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11 Desserts That Changed the World

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1. The Pastries That Cost Santa Anna His Leg

In 1838, a French pastry chef living near Mexico City claimed that Mexican army officers had ransacked his bakery. When his demand for reimbursement was ignored, he appealed to King Louis-Phillipe, who was already irked at Mexico for defaulting on loans from France. The whole thing escalated rather quickly, and retired Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna came out of retirement to fight for his country’s honor. His ankle was shattered by cannon fire during battle; consequently, most of his leg had to be amputated.

Why it changed the world: Santa Anna’s leg was buried with full military honors and ended up representing his commitment to Mexico, which helped propel him to higher power in Mexico.

2. The Milkshake That Almost Killed Castro

“Death by Milkshake” was just one of the many ridiculous ways the U.S. conspired to assassinate Fidel Castro in the 1960s. Castro was a frequent visitor to a hotel that served specialty milkshakes, and he almost always treated himself to one of the tasty treats when he stopped by. The CIA arranged to have a restaurant worker slip poison pills into his shake during a visit, but the plan was thwarted when the pills, stored in a freezer, disintegrated or burst when the worker tried to access them. Despite the fail whale, it’s said that this attempt was the closest the CIA ever came to actually assassinating Castro.

Why it changed the world: Thanks to this milkshake malfunction, Fidel Castro’s Communist regime was allowed to continue.

3. Marie Antoinette’s Non-Existent “Cake”

Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” comment made the French queen look cruel and heartless, damaging public opinion of her and definitely not making many people very sympathetic to that whole guillotine incident. Even though those famous words are often still attributed to her today, it almost certainly didn’t happen.

Why it changed the world: Had the public not harbored such resentment toward Marie Antoinette, she may have survived the French Revolution instead of being sacrificed to it.

4. That Time Hitler Tried to Kill Churchill with a Chocolate Bar

In 1943, one of MI5’s most senior intelligence chiefs wrote to an illustrator friend asking him to draw an “explosive slab of chocolate.” He wrote, "We have received information that the enemy are using pound slabs of chocolate which are made of steel with a very thin covering of real chocolate. Inside there is high explosive and some form of delay mechanism … When you break off a piece of chocolate at one end in the normal way, instead of it falling away, a piece of canvas is revealed stuck into the middle of the piece which has been broken off and a ticking into the middle of the remainder of the slab.”

The plot was foiled, of course, and Churchill lived to enjoy many pieces of non-lethal chocolate.

Why it changed the world: Had one of MI5’s intelligence officers not uncovered this plot, WWII could have lacked the leadership of Winston Churchill simply because he wanted to satisfy his sweet tooth.

5. JFK's "Lost in Translation" Moment

In 1963, John F. Kennedy went to West Berlin to show U.S. support for West Germany after the Berlin Wall was constructed. In his very famous speech, Kennedy declared that “All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner!'" The oft-repeated legend contends that while Kennedy meant to say “I am a citizen of Berlin,” what he really said was “I am a jelly-filled doughnut,” because citizens of Berlin use the term “Berliner” to refer not to themselves, but to a breakfast pastry injected with preserves. Some linguists suggest that Kennedy wasn’t actually wrong, but others continue to debate the issue, and still the legend persists.

Why it changed the world: For decades after Kennedy’s flub-that-wasn’t-really-a-flub, respected journalists and media outlets have used it as an example of terrible wordsmithing by clueless Americans. Some also use it as an example of how Kennedy endeared himself to Germans, who understood and appreciated the overall sentiment and took his supposed mistranslation as a somewhat adorable flub.

6. How a Pie Inspired One of the World’s Favorite Pastimes

Before the Wham-O company renamed the plastic disc they purchased from inventor Fred Morrison, it was known as a "Flyin' Cake Pan." When Wham-O took over, they christened the toy the "Frisbee" to capitalize on a diversion Yale students had invented where they threw tins from the local Frisbie Pie Co. back and forth.

Why it changed the world: Without the Frisbee, who knows what hobby would be preoccupying disc golfers and golden retrievers everywhere?

7. The Cake That Saved the Future President of Ireland

In 1916, Eamon de Valera found himself incarcerated because of his role in the 1916 Easter Rising, an uprising in which people of Ireland tried to assert their independence from British rule. De Valera managed to make a copy of the hail chaplain's master key by stealing it and making a wax impression using melted-down church candles. He sent the impression to his friends on the outside, who fashioned a metal key and sent it to him, embedded in a cake. Unfortunately, the key didn't function. They tried again, however, and de Valera's second attempt at escape was successful.

