Drum roll please! I am excited to present to you the second installment of cake vs pie vs cheesecake: PIE EDITION!
Pies and I have a special relationship. It was a tradition for the Crouch family to spend the day before Thanksgiving every year in the kitchen making pies together. This is one of my favorite traditions and memories I have of time spent with my mom.
We would take turns making filling, rolling out dough, and doing other prep work for the dozens of pies we would bake for Thanksgivings spent with extended family. Our mom is an incredible cook, so despite our young hands “helping”, the pies always turned out really well.
In my foodie-formed opinion, there are few desserts more enticing than a slice of fresh pie made from scratch. The warm, flaky crust, the sweet fruit fillings baked to the perfect consistency and smothered in sweet spices, and the vanilla ice cream that is a perfect companion to almost any dessert. Mmmmm! I’m seriously salivating sitting here writing this post and thinking of homemade pies. Luckily, Thanksgiving is merely a week away so I don’t have to wait much longer!
Cons of Pie
As you’ve now gathered, pies are my favorite. The fresh flavors and textures are just unbeatable for me. However, there are some cons to these delicious treats. Mainly, time. Baking a pie from scratch takes a lot of time! I’m not talking about buying a frozen pie crust and filling it with canned blueberry filling. I’m talking about making the pie dough, peeling and slicing fresh fruit, seasoning everything and baking the pie till your crust glows a sugared, golden brown. While I love the art of making pies, I usually do not do so unless I have several hours on my hands at the least. Often, pie making is an all-day affair for me.
So the time commitment is a problem. They aren’t the cheapest dessert to make from scratch either. The long list of ingredients can add up quickly! Is it worth the time and the money? I believe so. However, is it practical to think you could whip up a delicious pie when you’re low on time and resources? Not as practical as maybe making a quick cake would be.
But this brings me to the next problem I encountered when thinking about pie: eating pie out. How many of you would say you’ve been to a restaurant and eaten a pie that is hands down as good or better than a homemade pie? Probably very few. Not a lot of restaurants serve pies, and the ones that do serve pie by the slice do not always make the pies in-house.
Consequently, I’ve been on a hunt for you guys for the past month to find delicious pies outside of the home. Below I have listed my favorite homemade pie recipes, “cheat” pies, and places to get a satisfying pie without having to make it yourself. Hopefully this gives you all a good jump start on Thanksgiving pie baking/buying!
Mariah’s Dutch Apple Pie is amazing! It was certainly a star at our family Thanksgiving a few years ago. Just look at this thing! Mariah described it as being “perfectly sweet and cinnamony with just a pop of tartness in the apples.” She explained she loves the crunchy topping and thinks it is superior to traditional pie crust, which she happens to also love.
I made this Allrecipes.com Pecan Pie for a family Thanksgiving YEARS ago and Tara still talks about how awesome it was. The best part is it’s pretty simple to make! It doesn’t take a long time and it’s extremely flavorful. The whole pie is gone within minutes every time I take it anywhere. I have taken it to company potlucks, and it just flies! Most people replace their go-to pecan pie recipe with this one after making it the first time. It’s just that good!
I am definitely a sweet pie person. I don’t love tart things, so I’m the type of person that substitutes a sweeter apple variety into apple pie recipes. One of the sweetest, most delicious pies I have eaten is a homemade pie Taylor’s sister Hayley made for us. She taught a baking class at a local center, and the Blueberry Pie she taught the class to make was INCREDIBLE! It was so fresh and sweet, complete with a mouth-watering homemade crust. Hayley is currently leading a youth group through another country, but she is looking to see if she can find the recipe for me!
In the meantime, here is a different recipe for a terrific Blueberry Pie!
Like we did with the cake edition, we wanted to bring you a healthier option for pies! For those of you on a diet this holiday season or for people who just want to eat something for dessert that makes them feel a little less guilty, this is the recipe for you! It was given to me by Dez McQueen of Think Fit Lifestyle, who you all may remember from my blog post “Dieting as a Foodie”. So it has her stamp of approval! 🙂
Here is the link to her recipe for “No Sugar Added Protein Pumpkin Pie.”
She recommends egg whites and additional stevia as an optional substitute for those without access to MuscleEgg! Enjoy a healthier alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving dessert so you don’t have to feel so guilty cheating on your diets through the holidays. 🙂
If you are going for volume or price efficiency, you can’t beat Costco pies. They are 12” around and come in three different flavors: apple, pumpkin, and pecan. They require no prep or order time as you can just stop by a Costco bakery and buy whichever pies they have pre-baked there. I cannot say they are that delicious, but for a quick, easy way to get an okay tasting pie for a large group of people, this is perfect.
Another pie you can pick up at a grocery store is the Edwards Hershey’s Creme Pie. You’ll find it the dessert freezer aisle in most Wal-mart stores and other grocery chains. It’s pre-made and frozen, so all you have to do is let it thaw a little. As it is a creme pie, it is meant to be served cold. The price is also super cheap for a whole pie. As far as time and cost-effectiveness, it’s a winner! It also happens to be DELICIOUS! It’s a chocolate lover’s dream, and despite how rich it is, I could seriously eat the whole thing myself. You’ll quickly fall in love with this dessert. We often grab one to polish off after Sunday night dinners or game nights.
You can even buy this same pie by the slice at Burger King! It’s more expensive if you order it by the slice, but it’s important to be aware of this tasty dessert option at a nationwide fast food chain.
One of the top ten things I have EVER eaten, and easily the best dessert I have ever had, is the Caramel Apple Pie (alamode) from a little restaurant called The Greenery up in Ogden, UT. It’s part of the Rainbow Gardens, and it is famous for its “Mormon Muffins”. I went with Taylor’s family to eat lunch there a few years ago and since then have schemed about ways to get up to Ogden JUST to get another slice (or ten) of this pie.
