Sweet as pie. Easy as pie. Pie in the sky….this time of year makes me crave pie! I’m not picky either: fruit, cream or meringue –– all good. Making pie crust from scratch takes a certain kind of alchemy –– a high humidity day separates the prize-winning bakers from us amateurs. For your pie pleasure, here are a baker’s dozen places you can get a little (or a whole) pie.
Mama E's BBQ & Home Cooking
At Mama E’s BBQ & Home Cooking you’ll find the staples of soul food deserts: banana cream pie, chess pie, apple pie with a lattice crust, and sweet potato pie that tastes like the angels kissed it. But not all the pies are available every day, and if you want a particular or whole pie, plan to order well in advance.
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken has five kinds of pie made fresh and on-site daily. The chocolate chess pie is definitely worth a look, as is the coconut pie. Sweet potato, plain chess pie and pecan pie round out the menu.
The Lunch Box
The Lunch Box has been serving pie by the slice or whole pies since the 70s, and not much has changed. You can get classic chocolate, coconut or lemon ice box pies here, and all of them taste delicious.
You’ve probably never made it past the cute cut-out cookies or petits fours at McKinley’s Bakery, but the kitchen there does magic with pie as well. McKinley’s has the most extensive selection of pies organized by filling. There are three meringue pies, seven fruit and nut options (including the exotic chocolate pecan pie), five custard pies (including sweet potato and pumpkin) and a whopping dozen icebox pies.
Paris Coffee Shop
Paris Coffee Shop would win the longevity pie prize, if there was such a thing. The place has been hand making pie since the 60s. There are a dozen kinds of pies here, including three sugar-free varieties and a chocolate peanut butter meringue that is absolutely amazing.
Rodeo Goat has two flavors of the Texan’s favorite fried pie – chocolate or pecan. I can’t speak to the pecan, but the chocolate filling is as hot as lava. If you’re not patient, you’ll burn your mouth on the classic buttery pastry dough and your tongue on the filling. You’ve been warned.
The Original Fried Pie Shop
If you need more in the way of hand-held pastry goodness, you might visit The Original Fried Pie Shop, where you’ll find the intangibly perfect apricot fried pie, along with your favorite fruit filling and pineapple.
Stir Crazy Baked Goods
Stir Crazy Baked Goods offers a dozen pies year-round, including the Texas southern favorite buttermilk and a chocolate bourbon chess pie. Fall and winter pies include apple-cranberry, sweet potato and an eggnog pie in December. For spring and summer, berries and stone fruits rule, and you can get a combination berry pie with any three berries you like!
Eatzi's Market and Bakery
If you’re looking for a pie to perhaps pass along as your own, or to semi-home make (add some whipped cream or ice cream and you’re golden), Eatzi’s Market and Bakery has five kinds of pies, including a sumptuous, juicy cherry pie year-round. The grab-and-go market also has a couple of tartlets, in case you don’t need the whole pie.
Sweet Lucy's Pies
You’ll have to pre-order what you want at Sweet Lucy's Pies, and the menu isn’t your run-of-the-mill pie list, either. How does brown butter vanilla pear (topped with a double crust) sound? Or pecan or buttermilk pies spiked with TX Whiskey? Thanksgiving offerings include TX Whiskey cranberry buttermilk, pumpkin, and sweet potato pies. You can also find Sweet Lucy’s product by the slice at Brewed.
Swiss Pastry Shop
The pastry kitchen at Swiss Pastry Shop is open at 7 a.m., and they have a little of everything, from cream to fruit to meringue pies. But the chess pies –– custardy, and loaded with butter and eggs –– really stand out, and seasonal favorites egg custard and pumpkin would look positively perfect on your holiday table.
The Tavern offers two kinds of pie: a real key lime pie so fresh you’d swear you were in the Florida Keys, and a banana cream pie better than grandma ever made. Over at Felipe Armenta’s other restaurant, Pacific Table, you’ll find a coconut cream pie that is over-the-top good.
If you want to order pies for the Thanksgiving holiday, you’ll want to decide that and reserve at least a few days in advance (different stores will have different rules). May the pies be ever in your favor!