Why it changed the world: Eamon de Valera went on to hold many leadership positions in Ireland, including becoming the third President of Ireland from 1959 to 1973.

8. The Way to Abe Lincoln's Heart

Legend has it that Mary Todd called this recipe her “Courting Cake” and made it for Abe many times when they were dating. 

Why it changed the world: Had it not been effective and Abe had married another woman, who knows if he would have been accompanying her to Ford Theater that night, or even if he would have ever run for President?

9. All Chocolate on the Western Front

About a week before Christmas in 1914, Germans soldiers near Armentieres smuggled a “splendid” chocolate cake into the British lines and proposed a brief cease-fire. They then invited their British counterparts to join them for an hour-long concert from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. to celebrate their Captain’s birthday. The delivery and subsequent celebration was one of many holiday halts during WWI, including the famous Christmas Truce.

Why it changed the world: Even if it was for a mere 60 minutes, the shared dessert caused a brief window of time where warring soldiers saw each other as humans instead of enemies.

10. The Cake that Smuggled a Manuscript

In 1934, Jan Petersen wrote a fictionalized version of the violence that killed more than a dozen residents on the streets of Berlin. He called it Our Street: A Chronicle Written in the Heart of Facist Germany, and baked it into two cakes in order to smuggle it out of Germany. As he tried to cross over into Prague under the guise of going on a ski trip, SS guards stopped him and inquired about the strange size of the cakes. "Well, you know what women are, don't you?" Petersen told them. "I told my wife I was only going away for three days, but she would go and bake me two whopping big cakes. It'll take me a week to eat one." The machismo bluff worked, and Petersen was able to get Our Street out of the country.

Why it changed the world: Petersen's daughter believes his account helped the world realize what it was like inside Germany during WWII. "Too many people think the whole German population was in agreement with Hitler, which is not true at all," she said. "Also, so many young people today have no concept of the hardships and bravery shown by many people who were prepared to risk their own lives to prevent the rise of fascism—not just in Germany, but worldwide."

11. Cookie Monster Changes His Stance

For decades, Sesame Street's Cookie Monster devoured dessert at speeds that made competitive eaters wonder what they were doing wrong. Then, after 35 years of happily consuming carbs, the googly-eyed muppet abruptly announced in 2005 that cookies weren't going to be part of his daily diet going forward. "A cookie is a sometime food," he sang, while adults everywhere wondered what happened to their childhoods.

Why it changed the world: It didn't change the world so much as it showed us that the world had changed. It put the problem of childhood obesity at the forefront, and also showed us that even cartoons and puppets needed to model good behavior for kids (looking at you, Wile E. Coyote).

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The Best Pie in All 50 States
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Pi Day isn't until March 14, but there's another pie-centric holiday on the calendar. Pie Day falls on January 23, and we're sharing our picks for the best pie in every state. Whether you prefer a classic apple or go for more unusual flavors (raspberry rhubarb jalapeño, anyone?), celebrate Pie Day with one of these delectable options.

1. ALABAMA // PIE LAB

Location: Greensboro, Alabama

This trendy community space serves fried chicken salads and various wraps and paninis, but the highlight are their pies, made with exceptionally buttery crusts. Have a slice of coconut cream or chocolate chess pie while you enjoy good conversation and a friendly vibe. And if you have a hankering for a real taste of home, chef Seaborn Whatley says they'll even try to duplicate an old family favorite if you happen to have your grandmother's recipe book on hand.

2. ALASKA // BEAR TOOTH THEATREPUB

Slice of caramel turtle fudge ice cream pie.
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska

The Bear Tooth Theatrepub is more than a dine-in movie theater—it's also a restaurant, draft brewery, and concert venue all in one. But after you've finished off some fresh Alaskan fish tacos, save room for the caramel turtle fudge ice cream pie. Made with an Oreo cookie crust, the pie manages to perfectly balance chocolate fudge, vanilla ice cream, and smooth caramel.

