This time of year, I think Dorothy Winters, played by actress Andie MacDowell in the movie Michael, is probably right. We all love pie. Even those of us who swear we despise pie, turn on a dime after the turkey has been served, the table cleared and the dishes done. Face it, come Thanksgiving Day, EVERYONE in this country will be eating pie . . .including YOU. Why it is as American as...well, you know.
So what type of pie should you serve around your Thanksgiving table? The answer differs from family to family, and opinions as to the "must-have" pies are as varied as the flavors of the pies themselves. Apple, pumpkin and pecan pie are thought to be the most traditional and the most seasonal pies this time of year. Yet, some families have wild card "family favorite" pies they throw in the mix. This chart below from NPR.org from 2012 shows that the top favorite pie for most of us is Apple pie, with 20% of you serving this American favorite on Thanksgiving Day. Yet, speaking of wild cards, it looks like 19% of you crave strawberry pie, which is the second most popular Thanksgiving Day pie to serve. Strawberry? Really?
There are many of you who are excellent homemade pie makers. To those of you, I salute you. I am not. The pie crust is my Waterloo. I have done some practicing over the last few years, and I have made improvements, but I still have not perfected that flakey, light perfect pie crust, every time. My Mom did not make pie, so I was never taught pie. I thought Mrs. Smith was the only pie maker in the world for many, many years. I decided years ago to take the pressure off myself and to leave Thanksgiving pies to the experts. I order mine from trusted and talented sources, and have never looked back.
The good news is there are plenty of options and places to order your pies from all around Kansas City. There are pie shops, bakeries, restaurants, caterers and even churches where you can place your order for pie so good it will make you cry.
Here are a few tips for ordering your Thanksgiving Day pies:
- Order early - Do it, like now, before November 15th. By the middle of the month you should have picked up the phone and placed your order for your Thanksgiving pies. After that, you may be locked out of getting your favorite pie from your favorite place.
- Shop local - This should go without saying, and trust me, I know how easy it is to slip a pie from Costco into your weekly shopping cart, but I implore you to think about the hundreds of little locally owned bakeries and restaurants around town who will put more love, and likely better ingredients, into their pies than the big commercial bakeries.
- Pick a favorite, then pick a wild card - There are some holiday menus you just don't mess with, as they are steeped in tradition and folklore. Thanksgiving is one of them. So, you are going to have to order that staple pie that your family expects; be it apple, pumpkin, pecan or all three. Then, I would suggest you order a wild card pie to mix it up a bit. Who knows! You might discover a new Thanksgiving favorite.
- Know your pie pick-up time and place - Mark on your calendar the date, time and place of your pie pick up. Many local shops will close one location to consolidate everyone to one spot for Thanksgiving pie pick-up. Some only have a short window the day before Thanksgiving that they are open to pick up your pies. Also, while you are waiting in line to pick up your pie, be sure to have your cash or credit card ready to pay.
- Have a transport plan - Each place packages their pies in a different way. Some offer more pie protection than others. If you are ordering multiple pies, you may want to enlist the help of someone to get the pies to your car and you'll want to have a safe way to transport them home. I suggest bringing a couple of cardboard boxes to place each of you pies in. You might put them on the floor boards of the back seat of your car, or if you have one of those three compartment trunk organizers, you can sometimes stack them across the compartments where they won't slide around in your trunk.
Top 5 Pies to Order for Thanksgiving in Kansas City:
I have been looking around this year for the perfect place to order my Thanksgiving pies, and I thought I would share with you the places and pies that are catching my eye this year. Perhaps, they will peak your interest, as well. Enjoy!
401 East 63rd Street
Kansas City, MO 64110
From the kitchen of the Heirloom Bakery & Hearth, owned by Kate & Scott Meinke, comes the Honey, Apple, Thyme pie, an interesting twist on the traditional apple pie. This married couple is committed to supporting local farmers and it shows in this pie. The apples come from Fieldstone Orchard in Overbrook, KS. The honey is from Prairie Birthday Farm and Fieldstone Orchard in Kansas City. Finally, the crust is also made with organic flour from Heartland Mill in Marienthal, KS and organic butter. The delicate 9" lattice top pie, creates the perfect peek-a-boo window to see and smell all of the tart apples and fresh thyme as they are cooked down in the sticky sweet honey. This pie is $25, with tax. Please note, as they work to finish their new brick and mortar location by the end of this year, they have been selling their wonderful breads and pastries at the Brookside Farmer's Market. This is exactly where you can pick up your pre-ordered pies, as well. Thanksgiving pies will be available for pick-up on Saturday, Nov. 22 from 9 am - 12 noon at the Brookside Farmers Market or you can pick up your pies on Wednesday, November 26th at Season + Square, a wonderful little retail spot just east of Brookside. For a list of all of the pie selections go to the website or to pre-order your pie from Heirloom, email Kate at email@example.com on or before November 19th to place your order.
