Best 5: Holiday Pies
When you need a rest from holiday cooking, why not buy a homemade pie? These five New England bakeries make all their pies from scratch. No matter how you slice it, there’s sweet satisfaction here. We asked Victoria Abbott Riccardi, a Boston-based food, travel, and nutrition writer and author of Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto, to give the thumbs-up on her favorites. Victoria notes she made her first pie (blackberry) at age 10: “When we shared it that night, I broke into a huge purple grin–and not because of what I ate.”
Kristin’s Bistro & Bakery Downtown
This mother/daughter operation uses recipes from family and friends, including a cranberry-raisin pie bursting with fruit. Their chocolate cream pie is a rich yet not-too-sweet pudding topped with a blizzard of whipped cream.
28 Washington St., Keene, NH. 603-352-5700; cateringbykristins.com
Named for the owner’s grandmother, this family business makes 28 different kinds of pies, many of which are also available frozen and unbaked. The apple-crumb variety, above, packs in a pound of fruit and is crowned with streusel topping. (There’s also a sugar-free version.) And especially for the holidays, don’t miss the mincemeat pie–a dense, cheerfully boozy blend of apples, raisins, currants, and citrus.
52 Hearthstone Lane, South Londonderry, VT. 802-824-4032; grandmamillers.com
Two Fat Cats
Kristen DuShane prides herself on all-American sweets, including her bourbon-pecan pie, above, loaded with toasted nuts, brown sugar, and a splash of spirits. Her pumpkin pie is a rich, custardy concoction of puree, brown sugar, and spices.
47 India St., Portland, ME. 207-347-5144
Renee McLeod, a.k.a. Petsi, learned to bake from her grandmother. One of those recipes was her sweet-potato pie, which combines roasted spuds, brown sugar, spices, and evaporated milk for a hefty pastry. Her eggnog-custard pie, above, tastes like that velvety holiday elixir–a blend of heavy cream, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon–baked until set but still wobbly.
285 Beacon St., Somerville, MA; 617-661-7437;
31 Putnam Ave., Cambridge, MA; 617-499-0801; petsipies.com
Ever So Humble Pie Company
“We make it, you bake it” is this bakery’s motto. The folks here sell frozen, ready-to-bake pies in 5-, 8-, and 10-inch rounds. Their apple variety pairs local fruit with brown sugar and spices and heaps them high. Their “squmpkin” pie (frozen but fully prebaked), above, fills a pastry shell with spiced custard thickened with fresh-cooked sugar pumpkin and local winter squashes.
153 Washington St., East Walpole, MA. 508-660-9731; eversohumble.com