3. ARIZONA // PIEFECTION

Slice of lemon meringue pie.
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Location: Mesa, Arizona

This pie-only bakery focuses on top-notch ingredients such as fresh whipped cream, wild blueberries, and bars of authentic Belgian chocolate. The country apple pie, made with cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg (and can be made gluten-free with a day's notice), is a real standout. Or, cool off from the Arizona heat with a slice of lemon meringue, topped with beautifully toasted, swirled meringue.

4. ARKANSAS // FRANKE'S

The sign for Franke's Cafeteria in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Harold Wright, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

Opened nearly a century ago in 1919, Franke's boasts three locations in Little Rock today. The cafeteria is popular for its burgers and candied sweet potatoes, and for its selection of outstanding pies, such as egg custard, chocolate cream, and sweet potato coconut.

5. CALIFORNIA // THE MADONNA INN BAKERY

pie from The Madonna Inn Bakery
Courtesy of The Madonna Inn Bakery

Location: San Luis Obispo, California

The whimsical Madonna Inn has provided rooms to travelers on California's Central Coast since 1958, and the hotel's bakery, situated inside the Copper Cafe, is an essential sweet stop along Highway 101. The magnificent pies come in flavors such as caramel Dutch apple, apricot, cherry, and cream cheese.

6. COLORADO // 3.14 SWEET & SAVORY PI BAR

Close-up of a pie.
Courtesy of 3.14 Sweet & Savory Pi Bar

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

3.14 Sweet & Savory Pi Bar is a fun bakery that pays homage to everyone's favorite mathematical constant. Pies here are creatively named; a few standouts are the Nutty Professor (peanut butter chocolate pie), I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts (coconut cream), and Wicked Southern Dutchman (Dutch apple pie with Kentucky bourbon).

7. CONNECTICUT // SIXPENCE PIE COMPANY

Slice of pie topped with bananas.
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Location: Southington and New Haven, Connecticut

Two friends who loved baking started Sixpence Pie Company at a local farmer's market, and have since opened two brick-and-mortar stores. Besides savory shepherd's pie and chicken pot pies, you'll find seasonal sweet pies and a mouthwatering sugar and spice pie, made with banana and Nutella.

8. DELAWARE // CANNON'S CUSTOM CAKES & BAKERY

Close-up of pecan pie.
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Location: Newark, Delaware

Since 1985, Cannon's Bakery has provided elaborate custom cakes for parties and special occasions, the result of mother-of-five Leah Cannon's well-known prowess at making cakes for friends and family. But you don't need a wedding or graduation as an excuse to take home one of the shop's delicious pies; pick up a pecan or apple pie, or a seasonal sugar-lattice fruit pie.

9. FLORIDA // JOE'S STONE CRAB

A slice of key lime pie.
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Location: Miami Beach, Florida

Back in 1913, Joe Weiss moved from New York to Miami to try to improve his asthma. The lunch counter he opened has morphed into a Miami Beach landmark that serves stellar seafood and perfect pies. Although key lime pie is the classic choice here, the chocolate pecan and apple pies are also marvelous.

10. GEORGIA // SUGAR SHACK

Slice of large chocolate pecan pie.
Courtesy of Sugar Shack

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

At this cozy coffee shop in a shopping center, you'll find dessert cases filled with tantalizing full and mini pies. The apple crumb and peach crumb pies are light and energizing, and the chocolate pecan pie has a richness that will make you feel sublime.

11. HAWAII // LEODA'S KITCHEN AND PIE SHOP

Rows of small chocolate macadamia nut pies.
Jennifer Cachola, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Lahaina, Hawaii

Located on the west side of Maui, Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop serves what it calls "glorified grandma comfort food." The macadamia nut chocolate praline and coconut cream pies are certainly comforting, in the way that only sugar and grandmas can be.

12. IDAHO // BIG CITY COFFEE AND CAFE

Cherry pie scone from Big City Coffee and Cafe
Courtesy of Big City Coffee and Cafe

Location: Boise, Idaho

Big City Coffee in the Linen District blurs the line between pies and scones with its spectacular cherry pie scone. The enormous creation is loaded with fruit and has a uniquely flaky, granular crust.

13. ILLINOIS // BANG BANG PIE & BISCUITS

Large crumb pie on a blue checkered background.
Courtesy of Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Stop at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Logan Square or Ravenswood for a tart apple cherry crumble pie or the best lemon pistachio pie of your life. Made with a shortbread crust, the pie contains lemon curd, buttermilk custard, and candied pistachios. The store also offers baking classes so you can learn to make your own pie creations at home.

