It's no surprise that one out of every four American's favorite pie is apple. But if you think cherry pie is the next favorite, you're wrong. Tied for second are pumpkin and chocolate cream pies, and in third place is another tie: cherry and pecan.
Apple pie was not always such a favorite. In the 14th century, sugar was scarce and expensive, so pies were made without it. Back in those days, no one ate the pastry (which was called "the coffin," meaning a basket or box), and was used both as both the baking dish and as a serving vessel.
Later, sugar became readily available and finally, pie lovers could eat the crust. Apple pie recipes are usually passed down from mothers and grandmothers, but if you don't bake, don't worry. Either hit the road or pick up the phone and order one. Here are six places offering some of America's best apple pies:
- Elegant Farmer's Baked Apple Pie: This pie, featuring mounds of juicy sweet-tart apples, is baked in a paper bag, creating a unique crunchy top crust and a light flaky old-fashioned bottom crust. (By mail order).
- Grandma Bertha's Ultra Flak Jones Restaurant, Philadelphia, Double Crust Pie: Tempe, Arizona. Joan, baker, co-owner of Honeymoon Sweets Bakery & Dessert Bar, and daughter of the Grandma Bertha, uses her mom's favorite recipe for the double crust, to which she adds a touch of vinegar. The apples are extra fresh, from local Arizona farms.
- Fresh Baked Apple Pie, GW Fins Restaurant: Each of New Orleans Chef Tenney Flynn's apple pies is individually made to order with Granny Smith apples and a crust including cheddar cheese, parmesan and cayenne, then served warm with caramel drizzle and homemade vanilla ice cream.
- Mom's Apple Pie: Sebastopol, California. Baker Betty Carr has been making puffy-crusted apple pies for more than 50 years. Her secret? Many many Gravenstein apples.
- Jones Restaurant: Philadelphia. This American comfort food restaurant serves up golden, flaky double-crusted apple pie with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce -- and of course, heated.
- House of Butter: Merced, CA. Baker Dawn Trook, known as Sweetie-Pie, is to baking what Mary Poppins is to nannying. Her apple pies are twice as tall as normal pies -- little mountains. No wonder she calls them sky-high pies.
So go ahead -- try one -- but remember, there's no free lunch, so if you don't want to gain the weight, plan to walk it off, run it off, hike or swim it off, do a Zumba class or whatever else it takes for you to burn 600-1,200+ calories.
Follow Margie Goldsmith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/margiegoldsmith