It's the day before thanksgiving, and here at the cup, we like our holiday pies. How much do we like them, you ask? Enough to spend time ranking them and talking about their merits. We were specifically looking at Southern, Thanksgiving-ish pies, so Key Lime and the like were out. Also, no cobblers. Without further ado, the long awaited Pie Power Rankings (PPR):
1. Sweet potato pie - The king of Southern pies, the sweet potato pie is sweet, rich, slightly savory, and made best when made with sweet potatoes grown in our dear Magnolia State. The only real controversy I can see here is how you’re going to top your pie. Some folks go with no topping at all (an acceptable move), while some like going with the marshmallow top a la sweet potato casserole. We’re fond of borrowing from Alton Brown and topping ours with toasted pecans and a slight drizzle of maple syrup. But, really, you can’t go wrong in any case.
2. Pecan pie - Another excellent pie made with Southern ingredients, this is probably one of the least healthy - and therefore most delicious - things you can eat after shoving turkey and dressing in your face all afternoon. It’s basically just nuts, flour, sugar, and butter, but somehow it comes out to a flavorful dessert that’s way more than just the sum of its parts.
3. Chess pie - Mmmmmm. Vanilla. Brown sugar. Butter. Chess pie is essentially custard pie with cornmeal. My father loves custard pie, but I’ve never been wild about the texture. The cornmeal changes that and makes it a little less wobbly.
4. Apple pie - Apple pie is America. The apples themselves are great, obviously, as they’re cooked down and easy to eat. However, the cinammon is the unsung hero of the dish. WIthout the cinammon, you’ve essentially just got apples, applesauce, and a crust. Even people who don’t like cinnamon (those with the palate of an eight-year-old) like the flavor it gives to apple pie. If you put American cheese on it, you’re dead to me. If you nibble on cheddar while eating a slice, we can talk.
5. Chocolate pie - I mean...what’s not to like? It’s a graham cracker crust with a thick and yet incredibly moist chocolate goop inside of it. Milk, eggs, bittersweet chocolate, and sugar. That’s about it. Chocolate is divine. In fact, chocolate is so good that the Aztecs, when conquering countries that produced cacao, forced those countries to pay their beans as tribute. Of all the things… beans from a plant.
6. Pumpkin pie - It’s basically the same thing as a sweet potato pie but worse. That’s because sweet potatoes and pumpkins are pretty close in flavor, with pumpkins being the significantly blander of the two. It’s still really damn good with some bourbon whipped cream on top, though.
7. Lemon meringue - We debated for a bit as to whether or not this is an acceptable pie for Thanksgiving. It’s not as if lemon icebox or key lime pies are common outside of the summer, so why should lemon meringue be eaten on the fourth Thursday of November? So we did what any bloggers would do, and we conducted a quick Twitter straw poll. Half of y’all agreed that this was not an acceptable pie outside of the Summer months, with the other half setting up in the "any pie is acceptable because pie is great and how dare you try to take my pie from me" camp. So, since it’s not conclusively out of the conversation, we included it here.
We can go on and on about creamy lemon custard and all that, yadda yadda, who cares. What makes this pie great is the meringue, which is really just sugar held together with egg whites and baked until browned. It’s basically a gigantic piece of fluffy candy.