14. INDIANA // MOM'S HOMEMADE PIES

Slice of gooseberry pie.
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Location: Kokomo, Indiana

Mom's Homemade Pies takes its name seriously. You won't find any mixers, which means that all the pie crust here is tender and silky. The gooseberry pie is loaded with fruit and the butterscotch cream pie will make you nostalgic for a simpler, sweeter time.

15. IOWA // DELUXE

Pies from Deluxe
Courtesy of Deluxe

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Deluxe is an adorable French bakery located just one mile from the Iowa River. The bakers here use fresh, organic local apples to make an excellent double butter crust apple pie, and the strawberry rhubarb pie is also noteworthy for its subtle balance of sweet and tart.

16. KANSAS // THE UPPER CRUST PIE BAKERY

Pie from The Upper Crust Pie Bakery
Courtesy of The Upper Crust Pie Bakery

Location: Overland Park, Kansas

Opened by two sisters and their mom, this neighborhood bakery delights visitors with its authentically Midwestern approach to pies. Although most people love the peach raspberry and coconut custard pies, don't overlook the yummy brown sugar buttermilk pie.

17. KENTUCKY // ANNIE MAY'S SWEET CAFE

Pie from Annie May's Sweet Cafe
Courtesy of Annie May's Sweet Cafe

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

All of the treats at this allergy-friendly bakery are free of soy, gluten, peanuts, and tree nuts. But what the pies lack in allergens, they make up for in bold flavor. The store's glorious fruit pies are simple, pure, and absolutely delicious.

18. LOUISIANA // COWBELL

Slice of apple pie with caramel drizzle.
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Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

This restaurant's name might make you think of the old Saturday Night Live skit, but once you dine at this dog-friendly eatery, you'll definitely say that you need more Cowbell. To chase the skirt steak or carne asada tacos, order the apple pie. It's served with crème anglaise and caramel, making for a tantalizing gustatory experience.

19. MAINE // TWO FAT CATS BAKERY

Close-up of a blueberry rhubarb pie.
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Location: Portland, Maine

Two Fat Cats Bakery is a truly special place devoted to baking pies (and other desserts) from scratch. Bakers hand roll every pie, use authentic New England ingredients, and advertise fruit pies based on the harvest months. For wild Maine blueberries, order the divine blueberry rhubarb pie in May or June. For this time of year? The Lemon Shaker or Bourbon Pecan pies will do the trick.

20. MARYLAND // RENATA'S TASTY BITES

Close-up of a decorative pie crust.
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Location: Columbia, Maryland

After moving from Croatia to the States, Renata Alanovic opened this delightful store in Columbia. Customers love her handmade sweet and savory pies and pastries, especially the wonderful cherry and pecan pies, all with extra embellishments on the crust.

21. MASSACHUSETTS // MIKE'S PASTRY

Takeout box at Mike's Pastry.
Kimberly Vardeman, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Multiple locations, Massachusetts

With locations in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, Mike's Pastry has a strong presence in the greater Bean Town area. Grab a few Nutella cannoli and chow down on a slice of authentic Boston cream pie while you admire the ricotta pie's flawlessly golden top.

22. MICHIGAN // SISTER PIE

Three decorative pies on a tray.
Courtesy of Sister Pie

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Sister Pie treats pie with the utmost respect. Bakers make the crust by hand with unbleached flour and French butter, and they source local ingredients at peak ripeness for pie fillings. The salted maple and honey lemon meringue pies will blow your mind.

23. MINNESOTA // THE BUTTERED TIN

The Buttered Tin pie
Courtesy of The Buttered Tin

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

This cafe and bakery in Lowertown serves coffee and pie that hit the spot when you need an extra boost to get through the day. You'll find different crusts made of butter, graham cracker, or sugar dough, and flavors range from a tart green apple to pumpkin chiffon.

24. MISSISSIPPI // WALKER'S DRIVE-IN

Two fried fruit pies.
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Location: Jackson, Mississippi

If you're in the Fondren arts district, you must head to Walker's Drive-In for a slice of the fried pie of the day. Depending on the day, you might enjoy an upside down blueberry pie or a chocolate pecan pie, served with bourbon vanilla ice cream.

