Best pies in America
Ask a Baltimorean to name a local speciality and chances are they’ll point you to a box of Bergers’ cookies. Slathered in chocolate frosting, the treats are indulgent enough on their own, but this Charm City shop scatters them into a pie that even Duff Goldman dubs a guilty pleasure. As the round bakes, the shortbread and chocolate chunks melt together to form a rich fudgy shell over the vanilla custard—just think of this as chess pie on crack. Thank you, Dangerously Delicious.
Since its founding in 2009, design-studio-slash-bakery Pie Lab has set out to support the community one pie at a time (they provide job training for local youth and resources for Greensboro small businesses). Chef Kelley Whatley helps the cause with her boozy, chocolatey twist on the old Southern classic. Crack through the burnished shell of caramelized pecans and you’ll get a spoonful of smooth, eggy custard that carefully straddles the line between runny and firm. Eat dessert, do good—now that’s something everyone should get behind.
When it comes to iconic foods, Maine has two: lobster and blueberries. And just like a good lobster roll, a superb blueberry pie relies on the freshness and simplicity of its key ingredient. In the case of quaint Maine bakery Two Fat Cats, that means forgoing bigger cultivated berries for the tinier wild variety to give the oozing innards of this rustic double-crust pie a more intense blueberry flavor.
Depending on whom you ask, Shaker lemon pie traces it origins to either Pennsylvania or Ohio. But the one that’s currently capturing the attention of America’s citrus-lovers comes from the North Carolina kitchen of James Beard-nominated pastry chef Phoebe Lawless at Scratch Baking. She macerates whisper-thin slices of lemon in sugar for three days, then combines them with eggs and butter to create a tangy marmalade-like custard. One bite, and plain old lemon meringue will no longer do.
Dave and Megan Miller’s charming Baker Miller Bakery and Millhouse serves plenty of dreamy baked goods, including amazing pies available by the slice or whole. They’re milling grains in-house, which means the pies come on unexpected, hearty crusts, like a coconut vegetarian crust. You’ll need to wait until summer for their star pie, s’mores, served atop a graham cracker crust. With a thick layer of chocolate fudge and a cap of marshmallow, this pie bests its inspiration.
That one of L.A.’s best slices of pie comes from a breakfast spot specializing in charcuterie is besides the point. Salt’s Cure’s take on Key lime pie—swap out the limes for grapefruit—expertly walks the line between sweet and tart, with a to-die-for graham cracker crust holding it all together.
It might take you a while to find the Pie Shop (hint, the entrance is tucked away in the back of the shopping center), but when you finally do stumble into Mims Bledsoe’s homey bakeshop, make a beeline for her standout coconut cream pie. Rich, flaky and finished with a light-as-air whipped cream, this is as dreamy as pies come.