Could there be anything more quintessentially Texas than curling up on the couch to watch Thanksgiving football and chowing down on some pie? Of course, the pie had better be a fresh one—prepackaged desserts won’t cut it around here. In Texas, the state pie is pecan, the state tree is pecan, and five thousand to eight thousand acres of pumpkins are planted each year throughout the state, so we know what we’re doing when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert. “The tradition of pie cookery in Texas was handed down through generations,” says Dean Fearing, chef and owner of Fearing’s in Dallas. “In the 1800s, if you had fruit trees, you made pies.” Today, the phrase is more along the lines of “If you have internet, you’re ordering your pies online ahead of time.” Weeks ahead of Turkey Day, bakeries and pie shops are already beginning to sell out, so don’t waste too much time deciding between pumpkin and pecan and order your holiday desserts now. These ten pastry shops from around the state, specializing in everything from traditional pumpkin to Nutella swirl, are a good place to start.
This year, Bella Cora Bakery will offer a $22.50 nine-inch pumpkin pie with whipped cream, cinnamon, and candied orange slices; as well as the slightly more expensive apple pie and salted caramel pecan pie. “I’m Mexican American, but I grew up having Thanksgiving dinner every year because my mom knew it was important to honor both of my cultures,” says owner Jessica Zaragoza. “I love that we can offer pan de muerto on Day of the Dead and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.” Order online or in person by November 18 for pickup between November 22–25.
Among the most beloved sources of pie in the Hill Country, the 92-year-old Blue Bonnet Cafe has limited spots remaining for Thanksgiving week preorders, but it’ll be taking walk-in orders straight through Thanksgiving Day. Each ten-inch pie—choose from sixteen options, including pumpkin, pecan, coconut cream, lemon meringue, and even no-sugar-added apple—costs $16.99.
Bonafide Betties is taking online orders for the $32 Pumpkin Smash, a pumpkin pie with a chocolate-hazelnut Nutella swirl. The innovative menu goes on from there, including the divine-sounding Hott Mess, a buttermilk pie with coconut pecan praline topping. Orders must be placed by November 17 for pickup on November 23–24.
Owner Maricsa Trejo offers an online “Thanksgiving store” for pickup. The $40 nine-inch pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin includes a secret ingredient: vodka in the crust for maximum moisture and flakiness. “Everyone hates a soggy bottom,” Trejo says. “Our crust stays crispy throughout.” Customers can choose between traditional pumpkin and pecan-praline pumpkin, finished with a nice kick of black pepper, or brown butter apple pie. All orders must be picked up November 24 from 12–4 p.m.
Husband-and-wife team Cory and Leslie Bivens use Cory’s grandmother’s recipes to create everything from their $24 nine-inch traditional pumpkin pie to their “Holiday” pie: layers of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and whipped cheesecake, with a caramel sauce topping. “She’s the reason I got started baking pies,” Cory says of his grandmother. “When I was growing up, every holiday, every birthday, every Sunday, she made a pie and I was right there with her.” Life of Pie sells a cinnamon-roll-crust pecan pie named after her—the Georgia Bell—and diet-friendly desserts like sugar-free coconut cream pie and keto cheesecake. Thanksgiving orders must be picked up from November 22–24.
When Myrtle Jackson of Ms. Myrtle’s Bakery Shoppe died this fall, her family took the reins. The shop had always been a family business with Jackson’s daughters and granddaughters, but Jackson was the pie baker and she was especially beloved for her sweet potato pie. “The nine-inch, deep-dish Southern pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin was a customer-demand pie we started last Thanksgiving,” says Jackson’s daughter Rosharon Cotton. “And everyone loved it so much, they came back and got more for Christmas.” But the “world-famous,” according to the bakery, sweet potato pie is still the star of the show. Put in your order online or over the phone by November 16.
East Texas’s favorite little family-owned pie shop, Oxbow Bakery in Palestine, makes a simple $22 pumpkin pie in a ten-inch-deep tin. The pure pumpkin puree and flaky crust renders whipped cream unnecessary. “Trust us,” says co-owner Breezy Lake-Wolfe. “It’s that good.” So is every other pie on the menu: choose from flavors such as buttermilk, banana blueberry, cherry cream cheese, and coconut meringue. Oxbow is closed Thanksgiving week, so the last day to get a holiday pie will be a (still very respectable) November 20.
“A couple of weekends before Thanksgiving, I sit down with a good cup of coffee and look for inspiration in magazines and Pinterest to set my menu for the big day,” says owner Robbie Werner. Customers can order the nine-inch pumpkin pie with all-butter crust and homemade spice blend by phone or online. Other autumnal pies include apple cranberry, spiced buttermilk, and sweet potato. Thanksgiving preordering will end November 18.
Chef Julie Albertson bakes her grandmother’s recipes at the 21-year-old Texas Pie Company in the official Pie Capital of Texas. For a classic Thanksgiving pie, choose between pumpkin and pumpkin praline. Rather than creamy and light, these pumpkin pies are dense, hearty, and caramelized on top. “We use nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon,” Albertson says, “no allspice.” Ten-inch pies cost $20; four-inch pies cost $5 each. Get your preorders in by November 19.
Sometimes a slew of tiny pies is better than one big one. Enter Austin’s Tiny Pies, where each cupcake-size Pumpkin Chai Tiny Pie costs $5.25. The five-inch Thanksgiving Pot Pie is a savory blend of cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, roast turkey in gravy, and mashed potatoes, topped with crisp bits of turkey skin. The operation, which sources seasonal ingredients from local farms, has four locations around the city. Tiny Pies offers in-store pickup, and Thanksgiving orders can be picked up from November 22–24.
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