In the past few years, there have been a proliferation of pie shops in Seattle which have people saying pie’s the new cupcake. That’s good news because it’s sweet pies that I’m seeking for upcoming holiday dinners, including Thanksgiving. Oh, it’s nice to bake a pie, especially with so many seasonal ingredients in the offing, but sometimes there’s no time for such tasks, which makes the convenience of pie shops particularly alluring.
I’ve scoured the streets of Seattle looking for a selection of pies to alleviate you of your baking burden. My recommendations are by no means exhaustive—during the holidays it’s worth checking with your favorite bakery (Bakery Nouveau comes to mind, and perhaps Louisa’s Bakery & Cafe and Volunteer Park Cafe) to see if they’re doing speciality pies, though they might request a pre-order.
Read on for 8 pies in Seattle to buy for your holiday dessert table—we won’t tell anyone you didn’t make them yourself.
Perhaps the most iconic pie in Seattle is the Triple Coconut Cream Pie from Dahlia Bakery. Pictured is the Coco Pie Bite ($2.50), which will merely whet your appetite for a Full Slice, Baby Pie, or the 9-inch Big Pie ($35). It seems like everyone who comes to town asks for this pie when dining at one of Tom Douglas’ restaurants, and it’s still a treat for the locals. Coconut lovers will note the toasted coconut shards sharing space with shreds of white chocolate in the whipped cream topping. But there’s also coconut in the crust and the filling. The sad part: The Triple Coconut Cream Pie overshadows the other high-quality pies and pastries available at Dahlia Bakery.
With a flagship café in Phinney Ridge, A la Mode Pies is my favorite pie place in Seattle. Look for a menu board of 9-10 pies, plus a seasonal special or two, available in petite (serving two) and whole (serving eight) sizes. Definitely heed the café’s name and get your pie “a la mode,” as the ice cream comes from the local Bluebird Microcreamery. Creamy vanilla ice cream is a fine match for most flavors, while snickerdoodle adds a cinnamon burst to the apple-based pies. My top recommendation is the signature Blue Hawaiian Pie ($4.50 per slice, $27 whole), which has a crumble topping of toasted coconut and a filling of crushed pineapple and blueberries that’s just bursting with flavor. The Star-Spangled Sour Cherry Pie is another fine choice.
Shoofly Pie Company is also high on my recommendation list. Here you can have the namesake pie, rich with molasses, but perhaps better for the holidays I suggest Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie ($4.35 per slice, $23 whole). Yes, you can get a nice and nutty, plain Pecan Pie for a little less money (the filling is a mixture of pecans with bourbon, corn syrup, egg and vanilla), but the dark chocolate (from a layer of chips on the bottom crust) adds a deep, fudgy taste and texture that’s irresistible.
As its URL indicates, Pie is a place for sweet and savory offerings, with the occasional appearance of a hybrid like Maple Bacon if you’re looking for sweet and savory satisfaction in one selection. The sweet showcase is divided into fruit and cream pies. All of the pies are individual-sized, so you can pick up a variety for a party. If you’re looking for a taste of the Pacific Northwest, try to the Marionberry Pie ($4.50), with its deep purple color and somewhat tart flavor.
Fall is the time for pumpkin, especially for Thanksgiving. But a visit to American Pie Bakery & Cafe has had me singing the praises of Sweet Potato Pie ($4.25 per slice, $24 whole). Pictured is the first one that American Pie made this season, devoid of the usual piping of cream cheese frosting, which would be a welcome addition. Even on its own, though, the pie is delicious. There’s natural sweetness from the sweet potato and a bit of carrot, with just cinnamon, salt, and vanilla to round out the filling.
As an example of a seasonal offering, La Toscanella Bakery & Paninoteca is serving up Italian Apple Pie ($6.50 per slice, $24.99 whole). Inside a sweet, cookie-like crust that’s topped with crystallized sugar are luscious layers of Granny Smith apples simply sweetened with cinnamon and sugar. A multi-day process of allowing both the filling and then the constructed pie to rest overnight results in a gorgeous, hefty pie that’s delicious on its own or perfect with vanilla ice cream or caramel sauce. Note that La Toscanella’s other holiday pie is Torta di Riso, an Italian pie made with Arborio rice, toasted hazelnuts, Frangelico, and pastry cream.
Slices of the Italian Apple Pie at La Toscanella.
Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery‘s pocket pies are the perfect size for a personal snack, and pretty on a platter as a holiday dessert. This Apple Cardamom Ginger Pocket Pie ($5.00) is not shy on spice notes, and the flaky crust is a sturdy and buttery holder for the filling. Other fruit pies might include Peach Thyme Honey and Cherry Fig Fennel, and at some point you might want to sample savory pies like Asparagus Goat Cheese and Potato Leek with Bechamel.
With a name like 3.14 Bakery, I simply had to include this in the roundup. Despite the address, it’s technically not in Seattle, but instead White Center—a haven for cheap ethnic eats. Touting a year-round source for rhubarb, I gave the Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie ($3, $20 whole) a try. Decent flavor in the fruit, but the crust is a little undercooked and soggy. Still, it’s a friendly place, and worth a try for pie if you’re close to the neighborhood.
(Originally published at Serious Eats on November 19.)