Is there even a bad slice of pie? Really? Isn’t it all good? The answer is yes. Pie is always good (way better than wack-ass cake). But the difference between a good pie and the best pie is a vast gulf filled with empty pie crusts and sad, sugar-filled tears.
We write about comfort food a lot in these parts, so let us tell you: Pie is pretty much the perfect comfort food. The base is a lard or butter crust that should flake and add a textural counterpoint to the smooth filling inside. But know this: It’s the filling where a great pie lives and dies. A great filing balances the holy dessert equation of sweet + savory or tart = perfection. Tip the balance too far in any direction and even the best crust can’t save you.
Since the holiday season is rapidly approaching, pies are going start popping up more and more in our lives. There will be choices — hard choices — about which slice of pie to eat and which slice of pie to have seconds of. No one regrets a second piece of perfect pie, but a second slice of store bought cherry mush? That will stick with you.
Below is our ultimate ranking of the best “classic” pies that appear on almost all American menus at one point or another. And by classic we mean what we call pie in America: fatty crust with a filling and maybe a top of more crust or maybe cream with a flourish or two here and there. So you can take the cake they call a Boston Cream Pie and put it straight in the disqualified column. Stick to beans, Boston!