From sweet to savory and chocolate to cream-based, we here at Relish don’t discriminate when it comes to baking (or sampling) the hundreds of unique crust-based concoctions that fall under the “pie” umbrella. Here are our picks for the Top 10 Pies in America. Give ‘em a taste of your own! —By Jennifer M. Wood
Baked at: Baked Located: Brooklyn, NY Baked co-conspirators Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito have built their business on being different. The self-described “dessert archaeologists” have made a culinary career out of putting personal spins on classic desserts. So what’s their version of pecan pie? Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie—an addictive invention of gooey chocolate and pecans spiked with a hit of bourbon. “This pie was inspired by Matt's dad, Larry, who used to own a small pecan farm in South Carolina and generously supplied us with pecans during Baked's early days,” says Renato. “The boozy addition was also at his request. His advice when adding the bourbon? 'Be generous.’” We like the way they think.
Baked at: Baked and Wired Located: Washington, DC The good folks at Baked & Wired like to say that their handcrafted, small-batch pies are “just like Grandma made or maybe even a little better.” Case in point? Peach Blueberry Custard Cream Pie (which is sometimes offered sans blueberries, depending on the season). “The recipe comes from my great grandma Lauretta,” says co-owner/baker Teresa Velazquez. “It is an unusual pie and I have not run across any recipes similar to it. It is just the fruit with a combination of flour, sugar, heavy cream, eggs and vanilla poured over the peaches; as it bakes, the cream and eggs form a custard in the oven.” Though it was originally made with a full top crust, to allow for more custard in the pie, Velazquez prefers “the top lattice crust and more peaches. Out of all the pies I make, it is the number one pie in my house!”
Baked at: Hoosier Mama Pie Company Located: Chicago, IL Everything about Hoosier Mama Pie Company screams “old-school,” from the colorful, vintage-style interior to the permanent $5 slice of pie and cup of joe special. They’ve been lauded by everyone from Time Out Chicago to The Food Network, and with good reason. Each morning they bake up a selection of at least 10 pies—both sweet and savory—which they serve whole or by the slice. And while the menu changes daily, one variety you’ll frequently see is the appropriately-named (and very much in-demand) Fat Elvis, a diet-busting jumble of chocolate, peanut butter and bananas baked inside a graham cracker-peanut-pretzel crust. It’s the kind of pie you need to taste for yourself. Immediately.
Baked at: Random Order Coffeehouse and Bakery Located: Portland, OR When you’re looking to indulge in an adults-only dessert, head straight to Portland’s Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery. Yes, they’ve got plenty of the usual pie suspects—lemon meringue, apple and banana cream among them. But after a long day, you’ll want to hit the hard stuff. More specifically, the New Deal Coffee Cream Pie, a coffee liqueur-based treat (tipple courtesy of the nearby New Deal Distillery), which is topped with fresh whipped cream and a dusting of espresso. Happy hour never tasted so good!
Baked at: Mission Pie Located: San Francisco, CA Seasonal ingredients are the recipe for success at this community-focused bakery, named for the San Francisco neighborhood in which it resides. “Our Shaker Lemon Pie is a bright light during the darker winter season,” says Mission Pie co-owner Karen Heisler. She’s not kidding. “The pie sings of the full range of flavor of Meyer lemon—sweet, tart, bitter, floral—because it is made from the entire lemon, rind and all. In addition to delighting in its commanding flavor, we love this pie because its simple and nearly waste-free composition so strongly communicates the values of thrift and resource conservation that we hold dear.”
Baked at: Grand Traverse Pie Company Located: Multiple locations in Michigan; Terre Haute, IN Traverse City, Michigan is famous for its cherries. So it stands to reason that it should also be famous for its cherry pie. Grand Traverse Pie Company is the granddaddy of all pie shops in the area, with 14 cafes throughout the state (including the original outpost in Traverse City, which is still its flagship store) and a variety of cherry-based pies, including Old Mission Cherry (pictured here), Grand Traverse Cherry Crumb, Cherry Peach Crumb and Cherry Ganache.
Baked at: The Pie Hole Located: Los Angeles, CA In L.A.’s bustling Downtown Arts District, The Pie Hole is where creative types go for their much-needed afternoon energy boosts. But who needs another latte when you've got Mexican Chocolate Pie? A sinfully rich swirling of sweet and spicy elements inside a buttery graham cracker crust, which is topped off with an espresso pastry cream for an added jolt of flavor and oomph.
Baked at: Two Fat Cats Bakery Located: Portland, ME When it comes to traditional treats, Maine is home to countless roadside stands and full-blown cafes. Two Fat Cats mixes the best of both worlds. Located in Portland’s charming Old Port, Two Fat Cats takes an old-fashioned approach to treats, baking all of its desserts (cakes, cookies and whoopee pies among them) from scratch. And when in Maine, do as the Maineiacs do: eat blueberries! The official state berry gets seasoned with a bit of sugar and spice to create a dessert that is very, very nice. During the summer, mix it up with a little rhubarb added in!
Baked at: Scratch Bakery Located: Durham, NC There’s something about the idea of a slice of Buttermilk Sugar Pie that screams “southern goodness.” So where better to find it than in Durham, North Carolina, where Scratch’s version is sure to thrill the taste buds. “Buttermilk Sugar Pie is our version of an old fashioned pantry pie,” says owner Phoebe Lawless. “No eggs—just buttermilk, sugar and flour with a smidge of vanilla bean. Rich, creamy, vanilla custard on top of a crunchy, sweet, sugar layer.” Where do we sign up?
Baked at: PieLab Located: Greensboro, AL More than just an amazing bakery, Greensboro, Alabama’s PieLab endeavors to make a difference in its community by acting as a platform for conversation, ideas and design while donating all profits to H.E.R.O, a charity which provides a hosing and disaster relief. But it all starts with the pie, which becomes a catalyst for conversation, which leads to new ideas and eventually affects positive change. Fortunately, PieLab’s menu of sweet-toothed delicacies is as lofty as the bakery’s founding principles. A particular treat? Egg Custard Pie, a customer favorite salty-sweet treat that reminds you of why you fell in love with old-fashioned southern baking in the first place.
Have a craving for pie, but can't travel the distance to pick up one of our featured pies? Roll up your sleeves and try one of our favorite homemade pies. You'll be glad you did. Fresh Cherry Tart Shoo-fly Pie Fresh Strawberry Pie Black Bottom Pie Apple Crunch Pie Mini Lemon Tarts
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