6947 Tomahawk Road,
Prairie Village, KS 66208
In the Prairie Village Shopping Center
The Quillec Family have been running their authentic French restaurant, Cafe Provence, for more than 12 years in the Prairie Village Shops. Last year, they decided to take over a second space in the same shopping center to create the French Market. This is a place where you can get fabulous French crepes on the weekend along with pre-pared food items from their restaurant kitchen all ready for you to take home and enjoy. Although they do have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal that you can pre-order to pick up with all the trimmings, it is their French Pumpkin Tart with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream, that caught my attention. I like the idea of a tart in that it more evenly distributes the pie filling than a regular pumpkin pie. The 9" pumpkin tart is $22 plus tax. It is made with real pumpkin meat, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and ginger, organic eggs, from-scratch dough made with butter, and a little butternut squash, (but don't worry, the kids won’t notice). Each tart also comes with house made vanilla-bean whipped cream. French Market owner Patrick Quillec has this to say about his pumpkin tart. “In France, this French-style pumpkin pie is traditionally served on Toussaint (All Saint’s Day). It brings the family together.” To see a list of all of the Thanksgiving treats you can order from the French Market, please visit their website. To place your order you can call the market at 913-362-0803 or order in person, from now until Tuesday, November 25th. You may schedule your Thanksgiving dinner pickup for Monday, November 24 through Wednesday, November 26.
10551 Mission Road
Leawood, KS 66206
As co-owner and pastry chef of both bluestem and Rye, Megan Garrelts is really has the best of both worlds At bluestem she favors a more formal dessert presentation, while at Rye we find her getting back to her roots. Her seasonal selection of pie IS what you want to order for dessert here. Their rustic appeal really satisfies and stands in definite contrast to the more formal and deconstructed desserts she favors at bluestem. There are two pies right now that I am very interested in ordering for my Thanksgiving Day table. One is the "MoKan" pie that takes a traditional molasses filling and combines it with Missouri pecans and Kansas Black Walnuts for a take on pecan pie that could not get more local. The other is her Dixie pie, this is a southern treat that combines rich chocolate into a classic pecan pie. The pie has eggs, molasses, sugar, brown butter, bourbon, dark chocolate, and locally sourced pecans poured into a tender and flaky pie crust. Both the "MoKan" pie and the Dixie pie are 9" and run $30 plus tax. Now is the time to place your holiday pie orders at Rye. For more info please go online or call Rye at (913) 642-5800. All pies will be ready to pick up at the restaurant, and dates and times will be provided upon ordering.
7943 Santa Fe Drive
Overland Park, KS
You cannot talk about pie, and not mention our pie emporium in Kansas City, The Upper Crust Bakery. Pie-loving sisters, Elaine Van Buskirk and Jan Knobel looked no further than their Mom to learn all of their secrets to making comforting and delicious pies. About 10 years ago, the sisters took their pie making talents to the Overland Park Farmers Market, and eventually they found a home in the basement of Kansas City's beloved kitchen goods store Pryde’s Kitchen and Home in Westport. Being wildly successful in this Westport location, eventually led the ladies back to downtown Overland Park where they opened their second location. Now, there are two Upper Crust locations to satisfy all of your pie eating needs. Lucky for all of us, you can pre-order pies for Thanksgiving from the Upper Crust, but you need to place your order NOW. For Thanksgiving, I am looking for something seasonal which is why I recommend their Cranberry Pecan pie. This 9" pie is a traditional pecan pie that is packed with crushed, cooked cranberries. The sweetness of the pecan pie is cut by the tartness of the cranberry. This seasonal tart treat costs $24 plus tax. To see their selection of special order pies, please visit their website, or to place your order, simply call the bakery at (913) 642-2999. All Thanksgiving pie orders will be available for pick up at the Overland Park location on Tuesday, November 25th, 10am-2pm or Wednesday, November 26th, 10am-3pm. Please keep in mind their Westport bakery will be closed the week of Thanksgiving to focus on their special orders.
1644 Wyandotte Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
You knew I was going to throw a wild card into this mix, and I most certainly am with this next pie recommendation. The Executive Chef of the Webster House, Matt Arnold, came to Test Kitchen this month and absolutely brought the house down with his personal and delicious menu that was a homage to his Midwest Missouri roots. The final course, his dessert course, was a Lemon Chiffon Coconut Cream pie that find myself still dreaming about. I emailed Chef Matt after the dinner and asked him if he would be willing to make this pie as a special order pie for Thanksgiving, and he agreed without hesitation, but with advance notice. He said he has been carrying around this recipe for 10 years, and it has never done him wrong. So, my friends, ORDER NOW! These 9" beauties will run you $35 plus tax, and you can call (816) 221-4713 to place your special order for this creamy dreamy pie to make it to your Thanksgiving table this year. Chef Matt will be happy to provide you with all of the pick-up information upon placing your order. Everyone is going to want one slice of something traditional . . .make sure their second slice is something unique.