Pie, Pie, Pie | Alice Lin
Halloween just passed, which means it’s officially the holiday season. It’s time for Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé to defrost, for the lights and festive decorations to be brought out, and most of all, it’s time for pies to be eaten. Even considering all the festive foods, pies are probably up there in terms of rankings. But within the umbrella term “pie,” there still exist many divisions—sweet and savory, summer and winter, double crust and single crust, the list goes on and on. In order to bring some structure to the categorization of pies (a critical issue in today’s world, I’m well aware), I’ve decided to rank five pies that are typically eaten during the holidays. Of course, these are only my own opinions, and you’re free to have your own (as long as you’re okay with being wrong, that is). So without further ado, five holiday pies, ranked from worst to best, according to me.
This pie might be the last in the rankings, but that doesn’t mean it's necessarily bad (I personally am a firm believer that all pies are inherently good)—it just doesn’t stand up to the stronger contenders in this ranking list. As a chocolate-lover, it pains me to leave this pie so low in the rankings, but while chocolate pie is rich and decadent, it can be a bit too sweet at times. Flavor-wise, it is top-tier, but unfortunately, it struggles with balancing that out and can often become too one-note.
4. Sweet Potato
Anything with sweet potato is good. That's just a rule, and I don't make the rules, I just enforce them. Sweet potatoes have a soft denseness that goes really well in desserts, so they make wonderful pie filling. In addition, their natural sweetness gives the pie a decadence that isn’t overpowering, which makes them perfect for eating after a holiday feast. However, (don’t fight me for this), I don’t enjoy having marshmallows on my sweet potato pies—they’re too sweet and ruin the simplicity of the sweet potato flavor.
Apple pie is a classic, a go-to for any holiday dinner, but while it’s backed up by tradition, I find myself just a little bored by the average apple pie. To be honest, out of all the fruits, apples are probably the least interesting. They’re astringent, a little bland flavor-wise, and the only things they really have going for them are their iconic branding (to give to teachers or to scare away doctors) and crisp texture. However, apple pie can be easily brought to the level of otherwise much-superior pies with an ample dose of cinnamon and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Also, the lattice crust on apple pie is aesthetic, and sometimes you just have to respect that.
Pecans are great in general, so it’s not surprising that they taste amazing baked in a pie with a ton of corn syrup and sugar. For me, the best thing about pecan pie is the texture. I appreciate the smoothness of chocolate and sweet potato pie, but sometimes you just need a little textural variety, and for that, pecan is the best. It’s crunchy, a little dense, and pairs really well with the flaky pie crust. Like apple pie, pecan pie is best enjoyed with a heaping serving of vanilla ice cream.
Pumpkin pie has to be #1—the holidays just aren’t the same without it. It’s absolutely integral to the holiday experience, and for good reason too. Pumpkin pie is undeniably delicious: it has a soft but very satisfying texture, the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves compliment the pumpkin beautifully, and you can’t forget about the dollop of whipped cream on top that perfectly balances the heavily-spiced pie. And most importantly, pumpkin pie gives off the feeling of festivity. Whenever I take a bite of pumpkin pie, I’m immediately reminded of this time of year, and I can’t help but feel a little bit of the holiday spirit seeping in, no matter how far it is from the actual season.
On that note, whether you agree with my rankings or not, I hope everyone is looking forward to a festive and pie-filled holiday season.