Finally time for my favorite list, best pies. I was fortunate enough to eat a lot of good pie in 2010. While some of the fields in the other lists were on the weak side, this one is akin to the 1939 Best Picture race! No way to limit it to just the Top 10, so it will be the Top 20. Even then, some really good pies will be left off. Best Pies
20. Banana Cream Pie - Wheel Inn
There is more to the Wheel Inn
than just the giant dinosaurs, made famous in Pee Wee's Big Adventure
. I could have done without the nuts on top, but this pie had a fresh whipped topping and was ultra-dense, for maximum banana flavor. The very friendly waitress asked me, "Isn't this the best banana cream pie you have ever had?" Uh, no, but still a mighty fine slice of pie.
19. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie - Grand Traverse Pie Co.
(Ann Arbor, MI)
In multiple trips to various locations of the Grand Traverse Pie Co.,
we focused mainly on the different fruit flavors. All were very good, but none wowed us. Having a birthday for one of the women I work with and knowing peanut butter was her favorite, I grabbed this one to go, almost as an afterthought. This pie had a strong peanut butter flavor, yet wasn't overly rich and had all the ladies in the office swooning.
18. Coconut Cream Pie - Bon Ton Mini Mart
This was actually cousin Johnny's slice of pie. Though I do not particularly care for coconut, even I had to admire the beauty and elegance of this smooth pie, which we had minutes after coming out of the oven.
17. Vanilla Peanut Butter Pie - Schmucker's
After multiple trips to Schmucker's
this year, I like their meals better, but hold their pies in less regard. Still, this vanilla peanut butter pie was nice and light and the subtle peanut butter flavor was a pleasant surprise. This is the only time I have ever seen this flavor.
16. Banana Cream Pie - Downing Cafe
The banana filling on this pie was fine, but this makes the list based on that delicious, airy meringue!
15. Grape Pie - Monica's Pies
I wasn't expecting much more than grape jelly in a pan, but with full flavored grapes in an excellent flaky crust, this was more than just a novelty slice of pie.
14. Chocolate Pie - Starne's
Cousin Johnny and I came to Starne's
to eat bbq, but came away loving the pies! There are two Starne's
locations around Paducah and we were told that one makes the bbq and the other the pies. Looks like we chose the right one! Light, airy meringue, with an excellent fudgy filling makes this a memeorable slice of pie. Johnny was equally happy with his coconut cream pie.
13. Bob Andy Pie - Village Inn
When the young Amish waitress started listing the available pies on the day we stopped in, I had to stop her after three because I had never heard of any of them! Upon hearing that Bob Andy pie is a cinnamon custard pie, we knew that had to be one of our choices. The pie was pleasantly eggy, with subtle cinnamon taste. Delicious!
12. Banana Cream Pie - Best Pies
(Bowie, MD) Best Pies
is a friendly family pie shop, right off the main road in Bowie. They only sell whole pies, but with cousin Johnny and I available for eating, that was no problem. When we ordered a banana cream, we had to wait while the owner took it the back to apply the fresh whipped topping. When he handed it to us, we had to laugh, because it was by far, the heaviest pie I have ever held. Ultra-dense and packed with fresh banana slices and a flaky, too thin bottom crust, this was on the short list of best banana creams.
11. Baltimore Bomb - Dangerously Delicious Pies
The Baltimore Bomb is DDP's
signature creation. They start with a chess pie and mix in some of Baltimore's famous Berger's cookies. The top is light, while the bottom is rich and fudgy. I don't think I could eat a whole pie of this, but for a slice or two, it is heavenly!
10. Butterscotch Pie - Nick's Kitchen
It's good to have friends in high places. Mariton and I were driving around NE Indiana on a Friday morning, with plans to eventually work our way to Nick's Kitchen
. Having met owner Jean Anne Bailey and knowing how popular her homemade desserts are, I called ahead to find out what pies were available. When Jean Anne told me there was only one slice of butterscotch pie left, I asked her to reserve it for me, which she was kind enough to do so. And this slice of pie was worth the fuss! First-rate crust and not overly sweet, this was the best butterscotch pie I have ever had.
9. Ginger Custard - Hoosier Mama Pie Co.
Despite the tiny size of this Chicago pie shop, they put out some really good pies. The first one we tried, the ginger custard, is still the best. I am a fan of all things ginger and the flavor went well with the egginess of the custard and the solid crust.
8. Carmel Pie - Charlotte's Eats & Sweets
(Keo, AR) Charlotte's
is a polite restaurant in a tiny town that makes sandwiches and eye popping meringue pies. There was a long roster of pies avialable, but carmel pie was too irresistible to pass up. Pie this good begs the question, why don't more places make carmel pie?
7. Key Lime Pie - Joe's Stone Crab
(Miami Beach, FL)
I don't know which to rave about first, the wonderful graham cracker crust or the fine line between sweet and tart that this pie walks perfectly.
6. Apple Pie - Julian Pie Company
(Santa Ysabel, CA)
A particularly heavy slice of pie, with a thick rugged crust and huge slices of fresh fruit, this pie is every apple pie lovers dream!
5. Blueberry Pie - Holy Hill Cafe
Stopped here with ChiTownDiner
and cousin Johnny and we ordered four slices of pie between us. Both of them were most wowed by the caramel apple pie, but it was the blueberry that made the biggest impression on me. The perfectly flaky crust, filled with sweet, fresh fruit and I found a new favorite blueberry pie!
4. Chocolate Pie - Family Pie Shop
(De Valls Bluff, AR)
The airy meringue on top is fine, but that deep fudgy filling is beyond words. The fact that they give you an entire 1/4 pie per slice and that the pie shop is right in Mary Thomas' house only adds to the charm of this place.
3. Banana Cream Pie - Coffee Cup Cafe
I ate a lot of banana cream pie this year, most of it crappy, but this one was clearly the best. The ultimate combination of dense banana filling and delicate meringue.
2. Double Lemon Pie - Stockholm Pie Company
Once again, this was cousin Johnny's slice of pie and he eagerly bit into it before I could get my photo. The bottom layer is a lemon chess pie, while the top layer is lemon custard, with bits of lemon cut up and mixed in. Simply spectacular!
1. Sour Cream Raisin Pie - Farmer's Kitchen
First of all, sorry for the lack of photo. But, I ate it in my hotel room and I was more anxious to eat than to get a good photo. Mark Johnson, owner of the Farmer's Kitchen
, was kind enough to drive over to Des Moines and meet me for dinner and brought along a couple slices of his mom's homemade pies. The gooseberry was very good, but the sour cream raisin blew me away. And this is despite sitting in the car for a few hours and getting tossed around a little bit. The meringue is light, but is still substantial. Filling-wise, I ate a lot of way too gummy sour cream raisin pies this year. Not here. The combination of the sweet and just slightest amount of sour works perfectly!
Blackberry Pie - Pie in the Sky
Banana Cream Pie - Achatz Handmade Pie Co.
Chocolate Pie - Bonnie's Home Cooking
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie - Gus Balon's
Lemon Ice Box Pie - Big Bob Gibson's
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