It had an incredible sweet flavor and the apples were cooked just right. The crust was perfect and the ice cream topped up what was already an award-winning dessert. Every year since finding this perfection, I have asked my boyfriend for an entire Caramel Apple Pie from The Greenery for my birthday because that is all I really need to find true bliss.
We tried several of the pies at Kneaders, but we were not really happy with any of them. The Banana Cream Pie was okay, but nothing special. Taylor then recommended I try Magleby’s pies and see if they were any better. I’m so glad he did! The Provo location only had Buttermilk Pie available when I called them, and I wasn’t even going to bother trying it because it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy. But I figured why not and headed over to try a slice for you guys.
It was awesome! The pie itself was warm, which was a pleasant contrast to the coolness of the cream on top. Even though it is a thicker pie than the cream pies featured here, it still had a fairly creamy texture. I don’t even have words for the flavor, except amazing! And the crust! I was so pleased with the crust on this dessert. It was firm with that distinctive “made from scratch” shortbread type taste.
To top off the pie, it was covered in a jam-like raspberry sauce. It was a little tart, so if you like a sweet-tangy combo, this would be a good dessert for you. If you are a sweet flavor person through and through, I would consider getting the pie with just the fluffy, homemade whip cream on top instead of both the cream and the raspberry sauce. No matter how you order it, you’re sure to love it! I will definitely be going back for another slice of this pie myself!
Before heading to the Secondhand Serenade concert last week, Makayla, Madison and I stopped in at Left Fork Grill. I was nervous to stop because the area we drove through to get there was a little sketchy and the diner scene at night was like a scene from Stranger Things. Don’t let the look of the neighborhood turn you away! We had dinner there and my sisters loved Friday night’s Prime Rib special.
After dinner, we settled in to try some of their pies. We tried the Chocolate Cream Pie, and honestly that is not one I would recommend. Next, we sampled the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Makayla and Madison both really liked this pie, but I have to confide it was not my favorite. The crust was a great texture, but the flavor of the filling was just okay. It was well-balanced and not very bitter but after a few small bites I happily set my fork down. If you do decide to try this dessert, we do not recommend getting it with the ice cream. We all agreed that the vanilla ice cream did not compliment this pie well.
The gem at the Left Fork Grill was their Coconut Cream Pie! Let me preface this review by saying that neither Makayla nor I are huge fans of coconut. In fact, I often pick coconut off of food items that contain it. I LOVED THIS PIE! It was seriously AMAZING! Again, one of the best desserts I have ever eaten. My sisters and I raced through the coconut pie just trying to get more bites in before the others finished it off. It has a fluffy texture overall and there was not a distinctive texture difference between the cream topping and the pudding because the cream just melts in your mouth and blends with the rest of the pie. The coconut flavor is not overbearing even though you can taste it in every bite of the pie. I cannot say enough good things about this pie. All I can say is that you MUST go try it.
One of my friends at Blackboard came into the office months ago singing the praises of a dish called Heavenly Hot Cakes. I have been planning on trying their breakfast since speaking with my friend, but after starting my pie hunt I had a new reason to visit Penny Ann’s Cafe. People around here seem to love their pies, especially the Lemon Raspberry Cream Pie. I went there excited to try them out for myself. Because they were tragically out of the renowned Lemon Raspberry, I decided to try the Chocolate Mousse Pie, the Strawberry Cream Pie, and the Coconut Cashew White Chocolate Chip Pie. They looked so pretty when served! Each slice was very inviting.
While I would recommend these pies because they were so unique, they were not my favorite flavors. I want to go back and try some of the others because I think I just ordered the wrong set for my taste buds. I thought the Strawberry Cream tasted a little like fake strawberry marshmallows, the Chocolate Mousse was too silky to mesh with the dissatisfactory whipped topping, and the Coconut Cashew was so different than anything I’d eaten before I spent every bite just trying to figure out what I was eating and deciding whether or not I liked it.
Taylor liked the Strawberry Cream the best of the three, and I probably enjoyed the Chocolate Mousse the most. I’m going to go back and try the Lemon Raspberry Cream Pie and the Apple Crumble Pie, since apple is my favorite. Might as well grab some Heavenly Hot Cakes and Bacon while I’m there also!
Restaurant Chain Pie
The last recommendation is one that can be found in many places throughout the US. We try to include a chain so that we can provide an option accessible to more people. If you are in need of a quick, fairly cheap pie option that is open early/late near you, Village Inn pies are a good choice. They also have one of the largest variety of pie flavors I have seen at a restaurant, so if you are looking for a type of pie you cannot find anywhere else, they may have it. Give it a try and see what you think! We just ordered several pies from them this morning for a work event. I tried the Apple, the French Silk, and the Pumpkin and all three were pretty good! My clients have loved each of the flavors they tried today, so we will probably be ordering from them again.
Additional Pie Options
I have not personally tried pies from these places, but I have heard really good things about them from friends. If you need to try some pies at places other than the ones I have listed, here are a few more options. We plan on trying them out ourselves in the near future! 🙂
- The Dodo (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Hub & Spoke Diner (Salt Lake City, UT)
- June Pies (Heber City, UT)
- Lehi Country Bakery (Lehi, UT)
- Provo bakery (Provo, UT)
- Three Brothers Bakery (Houston, TX)
- Merridee’s Breadbasket (Franklin, TN)
- Arnold’s Country Kitchen (Nashville, TN)
- Peggy Jean’s Pies (Columbia, MO)
- A Slice of Pie (Rolla, MO)
- Cowan’s Restaurant (Washington, MO)
Check out the cake installment in this series here.