What Is Texas Trash Pie And Who Invented It?

What's in a name? When it comes to food, the answer is clearly a lot. After all, the first detail we're exposed to from any dish is typically not its flavor, aroma, texture, or even its appearance — it's the name. The words on a menu will determine what you order, so there's a lot riding on the names we give to our favorite dishes. A name like oysters Rockefeller, evoking one of the wealthiest people to ever walk the face of the Earth, clearly aims to attract diners with an alluring air of luxury. The appeal in the name is obvious, but it's much more interesting to see foods that take the exact opposite route, choosing a more, shall we say ... humble name.

There are some foods whose names not only eschew the standard of elegance but lean purposefully in the opposite direction to become just as memorable, if not more so, as the menu items in the world's foremost fine-dining establishments. One of the most famous examples would have to be the unique American food found almost exclusively in Rochester, New York, that goes by the charming name of the Garbage Plate. Sure, it sounds like something Gordon Ramsay would say when he's run out of more creative ways to deride other people's cooking, but it's also an iconic part of the city's culture. The same could be said for another regional specialty that remains largely overlooked by the country at large: Texas Trash Pie.

One person's trash is another person's treasure

Everything's bigger in Texas, except for the town of Round Rock, which boasted a population of just 90 people in the 2020 census. Texas Trash Pie emerged from these humble roots to find fandom throughout the state, but it all began with one family.

Bud and Karen Royer moved to Round Top in 1987, taking ownership of a quaint 40-seat eatery called the Round Top Cafe. Between them, the Royers had a combined zero years of professional culinary experience, but that didn't hold them back by any means. It seems that the couple had an innate sense for the restaurant industry and the art of homestyle cooking, building their business through word of mouth and plates piled high with classic American comfort food, but the real breakthrough came when the famous Texas Trash Pie landed on the menu, becoming so beloved amongst the locals that it earned Bud the nickname "Pieman."

So, what's in Texas Trash Pie, anyway?

As soon as you learn all the ingredients that go into Texas Trash Pie, you'll understand how this one-of-a-kind dessert earned such an unusual name. You're essentially taking a few handfuls of all your favorite snacks and tossing them into a pie crust. The filling is made from equal parts pecans, chocolate chips, caramel bits, crushed-up pretzels, graham cracker crumbs, and shredded coconut. All of those treats are then mixed with butter and condensed milk to form a thick medley of salty and sweet flavors. This is all packed down into a pre-formed pie crust and baked until golden brown.

If you want to serve it like they do down at the Round Top, plate your slice of pie with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then go to town and prepare for the inevitable sugar crash that will surely send you into a blissful slumber. Alternatively, you can get the authentic thing delivered straight to your door from the folks at Round Top Cafe themselves through Goldbelly.