25. MISSOURI // IT'S EASY AS PIE

Four pretty, mini pies.
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Location: Fenton, Missouri

If you find it hard to pick just one flavor of pie to eat, It's Easy As Pie has you covered. Order their Cutie Pies for a dozen assorted mini pies that will make your tastebuds ecstatic. Or get a whole bananas foster pie, which contains creme brûlée infused with dark rum.

26. MONTANA // BLACK CAT BAKE SHOP

Half of a huckleberry lattice pie.
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Location: Missoula, Montana

This charming family-owned bakery is popular for its stollen (a German fruit and nut loaf) and stupendous pies. The huckleberry pie earns raves for its effortless balance of sweet and tart flavors.

27. NEBRASKA // MODERN LOVE

Modern Love pie
Courtesy of Modern Love

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Three words: vegan comfort food. After you chow down on latkes, seitan gyros, or wild mushroom schnitzel, get ready for some of the best pie of your life. The apple ginger pie is served with a coconut whip, and the blood orange coconut cream pie is made with a snickerdoodle crust.

28. NEVADA // WET HEN CAFE

Large apple pie with a slice missing.
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Location: Reno, Nevada

Wet Hen Cafe is located in a nondescript strip mall, but don't overlook this homespun spot. Generously stuffed with apple slices, the apple pie is huge, heavenly, and served with cinnamon sauce.

29. NEW HAMPSHIRE // CHEZ VACHON

Cranberry pie with a bowl of cranberries beside it.
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Location: Manchester, New Hampshire

This superb restaurant serves heaping plates of poutine as well as a huge selection of fruit and cream pies. Highlights include the pistachio cream and cranberry walnut cheesecake pies.

30. NEW JERSEY // THE PIE STORE

The Pie Store pie
Courtesy of The Pie Store

Location: Upper Montclair, New Jersey

Anglophiles love The Pie Store for its impressive selection of British groceries. You'll find plenty of savory pies (shepherd's pie, chicken and mushroom) as well as spectacular sweet pies, like their key lime. They make their fruit pies, like the cran-apple or raspberry-blackberry-apple, with a double crust, or stop in Saturday or Sunday to get the weekend-only coconut custard and chocolate mousse pies.

31. NEW MEXICO // TUNE-UP CAFE

A strawberry rhubarb pie.
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

The husband-wife team at Tune-Up Cafe serves an eclectic mix of tamales, pupusas, and homemade, gluten-free pies. Order the pie of the day a la mode for a taste of blueberry, maple pecan, or strawberry rhubarb pie with vanilla bean ice cream.

32. NEW YORK // PIED PIPER PIES

pies from Pied Piper Pies
Courtesy of Pied Piper Pies

Location: Highland Falls, New York

At Pied Piper Pies, the crust is flaky and the filling is satisfying. Whether you sample a quiche, pot pie, or sweet pie, you'll be able to taste the care and love that goes into each creation. Pro tip? Get the Samoa or Snickers pies for a sweet blast of nostalgia.

33. NORTH CAROLINA // THE PIE HOLE

A slice of s'mores pie.
Courtesy of The Pie Hole

Location: Durham, North Carolina

With locations in southern California, Tokyo, and Durham, The Pie Hole has perfected the art of making pie. Toasted marshmallow creme, dark chocolate mousse, and a graham cracker crust comprise the stellar s'mores pie.

34. NORTH DAKOTA // MEZZALUNA

A piece of caramel apple pie.
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Location: Fargo, North Dakota

This upscale restaurant behind the Fargo Theatre is known for its filet mignon and insanely decadent desserts. The caramel apple pie is served with vanilla bean ice cream, but it's small, so you'll want to savor every bite (or order two).

35. OHIO // MAMA JO HOMESTYLE PIES

Slice of chocolate mousse pie.
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Location: Amherst and Medina, Ohio

If you don't appreciate lard's essential role in making the perfect pie crust, stay away from Mama Jo Homestyle Pies. For everyone else, enjoy a slice of Buckeye cream pie, which contains silky layers of chocolate and peanut butter mousse.

36. OKLAHOMA // THE MERCANTILE

The Mercantile pie
Courtesy of The Mercantile

Location: Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Hands down, the best pie in the Sooner State can be found at The Mercantile. This store and cafe owned by Food Network superstar Ree Drummond (a.k.a. the Pioneer Woman) serves exceptional pecan pie made with toasted Oklahoma pecans, brown sugar custard, and bourbon vanilla whipped cream.

