Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with it come spreads of turkey, sweet potatoes and, of course, pie. New York City bakeries are rolling out a wide variety, both traditional (like Lafayette's maple-pumpkin, $32; pictured above) and creative (babka pie, anyone?). Here's our guide to finding the best of them, from apple to pecan to a few just-as-good alternatives.
For a true showstopper, head to Andrew Carmellini's NoHo bistro Lafayette, where pastry chef Jen Yee makes a freestanding caramel-apple elevée ($52, pictured) that requires a full week's notice. Pre-order by sending an email to email@example.com.
The pie mavens at Four & Twenty Blackbirds stick to beloved classics this year, including their signature fruit pie ($38). A flaky, sea salt-speckled crust hides sliced apples spiked with Angostura bitters, then tossed in housemade salted caramel. Order now for pickup between Nov. 25 and 27.
Sweets guru Dominique Ansel goes back to his French roots with a classic tarte Tatin ($46). He piles 25 layers of Gala apples on a shortbread crust, bakes it low-and-slow in a caramel sauce, then tops it with crème fraîche. Order by Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving Day pickup.
A layer of torched meringue finishes Francois Payard's stunning tart ($24-$48, pictured), which features pumpkin filling zipped up with crystallized ginger and orange zest. Reserve by 4 PM on Nov. 25 to make this your holiday centerpiece.
Danny Meyer's Union Square Cafe has launched take-home pies for the first time. Inspired by her adopted city, pastry chef Sunny Raymond (a native of St. Lucia) bakes a hybrid pumpkin cheesecake pie ($39) featuring a silky cream cheese filling and graham cracker crust. Orders can be placed between now and Nov. 25 at 6 PM.
With a Greenpoint shop full of creative baked goods (cheddar mustard scones, date and cocoa bars), we fully expected Ovenly owners Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kulaga to give their pumpkin pie a little extra flair. Spiced with nutmeg and allspice, the creamy tart comes topped with a roasted cinnamon-marshmallow fluff.
Powerhouse baking duo Matt and Allison Robicelli add a splash of booze to their pecan pie ($33) made with a honey-whiskey custard and roasted Georgia nuts. Last call for pre-orders is Nov. 21, but there will be a small amount of pies available for walk-ins at their Bay Ridge shop on Nov. 26.
For its nut pie ($36, pictured), the team at Bklyn Larder put pecans in both the filling, which is lightly sweetened with maple syrup, and the crust, a housemade shortbread cookie. Place orders by Nov. 18.
Known for reviving classic American pastries such as grasshopper bars and whoopie pies, Baked sticks to a classic combo of chocolate, pecans and bourbon. They're taking orders for pickup at both their Red Hook flagship and new TriBeCa outpost through Nov. 24.
You'll find one of the city's finest tarte bourdaloues (pictured) in the unlikeliest of places: a sprawling strip mall on the edge of Jackson Heights. Run by former pastry chefs of the Waldorf-Astoria, Cannelle Patisserie turns out an impressive rendition, with juicy lobes of poached pears perched atop a buttery sable breton crust.
Longtime Bubby's pie guy Ron Silver brings together two fall fruits to form a vibrant pear pie ($65) that uses tart cranberries to balance out the sweetness of the filling and crunchy walnut crumble. Last call for orders is Nov. 21.
Baker Rachel McBride has a vegan alternative on the menu at Blue Stove in Williamsburg: her pear-ginger crisp ($32) features ripe fruit smothered in a topping made from rolled oats, cornmeal and brown sugar. Order by Nov. 19th for pickup between Nov. 24 and 27.
BEST OF THE REST
Baker Uri Scheft mashes up two holiday favorites—pie and babka—into one glorious confection at Union Square's bustling Breads Bakery. Braided into a round tin, the loaf ($35, pictured at right) boasts the best of both: the chocolate and Nutella-laced brioche stays moist and light, but there's plenty more of the burnished crust to go around.
Instead of pear, the bakers at Nine Chains — a spin-off of The Farm on Adderley — turn to its smaller, tarter cousin quince, which they sweeten with honey. Order by Nov. 20 for pickup on Nov. 25 and 26.
Despite its name, the Tarheel Pie ($35) at Pies 'n' Thighs is more like a giant fudgey brownie. Pecan-studded batter is poured onto a pie crust and baked until firm on the outside, but still rich and gooey on the inside. All orders must be placed by Nov. 25.
Can't decide on a flavor? Hill Country's pie box lets you mix-and-match six mini pastries ($4.50 each), with flavors that range from classic apple to boozy offerings like salted margarita and whiskey buttermilk.
Want all the flavors of pie without all the crust crumbs? Here are three not-so-traditional "pies."
One Girl Cookies is known for its bite-size gems, including plump pumpkin whoopie pies packed with a tangy cream cheese frosting ($33 for box of 12, pictured).
With its first standalone outpost at the new Gansevoort Market, Dana's Bakery has piled the flavors of Turkey Day favorites like sweet potato, berry cobbler and pecan pie into chewy French macarons as a November special ($30 for box of 12).
At Milk Bar, NYC 30 Under 30 alum Christina Tosi's pumpkin pie truffles take leftovers to new heights: spiced cake is blended with more pumpkin, then rolled in white chocolate and crushed graham crackers to form decadent mini-desserts ($4.35 for three, $16 for box of 12).