I love Thanksgiving as much as the next girl, but there's one downside of a thoroughly food-focused holiday: It's tough to bake a good dessert when the oven's full of turkey and stuffing. Of course we'd never suggest that you skip the pie entirely. But this year you might want to skip the battle over oven space and opt for a pie you can buy. Here are three of our favorites.
All of these pies are available on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesday and Wednesday for you last-minute pie buyers out there.
Southern Pecan Pie at Flour Bakery
This has everything a great pecan pie needs: a high-gloss sheen, an abundance of whole pecans in an ooey-gooey filling, and a flakey all-butter crust. The filling is serious business. It has deep brown sugar flavor and pushes right against the limits of sweetness, but never crosses the line into cloying. A surprisingly tender crust balances it all out. Basically, they've nailed Southern Pecan Pie ($22, serves 8) at Flour Bakery, not that we're surprised.
Pumpkin Pie at Petsi Pies
Pumpkin is the most iconic of the Thanksgiving pie flavors, and the one that Petsi Pies bakes up ($22, serves 8) is familiar in all the right ways. Made with canned pumpkin and traditional spices, the filling is fluffy and deeply pumpkin-y with the minimum of sweetness. The crust is surprisingly thin, but it provides enough crunch. Bonus: this pie is rustic enough to pass off as homemade, so you could totally pull one over on your friends and claim this as your own.
Apple-Custard Pie with Moroccan-Spiced Almond Crumb at Sofra Bakery & Cafe
A showstopper of a dessert, Sofra's Apple-Custard Pie ($24, serves 8) is a fall classic taken to a new level. The "Moroccan spices" aren't quite as exotic as you might think (it's cinnamon and nutmeg), but at least you know there's nothing in here that will put off less adventurous eaters. A thick, chewy crust holds a heaping filling of local Mutsu and Golden Delicious apples in a tangy crème fraiche custard. The bakers are equally generous with the spiced crumble, which is rich and buttery and full of sliced almonds. If you get your hands on one of these, cut yourself a slice early on. We have a feeling it's going to be the first to disappear from the dessert table.
Flour Bakery190 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139 and two other locations (map)
Petsi Pies285 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA 02143(map) 617-661-7437; Petsipies.com
Sofra Bakery & Cafe1 Belmont Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (map) 617-661-3161; sofrabakery.com
About the author: Kate Shannon is a cheesemonger by day and line cook by night. Although she calls Boston home, she hasn't lost her love for the fried cheese curds and Chicago-style hotdogs of the Midwest. She believes that leftover Thai takeout makes the best lunches and that strawberry shortcake is meant to be breakfast, not dessert.