37. OREGON // PETUNIA'S PIES AND PASTRIES

A sour cherry pie.
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Location: Portland, Oregon

This charmingly alliterative bakery makes small batches of vegan, gluten-free pastries using a blend of millet flour, almond meal, and flaxseeds. It's hard to pick favorites, but some of the best pies here are the lattice top sour cherry and double crust blackberry peach.

38. PENNSYLVANIA // OAKMONT BAKERY

Oakmont Bakery pie
Courtesy of Oakmont Bakery

Location: Oakmont, Pennsylvania

For 30 years, Oakmont Bakery has been famous for its Paczki (Polish stuffed doughnuts), but the homemade pies are in a league all their own. The Dutch apple seems like a must-order in Pennsylvania, but the spiky tufts on the coconut meringue are impossible to pass up.

39. RHODE ISLAND // THE WAYLAND BAKERY

The sign at Providence's Wayland Bakery.

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Pies at The Wayland Bakery come in eight-, nine-, or 10-inch pans, but when it comes to this 90-year-old bakery's pies, bigger is better. Standout flavors include sugar-free apple, coconut custard, and lemon meringue.

40. SOUTH CAROLINA // HAROLD'S CABIN

A slice of buttermilk pie.
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Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Located in a quiet residential neighborhood, Harold's Cabin is a restaurant and corner store with a small rooftop garden. Head there on a Saturday or Sunday for breakfast and enjoy sitting with other people who won't judge you for partaking in buttermilk or cranberry apple pie first thing in the morning.

41. SOUTH DAKOTA // THE PURPLE PIE PLACE

The Purple Pie Place pie
Courtesy of The Purple Pie Place

Location: Custer, South Dakota

The Black Hills region is famous for two attractions: Mount Rushmore National Memorial and The Purple Pie Place. Customers rave about the freshness of the blueberry pie and the creative mix of flavors in the raspberry rhubarb jalapeño pie.

42. TENNESSEE // PAULETTE'S RESTAURANT

A slice of chocolate whip pie.
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Location: Memphis, Tennessee

For four decades, Paulette's Restaurant has been a destination for fine dining and celebratory meals along the Mississippi River. Although the key lime pie is killer, get the Kahlua-mocha parfait pie. Nicknamed the K-pie, this extravagant dessert's crust is made with pecans and coconut.

43. TEXAS // PIE IN THE SKY PIE CO.

Pie In The Sky Pie Co. pie
Courtesy of Pie In The Sky Pie Co.

Location: Conroe, Texas

Drive 40 miles north of Houston, and you'll find Pie In The Sky Pie Co., a cafe and bakery that churns out a large selection of carefully curated pies. If you can handle the heat, get a slice of red hot apple pie, made with Red Hots cinnamon candies.

44. UTAH // THE DODO

A slice of Toll House pie at The Dodo.
Sam Klein, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Named after the extinct Mauritian bird, The Dodo serves humongous, heavenly slices of pie. Flavor options for the towering slices of pie include Toll House, banana cream cheese, and chocolate almond mousse.

45. VERMONT // THE HARTLAND DINER

A slice of cream pie.
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Location: Hartland, Vermont

Located on Route 5, this neighborhood diner is the perfect spot for a cup of joe and a slice of maple cream or chocolate cream pie. The servings are generous, including the giant dollop of whipped cream that practically hides the delicious pie underneath.

46. VIRGINIA // THE HORSESHOE

The Horseshoe pie
Courtesy of The Horseshoe

Location: South Hill, Virginia

If you're seeking the simple elegance of Depression Era pies—full recipes made with limited ingredients such as milk, sugar, eggs, and butter— head to this diner that has been open since the '30s. The former blacksmith shop now serves timelessly delicious buttermilk, brown sugar, and lemon chess pies.

47. WASHINGTON // SIMPLY SOULFUL

A slice of sweet potato pie.
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Location: Seattle, Washington

A family recipe for sweet potato pie inspired a mother and daughter to open Simply Soulful, a soul food and pie joint in Madison Valley. Sip espresso as you dig in to a sweet potato, apple, or mixed berry pie.

