Rebecca Flint Marx
Peanut Butter Cream Pie (Credit: Achatz Handmade Pie Co.)
Achatz Handmade Pie Co., Chesterfield, MI
All of the almost-20-year-old company's 85 varieties of pie are made by hand and use local ingredients. (Read our Q&A with them here.) Given that their base of operations is in an apple orchard, they're a no-brainer for apple pie. Three kinds are available for shipping: Dutch, caramel-nut, and double-crust.
The Elegant Farmer, Mukwonago, WI
Almost seven decades after it began as a family dairy farm, this roadside deli, dairy, bakery and market is famous for its apple pie baked in a paper bag. Some 250,000 pies come out of its oven each year; its nine varieties of apple pie include caramel apple and the seasonal strawberry rhubarb apple.
Betty's Pies, Two Harbors, MN
In 1956, Betty began baking pies to cater to fishermen on the nearby Stewart River; two years later, she opened an eponymous café. In 1974, Betty's Pies was born, and today turns out 300 pies a day. Both baked pies-apple, pumpkin, and a bevy of fruit pies-and cream pies like coconut cream are available for shipping.
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Porch Pies, Los Angeles, CA
Although she's based in Southern California, Robyn Poarch makes the kind of Southern pies she grew up baking in Alabama. The quintessentially Dixie chess pie-a creation whose filling falls somewhere between custard and cheesecake-looms large on her menu: you can choose from coconut, chocolate, and lemon.
Julian Pie Co., Julian, CA
Liz Smothers grew up making pie with her mother. Then in 1986, with only one oven, one mixer, and one rolling pin to her name, she began making pies for profit. Almost three decades later, her company makes 1,000 pies almost every morning; during the 10 days leading up to Thanksgiving, some 35,000 emerge from Smothers' ovens. The company, which has its own orchard, is particularly well known for its 14 kinds of apple pie, which require around 800,000 apples a year.
Shoofly Pie Co., Seattle, WA
With its dark molasses filling and coating of buttery crumble, the namesake of Kimmy Hsieh Tomlinson's bakery certainly has its charms, but it's far from the only attraction on Hsieh Tomlinson's menu. Pumpkin, apple cranberry crumble, and dark chocolate pecan are all available to order for the holidays.
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Pie Lab, Greensboro, AL
Equal parts café, design studio, and civic clubhouse, Pie Lab has been lauded far and wide since it opened in 2009. Among their delectable offerings is the buttermilk pie, a traditional Southern treat similar in texture to a chess pie but made unique by its signature twang.
Pie Gourmet, Vienna, VA
Fruit pies, cream pies, and pot pies are all well-represented at this bakery, which bakes all its pies from scratch and freezes them a minimum of 24 hours before shipping. Sweet potato, chocolate pecan, and several varieties of apple are among the numerous attractions.
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First Prize Pies, New York, NY
As her company's name suggests, Allison Kave has been making some darn fine pies since she got her start two years ago after taking first place in an annual Brooklyn pie contest. Her bourbon ginger pecan is an invigorating twist on tradition, thanks to a healthy dose of bourbon and crystallized, ground, and fresh ginger, while her pumpkin pie makes excellent use of local sugar pumpkins, maple syrup, and molasses.
Dangerously Delicious, Baltimore, MD
Rodney Henry was a touring rock 'n' roller when he began baking pie to pay the bills. A decade after opening his first shop in Baltimore, he's got two other locations in Washington, D.C., and Detroit. Apple pie is the most requested pie on his menu, though the Baltimore Bomb-a concoction involving vanilla chess filling and Berger cookies-has also become one of his greatest hits.
Tootie Pie Co., Boerne, TX
Ruby Lorraine "Tootie" Feagan began baking pies out of her home in 1982, and quickly earned a loyal local following. Although she sold her bakery in 2005, her daughter works at the company that still bears Feagan's name, and, more importantly, uses her recipes. Among them are her original apple pie, which weighs almost six pounds; the pecan pie, which uses Texas pecans; and the buttermilk pie, which has a texture reminiscent of creme brulée.
Three Brothers Bakery, Houston, TX
The three brothers in question were concentration camp survivors who emigrated from Poland to Houston, where they opened their bakery in 1949. Among their creations are the nine-pound, 10-inch deep-dish pecan pie, which uses two pounds of nuts; and the infamous pumpecapple piecake, a 20,000-calorie behemoth comprising of pecan pie baked in a chocolate cake, pumpkin pie baked in a pumpkin spice cake, apple pie baked in an apple spice cake, and frosted with cream cheese icing. Everything's bigger in Texas, y'all.
Royers Round Top Café, Round Top, TX
Chewy chocolate chip pie and pecan pie made with whole Texas pecans are two claims to fame at Bud Royers' namesake restaurant. The so-called Pieman also offers supremely decadent spins on buttermilk and chess pies.