As a connoisseur of all things pie––the flaky crusts, tantalizing fillings, and creamy toppings––I’m constantly on the lookout for the perfect pie for the perfect occasion. Pie is the reigning queen of Thanksgiving desserts; pie doesn’t have time for bland vanilla cake or boring cookies. When it comes time for this Thursday’s feast, relatives with controversial political views are the only things standing between you and your pie. I say ditch the dry turkey this Thanksgiving and opt for solely pie (and maybe some mashed potatoes). That’s exactly what your Radar team did this week: we tried six different pies in one sitting, all to find you the best pie flavors to bake or consume this holiday season.
The criteria for our pie taste test were simple: using a system of one to five, the Radar team rated each pie’s crust, filling, and overall deliciousness. Note: all the pies were store-bought, so the reviews may not be representative of a superior, homemade pie. Nonetheless, I applied math in the real world and took the average rating for each of the three categories. Here are our results.
Last Place: Peach Pie
Please spare yourself the torture and do not purchase a store-bought peach pie. I won’t lie to you, readers: this pie changed my perception of peach pies forever. Can you see that line of soggy crust on the cross-section photo? That’s because it was soggy, not to mention flavorless. Worse, the peaches tasted exactly like canned peaches (not to shame anyone, but I expected more), and they were essentially floating in a clear, tasteless, gelatinous sludge. Disappointing, but there are far better pies out there.
Fifth Place: Blueberry Pie
Crust: 3.3/5 Filling: 2.4/5 Overall Experience: 2.6/5
In the photos, the crust looks deceivingly flaky, considering that it was actually quite soggy. We found the most faults in the filling. It tasted like it came straight out of a room temperature, sugar-loaded can of “blueberry pie filling.” Yes, it’s hard to find a store-bought, mass-produced fruit pie that isn’t a little bit soupy and moist, but the blueberry filling was still disheartening. The pie tasted flavorless and watery, and the blueberries were not plump, but we willingly trudged on.
Fourth Place: Apple Pie
Some people think you can never go wrong with this classic All-American pie, and they’re mostly right. This apple pie was decent, it had all the right flavors, it’s just that the textures were all wrong. There was a soggy, slightly bitter crust. An ideal apple pie has actual apple wedges coated in cinnamon and butter that you can you can actually bite into, but this pie filling was literal apple sauce. Lots of room for improvement here.
Third Place: Pumpkin Pie
Crust: 2.5/5 Filling: 4.1/5 Overall Experience: 3.5/5
The crust on this pie was incredibly doughy here, no flake whatsoever, hence the 2.5 rating. The filling on the other hand was unparalleled. It wasn’t artificially orange and didn’t taste like an autumn candle. You could tell the filling still had a little bit of texture to it but it was fresh and had the right blend of spices. An overall pleasant experience.
RUNNER UP: Pecan Pie
Crust: 3.6/5 Filling: 3.3/5
Overall Experience: 3.4/5
Pecan pie is one of my favorite pies, so I had some high expectations for this pie. The crust was pretty standard for a store-bought pie – a little bit crumbly and never the exact texture you want it to be. The filling itself garnered a mixed range of reactions, some thought it was sickeningly sweet while others tasted a slight curdling of the filling. It still struck that balance between nutty and sweet.
WINNER: Boysenberry Pie
Crust: 4.0/5 Filling: 4.2/5 Overall Experience: 4.0/5
She wasn’t the prettiest of the bunch, but this boysenberry pie sure won our hearts. The boysenberry wasn’t medicinal and overly goopy like the blueberry pie. The crust was delightfully flaky and paired perfectly with the tart, fruity filling. Personally, I still can’t get over how good this pie was. This just comes to show that looks really don’t matter, kids.
In conclusion: store-bought pies are pretty disappointing. I long for a pie with a flaky, crispy crust with the perfect ratio of not overly sweet filling. If you ever encounter a pre-made pie this Thanksgiving, proceed with caution. I guess it doesn’t really matter because you’ll have already eaten double the amount of calories than you would have in a usual day, but in order for pie to remain on the high and mighty pedestal it deserves, seek out high-quality pies this Thursday.
This has been your 2016 Radar Pie Review. So long until next year.