48. WEST VIRGINIA // OLIVER'S PIES

Oliver’s Pies pie
Courtesy of Oliver’s Pies

Location: Wheeling, West Virginia

Run by the Oliver family, Oliver's Pies makes handmade pies with the utmost care. The Dutch apple and peach pies are stuffed with fruit, and the chocolate peanut butter cream pie is rich and velvety.

49. WISCONSIN // STOCKHOLM PIE AND GENERAL STORE

Stockholm Pie and General Store pie
Courtesy of Stockholm Pie and General Store

Location: Stockholm, Wisconsin

Head to Stockholm Pie and General Store for an espresso bar, Wisconsin cheese, and pies galore. After chowing down on chicken pot pie, try the caramel apple crunch pie, which contains hand peeled and sliced apples, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel sauce.

50. WYOMING // THE PIE TIN

A slice of sour cream raisin pie.
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Location: Wheatland, Wyoming

You'll find cakes, cookies, and quick breads at this bakery and catering company, but the pies are truly special. The pumpkin and pecan pies are stellar, as are the more unusual butterscotch and sour cream raisin pies.

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The Best Apple Pie From All 50 States
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There are few things better than a slice of warm apple pie. Here's a roundup of the top pies from every state, whether you prefer yours à la mode, à la carte, or à la delivery.

1. ALABAMA // PIE LAB

Location: Greensboro, Alabama

At the Pie Lab in Alabama, baker Kelley Whatley mixes pecans into her apple filling to give the dessert an unexpected crunch. Her pies are good for the soul in more ways than one: All profits from the bakery are donated to a local charity organization that provides resources to the homeless.

2. ALASKA // TALKEETNA ROADHOUSE

The exterior of the Roadhouse.
mazaletel, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Talkeetna, Alaska

Somewhere between Anchorage and Denali National Park, a combination diner-hostel in the town of Talkeetna is serving up the best apple pie in the state. When the Talkeetna Roadhouse first opened in the early 20th century, they loaded up their horse and buggy with baked goods to bring to miners and trappers in the hills nearby. Today you’ll have to sit inside the actual restaurant for a taste of their apple pie. The item is so popular that the roadhouse even offers pie-making classes October through March.

3. ARIZONA // APPLE ANNIE’S

Apple crumb pie from Apple Annie's orchard.
Jessica Spengler, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Willcox, Arizona

The award-winning pies offered at Apple Annie’s are made with fresh, hand-peeled apples harvested from the family-run farm. After indulging in one of their homemade baked goods, visitors can roam the orchards and pick their own peaches, pears, and apples to take home.

4. ARKANSAS // MS. LENA’S

sour cream apple pie from Ms. Lena's
Courtesy of Ms. Lena's

Location: De Valls Bluff, Arkansas

If you pass by this roadside gem when it’s open on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, it’s worth making a pit stop. One of Ms. Lena's recurring specialties is a tangy, sour cream apple pie served inside a crispy crust.

5. CALIFORNIA // APPLE ALLEY BAKERY

A close up of red apples.
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Location: Julian, California

In a town that prides itself in being one of America’s premier pie destinations, Apple Alley Bakery is a local favorite. Their caramel apple pecan pie is topped with a healthy swirl of caramel and a sprinkling of crushed nuts. We recommend eating this with an extra napkin or two.

6. COLORADO // GRANNY SCOTT’S PIE SHOP

Caramel apple pie from Granny Scott's Pie Shop.
Courtesy of Granny Scott's Pie Shop.

Location: Lakewood, Colorado

Granny Scott’s Pie Shop offers as many as 25 different pie varieties on any given day. Their caramel apple is a standout—made with Granny Smith apples and European caramel, it took first prize at the National Pie Championships.

7. CONNECTICUT // ORONOQUE FARMS

Oronoque Farms apple pie
Courtesy of Oronoque Farms

Location: Shelton, Connecticut

Oronoque Farms got its start in 1949 as a humble stand selling pies on the side of the road. They’ve since grown into a full-blown bakery that uses fruit harvested from local orchards, including their own. Their classic apple pie was voted best in the state by Connecticut magazine.

8. DELAWARE // ARNER’S

French apple pie from Arner's Restaurant and Bakery
Courtesy of Arner's Restaurant and Bakery

Location: New Castle, Delaware

Arner’s Restaurant and Bakery has not one but three varieties of apple pie on their menu (four if you count the apple walnut cheesecake). Their French apple pie comes served with an artistic splatter of icing on top.

