How Sweet It Is: The 9 Best Dessert Pies in Connecticut
Photos by Arnold Gold
Fall is here, the leaves are changing color, apples are ripening, pumpkins are being harvested, and for some of us that means one thing: it’s pie season.
In honor of one of our favorite foods and times of year, we went on a quest for the best pies in Connecticut. After doing research and receiving tips, we gathered about a dozen dessert pies from about as many shops. Then in a decadent day at the office, the Connecticut Magazine staff dug into these specimens with gluttonous fervor — we mean scientific detachment. The resulting list is the fruit (pies) of our very enjoyable labor and marks the best of the best we could find when it comes to Connecticut pie. As usual, if we missed any delicious pies, please let us know!
The pie: Pecan bourbon sweet potato
The place: Mothership Bakery and Cafe
44 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury
Housed in the cafeteria area of a corporate building, this hard-to-find bakery and breakfast and lunch spot is one of Danbury’s best-kept secrets. Gourmet sandwiches are served daily, as are a variety of baked goods, including mouthwatering pies. We sampled the decadent pecan bourbon sweet potato pie, which wowed our taste testers and left all of us fighting to take pieces home. One of Connecticut’s very best pies, it is rich and rewarding and worth traveling for. In addition, the Mothership offers a wide variety of other excellent fruit pies, all of which must be ordered in advance.
The pie: Blueberry and peach
The place: Granny’s Pie Factory
103 School St., East Hartford
The term “factory” is not necessarily misplaced, as this spot sits beside train tracks and across the street from a steel-fabrication facility. On an early morning visit, bakers were busy making pies, as Granny’s does both retail and wholesale pie baking. You’re not alone if you like these pies. Their blueberry and peach pie was an interesting combination. It was less sweet than the other blueberry pie from Sixpence, so it’s perhaps an option for those with less of a sweet tooth.
The pie: Fruits of the Farm
The place: Bishop’s Orchards
1355 Boston Post Road, Guilford
The Fruits of the Farm pie contains five different fruits, all packed into the one pie. With a flaky crust and the variety of fillings, the texture in this pie was as diverse and varied as it was delicious. A must for any Shoreline run, Bishop’s also features pick-your-own and a winery for unique fruit wines and ciders.
The pie: Strawberry rhubarb
The place: Soleil and Suns Bakery
35 Route 171, Woodstock
A former biker with tattoos of his bakery’s logo who makes deliveries on his motorcycle, Woodstock’s Bill Beausoleil is not the typical country baker. Likewise, his strawberry rhubarb pie is a fresh take on a classic. With a hint of citrus, Beausoleil adds an element of tartness to a traditional pie. While the tartness might dissuade some, others will find that the citrus tang in this pie adds depth and character to the sweetness of the strawberry. With a beautiful lattice pie crust, the pie will look great in any dessert spread. The bakery is also a bit of a mad scientist’s laboratory, with new creations appearing regularly. Chocolate peanut butter bacon whoopie pie, anyone?
The pie: Apple crumb
The place: Oronoque Farms Bakery
188 Leavenworth Road (Route 110), Shelton
The apple crumb pie from this farm bakery got some of the highest praise during our tasting, and the standard apple pie was a close second. The apples are slightly more tart, creating pies that, while sweet, are less intensely so and more balanced than many others on the market. The crust is flaky and delicious. In fact, these pies are so good one early sample disappeared from one of our writers’ refrigerators before making it to the office.
The pie: Hi-Top apple
The place: Lyman Orchards
32 Reeds Gap Road, Middlefield
Perhaps one of the most famous pies in the state, Lyman’s (as it’s known locally) has been in the orchard business for some 275 years. Its trademark Hi-Top apple pie has a crust that stands up much higher than normal pies, stuffed with apples. A trip to Lyman’s during the fall can also include picking your own apples and pumpkins, a walk through the famous corn maze and a late-season golf outing.
The pie: Blueberry
The place: Sixpence Pie Company
26 N. Main St., Southington
Nestled in a small storefront just off Southington’s town green, the Sixpence Pie Company is perhaps even more devoted to its savory meat pies than dessert pies. The bake shop describes its beef, chicken and pork pies as “old world” pies with a “Yankee” makeover. Well, sometimes the old ways are best. The blueberry pie had a flaky, sugary crispiness, and the blueberries themselves were sweet and delicious.
The pie: Chocolate pecan bourbon
The place: Michele’s Pies
666 Main Ave. (Colonial Green Shopping Center), Norwalk
Michele Stuart of Michele’s Pies literally wrote the book on pies. Books, actually. Author of Perfect Pies and Perfect Pies & More, Stuart has grown a strong local (and non-local) following, with customers driving from far and wide to get her pies and other baked goods. The pie that truly put Michele’s on the map would have to be the signature chocolate pecan bourbon, which was a first-place winner in the 2007 National Pie Championships. Pecan pies can be too sweet for some, but the combination here of pecan and semisweet chocolate provides a delectable balance that, if you’re not careful, would be easy to overindulge on. And a bit of Jim Beam Kentucky bourbon adds a nice punch, without the knockout.
The pie: Key lime
The place: The Pantry
1580 Post Road, Fairfield
This gourmet deli, caterer, grocery store and bakery does a lot of things very, very well, including dessert. In addition to a variety of fantastic cakes, one of The Pantry’s bestselling items is its key lime pie. Once we tried it we tasted exactly why. With the right balance of tartness and sweetness, it was bright, airy and full of lime-infused goodness.
(This article was originally published on a different platform. Some formatting changes may have occurred.)