always tend to be. But the addition of the cream cheese makes it cloyingly rich. By about the midway point, I was suffering from “taste fatigue”, where every bite was becoming more and more of a chore to force down. The combination quickly becomes overwhelming.
Where this one gets a solid win, is in the texture. These are just about perfect. A lot of other brands offer up a pastry that’s pretty crunchy, or too tough, on the outside. They come off as almost stale. This has virtually no resistance when you bite in. It isn’t doughy or too soft, it’s just a great consistency that’s more akin to a “fresh” pastry. Make no mistake: it clearly isn’t. But it’s still nice to get that kind of texture in a mass-produced product.
The main point of this blog is value, and it should come as no surprise there’s none of that here. The $1.69 price tag per each individually boxed pastry puts it about on par with name brands elsewhere. Hell, it might even be more expensive than premium brands. However, convenience and execution can help to offset that. It doesn’t quite pack in enough in the execution department to overcome its excessive price tag, but it’s certainly better than I was expecting.
Overall: 5/10. The big win here is the texture: It’s perfectly soft and almost comes off as “fresh”. The taste, initially, is also pretty good, with the cream cheese filling blending well with the strawberries. However, it’s all so rich that by the midway point, I was finding it harder and harder to force down. It’s just too much. Add in the excessive $1.69 price tag and there just isn’t much here to recommend.