Thanksgiving means pie. And it usually means a very familiar pie. There’s nothing wrong with tradition, but a boom of new bakeries means it’s an excellent time to stray beyond the usual apple-pecan-pumpkin turkey-day trifecta. So I rounded up a tasting panel — cookbook author Ali Rosen plus Moonlynn Tsai and Yin Chang from the hunger-fighting nonprofit Heart of Dinner — to help sift through dozens of offerings.
We were able to identify some extremely wonderful desserts: including a pumpkin tiramisu from MisiPasta, Thanksgiving doughnuts from Fan Fan, and even a standout pumpkin pie from Corner Bar that was a paragon of the form, but a bit too classic for this list. Instead, we landed on 11 new pies that offer the gooiest fillings, the flakiest crusts, and the most exciting flavor combinations.
A white-cream top hides the surprise of a bright-green chiffon interior. Extra points for a judicious application of salt in the well-baked butter crust.
Red Gate Bakery
This East Village spot is a go-to for birthday cakes. It can also do pie, as evidenced by this ample, deep-dish crumb model with wine-enriched caramel to bind its apple filling. It’s messy in a good way.
“Is this a pecan thing or a chocolate thing?” wondered one taster. It’s mostly a maple-syrup thing, albeit one that pastry chef Eunji Lee drizzles with brown-rice caramel, which has a gentle sweetness and a toasty note to match the nuts.
Mel the Bakery
This pie only looks like apple. Beneath its spiced topping lies apple-studded buttermilk custard. The crust, made with fresh-milled einkorn flour, deserves special attention, too.
$55 for a nine-inch pie, $30 for a five-inch pie; melthebakery.com. Orders accepted until November 19 or until sold out.
Limited space originally forced the couple behind this born-in-an-apartment Brooklyn Heights bakery to stop production on their double-crusted pie. Now in their Montague Street storefront, they’re able to resurrect it.
“We need ASMR for this,” said one taster as we cut through the crunching, firmly packed brown-butter graham-cracker crust. The brûléed meringue may not make a sound, but it does look impressive.
“It’s a perfect cross between carrot cake and pumpkin pie,” noted one taster of this layered showpiece: Above the crust sits spiced pumpkin cake, which is topped with a mid-tier of delicate pumpkin cream and rings of Chantilly.
Within the tart-sweet trio of namesake ingredients, our panel picked up on some subtle rosemary. We definitely noticed the topping’s chunky, chubby crumbs.
Win Son Bakery
Our panel almost chose the five-spice sweet-potato pie from this Williamsburg bakery but was won over by pastry chef Danielle Spencer’s not-too-sweet, extra-creamy take on a classic.
The chocolate ganache is surprisingly rich — an accomplishment since this tart is vegan. Although the bakery is based in Kingston, local pickup is available at Confectionery! in the East Village.
Smooth chocolate pudding mixed with thick mandarin custard would be enough to attract anyone’s attention, but baker Jansen Chan still garnishes this pie with chocolate cream puffs, peaks of whipped cream, and furled shavings of chocolate.