Taste Test: The Best Pie
All-Around Favorite Little Pie Company's sour cream apple walnut is a deliciously rich, impeccably built pie that's heartfelt and homey, every bite containing the ideal blend of tart, thinly sliced apples and buttery, nutty topping. ($25; littlepiecompany.com)
The Runner-Up Head baker at Verrill Farm in Concord, Massachusetts, Jen Verrill-Faddoul describes her Kentucky bourbon pecan pie as the result of "fooling around with bourbon and chocolate." The combination of sweet and salty flavors is pure genius. ($14, available at the farm stand; 978-369-4494)
Orange Crush David Wilke, co-owner of the casually chic The B Line in Tucson, Arizona, knows his sweet potato pie "can go toe-to-toe with pumpkin any day." He's not lying: B Line regulars are known to order both rather than choose. ($4 a slice, available in the store; 520-882-7575)
Rockin' Pie Before launching Baltimore's honky-tonk pie shop Dangerously Delicious Pies, rocker Rodney Henry trolled through several issues of The Farmer's Almanac for baking tips. Henry's lemon chess pie proves worth the homework. ($20; dangerouspies.com)
The Classic Liz Smothers, head of the family-run Julian Pie Company in California, made tiny apple pies in jar lids as a kid. Today, her original apple is full size and divine: a meltingly tender crust surrounds cinnamony apples slowbaked to retain a bit of snap. ($15; julianpie.com)
Crumbiest Pie Midwesterners swoon for the tart cherries grown around the northern Great Lakes, and Michigan's Grand Traverse Pie Company's cherry cobbler--a crumbtopped pie--shows off their sweet-sour taste and festive, fire-engine-red color. ($18; gtpie.com)
Mass Appeal, America's best-selling pumpkin pie, Sara Lee Oven Fresh Pumpkin Pie, is exactly what you'd hope to make at home if you had time: a silky smooth, delicately spiced custard in a light, flaky crust. ($5; available at supermarkets nationwide) Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in November 2006.