We see you. You’ve been assigned a dessert for Thanksgiving, and so here you are, Googling pie companies because you don’t bake. And you’ve got your cursor hovering over an “add to basket” button, wondering if that pie is really worth $25, 35, 50?!? Could you get away with picking up any old pie from the grocery store, instead?
We’re curious, too. Are those fancy pies you can order from a specialty bakery worth the extra money? Exactly what kind of sorcery is happening under those pricey crusts to make them cost that much? Or is there absolutely no difference at all, in which case you’re completely justified in picking up a pie at Ralph’s on the way to Aunt Simone’s the day of?
We decided to find out. We ordered three pies from one of the best specialty pie makers in the country, the Southern Baked Pie Company -- recommended by our executive editor, Nicole Taylor. Surprisingly, they don’t (yet) carry a sweet potato pie, so we ordered that from a barbecue outfit in North Carolina which shall go nameless because, bless their hearts, what they sent was an awful mess. Poorly packed, frost-covered, and the filling shrunken to half the size of the pie shell.
We ordered a replacement last-minute from The Little Pie Company here in New York City. Sacrilege? Probably, but we do what we must.
For our grocery pies, we got apple, pecan and pumpkin from Trader Joe’s, and the sweet potato from a local supermarket chain, Food Emporium, made by Table Talk Pies. And then we assembled our trusty team of 25 Thrillist staffers to taste all of that pie and tell us which they liked best. Could the tell the difference between the pricey pies and the grocery pies?