Staff picks: Brooklyn’s best slices of pie
Thanksgiving is coming. For some, this brings long-awaited reunions and happy engagements in old family traditions. For others, it brings contention strong enough to illicit a food fight.
But for most families, no matter to what degree they see eye-to-eye — Thanksgiving means (among other things): pie.
Pie brings people together. Whether it’s the butteriness of the crust or the sweetness of the filling, a good pie can soothe old wounds and plaster over new fissures, can unite the young with the old and the vegetarian with the carnivore.
In fact, the dessert is so special there are two “National Pie Days” on whatever insane master-calendar keeps track of things like “National Lumpy Rug Day” (real) and National Step in the Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day (also real). (Its two days — Dec. 1 and Jan. 3 — must be big in Pie Town, New Mexico.)
The borough of Brooklyn may not be named after a pastry, but we’ve hand-picked eight local pies you’ve got to try anyway. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed your go-to bakery, skipped over your preferred slice, or if you prefer another pastry entirely.
(And hey, if the Thanksgiving debate produces arguments too big to solve in one night, you can always talk it over at one of our favorite diners the next morning.) — Meaghan McGoldrick
Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies
Red Hook, 185 Van Dyke St. #1011
When it’s cold outside, and you’re looking to warm up with a tropical treat, you’ll want to head down to Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies in Red Hook. Steve Tarpin, a South Florida native and owner of the shop, knows how to make the doughy dessert better than most. Take one bite into that crunchy graham cracker crust, condensed milk custard and fresh lime juice, and you’ll be feeling like you’re on the beach in no time. — Scott Enman
Lassen & Hennigs
Brooklyn Heights, 114 Montague St.
Lassen & Hennigs in Brooklyn Heights, with a satellite location in DUMBO, bakes all of its own classic pies, and it was difficult to pick just one variety. I’ve tried several flavors ($2.50 for a generous slice, how can you beat that?), but the best: the apple pie.
First, the visuals: The pie features a criss-cross crust on top and looks like something grandma would have made (if grandma actually baked pies instead of running a hedge fund). This pie is beautiful and will be a winner sitting on the table when guests come over.
The flavor: The pie tastes like your standard/somewhat better-than-average apple pie. Nice and appley without being cloyingly sweet. No surprises here. I would say it’s a “dependable” apple pie. If you heat it up and serve it with a scoop of ice cream, it will probably give you a warm, fuzzy, happy feeling.
(One more thing: Lassen & Hennigs’ pumpkin pie is outstanding, too, so if you need to pick up a pie to bring to a friend’s house on Thanksgiving and want to stay traditional, you can’t go wrong here.) — Mary Frost
Bedford-Stuyvesant, 1184 Fulton St.
Pies are like puppies as far as my dessert-obsessed brain is concerned. All of them are lovable. So choosing a favorite is challenging. But I’m up to the task. My pick is the peach cobbler pie at Abu’s Bakery in Bed-Stuy.
Yes. The wise bakers at Abu’s took peach cobbler and turned it into a pie. The sweet peach slices in the filling make me think of summer sunshine. Its crumbly top tastes like it’s home-baked — if the home baker could qualify as a contestant on “The Great British Bake Off” TV series.
Warm up this treat in the oven for five minutes and top it with a dollop of whipped cream and you’ve got pie paradise. There’s a single-serving pie for $6, which is an excellent option for those of us who have problems with portion control. Family-size pies are $22.
Abu’s doesn’t bake its peach cobbler pie every day. So call before you go if, like me, that’s the flavor you’ve got your heart set on. (718-230-1115.) — Lore Croghan
Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Gowanus, 439 Third Ave.
I’ll admit, I may be biased here. My best friend is a managing baker in the Four & Twenty Blackbirds kitchen. But, that doesn’t mean my life wasn’t changed when she first introduced me to the glory that is the shop’s Salty Honey Pie. Sprinkled with flaky sea salt and loaded with ooey, gooey goodness, this pie is sweet, savory and a little bit addictive. I confess, I’ve eaten an entire half of one this weekend, which I have blamed on the fact that I had strep throat and sometimes people put honey in tea. I’d say that makes this pie doctor-recommended, right?
Illness aside, I would recommend this pie to someone every day of my life if I could. Honestly, I probably have. If you’re into the salty-sweet combo, this is a must-try. — Meaghan McGoldrick
Martha’s Country Bakery
Williamsburg, 263 Bedford Ave.
Pies — and, more broadly, sweets — are not my thing. I’m more of a savory person, but I wanted to see what the hype about Martha’s was all about and, as the kids say, “The hype is real.”
The bakery is big and has plenty of tables to sit at. There is a cozy atmosphere, and the service is very friendly. Now let’s get to the pie. I chose cherry pie because I love fruits, so it seemed like the obvious choice. It was perfectly warmed up for me with two dollops of whipped cream on the side. The cake was not too sweet, a good size, and had a nice, thick graham cracker crust. The best part? The layer of cinnamon crumbles on top that went great with the warm cherries. (Also FYI the coffee isn’t bad either.)
For all those non-Brooklynites, there are locations in Astoria, Forest Hills and Bayside, Queens. — Kelly Mena
One Girl Cookies
DUMBO, 33 Main St.
Alright, so Meaghan McGoldrick, my “colleague” and “friend” picked Four & Twenty Blackbirds, which is kinda my spot (I’ve been once). And Sara my “editor” said I can’t write about the same place. Whatever. I’m not pissed.
So I found a second favorite. I went with my “boss” Ned to One Girl Cookies in DUMBO where they were selling pumpkin pie. The top layer was soft, the crust perfectly crisped. It was good. I was happy.
Best part is watching the tourists outside. And you’re mere steps from the water. — Noah Goldberg
Navy Yard, 21 Flushing Ave.
Since Wegmans just opened in October, I figured we had to try out the pie. A place that has a cheese mister, lobster steamer and full blown bar must have good pie, right? I wasn’t disappointed and while I’m not necessarily a pecan pie connoisseur, this was a pretty good pie. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, supermarket Thanksgiving pie, this is your place. The pie has a flaky crust and a sweet, delicious filling with toasted pecans on top. The perfect gooey-ness that I love in pecan pie. Wegmaniac or not — you won’t be disappointed. — Cambria Roth
Clinton Hill, 505 Myrtle Ave.
I eat pie maybe two times per year most years — once on Thanksgiving, once in the summer when my cousin (an incredibly skilled baker) makes it. It’s not my favorite dessert. If I wanted fruit, I’d eat fruit. If I wanted a pastry, I’d eat a pastry. I don’t need them to be combined.
All that is to say that, as a pie curmudgeon, even I can admit that Petee’s Pie on Myrtle makes a damn good slice. The blueberries are tart, the pastry isn’t too sweet, and the inside of the shop has a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland overtone, with ornate little pie dishes and milk for your tea served in a goblet. Plus, it smells amazing. — Sara Bosworth
Want to browse more of our staff picks? You can find the whole list here.
Want even more choices? Here’s a list of both our picks and our readers’ picks.
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