9. FLORIDA // THE GOOD PIE COMPANY

boxes of apple pie from The Good Pie Company
Courtesy of The Good Pie Company

Location: Davie, Florida

The Good Pie Company’s moniker is straightforward and incontrovertibly true: they do make a good pie! The Davie, Florida shop is run by married couple Frank and Marti Reich: he bakes the sweet pies while she tackles the savory ones. What’s the most popular menu item? The tried-and-true classic Apple pie, of course! They also make an Apple Cranberry pie; you’ll have to try that one on your second visit.

10. GEORGIA // SOUTHERN SWEETS BAKERY

Southern Sweets Bakery apple pie
Courtesy of Southern Sweets Bakery

Location: Decatur, Georgia

The apple pie at Southern Sweets is piled high with glistening slices of cinnamon-sugar-coated apples. The baked good’s description reads: “Doctors love this one. You will, too.” Now trying telling that to a medical professional with a straight face.

11. HAWAII // HAWAIIAN PIE COMPANY

A view of palm trees from beneath the trees.
iStock

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Apple pie cravings can strike anywhere—even on a tropical island. The family behind Hawaiian Pie Co. serves a menu of buttery, fruit-filled pies that are baked fresh daily. Tropical fruits like mango and pineapple are often highlighted, but it’s hard to beat Grandpa Yoshio’s classic apple pie recipe.

12. IDAHO // BRAMBLE

A photo of salted caramel apple pie from Bramble.
Courtesy of Bramble

Location: Boise, Idaho

Of the two dozen pies rotating through the menu at Bramble, the salted caramel apple is a customer favorite. The made-to-order pie service has plans to open a brick-and-mortar storefront in the near future. In the meantime, their pies can be found by the slice at select restaurants and coffee shops in the area.

13. ILLINOIS // HOOSIER MAMA PIE COMPANY

An apple pie from Hoosier Mama Pie Company.
Photo by Brian M. Heiser // Courtesy Hoosier Mama Pie Company

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Hoosier Mama Pie Company is a Chi-Town institution. For their flaky apple pie, the Ukrainian Village bakery sources apples from Ellis Family Farms in nearby Michigan.

14. INDIANA // APPLE WORKS

A picture of Apple Works's apple pie surrounded by apples and a container of sugar.
Courtesy of Apple Works

Location: Trafalgar, Indiana

According to their website, the Apple Works orchard was founded in the late 1980s “with the goal of raising the absolute best apples possible.” And that’s exactly what you’ll find in their outrageous double-crust apple pie. One Indiana travel site named the over-stuffed pastry the best apple pie in the state.

15. IOWA // DEAL’S ORCHARD

The exterior of Deal's Orchard.
Courtesy of Deal's Orchard

Location: Jefferson, Iowa

During weekends in the fall, visitors to Deal’s Orchard have the opportunity to take home one of the homemade pies baked from apples grown on the property. And if you’re looking for something to wash that down with, they also ferment their own hard cider on site.

16. KANSAS // THE UPPER CRUST PIE BAKERY

A tablespoon of grated nutmeg on a table surrounded by whole nutmegs and a grater.
iStock

Location: Overland Park, Kansas

The Upper Crust Pie Bakery is run by a pair of Midwestern sisters who grew up “privileged to know what real pie looks and tastes like.” For their take on apple pie, they use their grandmother’s recipe and add a bit of nutmeg.

17. KENTUCKY // HOMEMADE ICE CREAM AND PIE KITCHEN

The exterior of Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky.
HelloLouisville.com, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

The name says it all—if you’re in Kentucky, this is the place to come for ice cream and pie. Their award-winning dutch apple caramel pie almost looks too good to eat, but with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on top, it’s impossible to resist.

18. LOUISIANA // COWBELL

Cowbell's apple pie in front of a sign that says
Sara Essex Bradley

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

The menu at this gas station-turned-restaurant is as funky as New Orleans itself. For dessert, diners at Cowbell can order a slice of the scratch-made apple pie served with caramel and crème anglaise.

19. MAINE // TWO FAT CATS BAKERY

Pies on the shelf at Two Fat Cats Bakery in Maine.
Courtesy of Two Fat Cats Bakery

Location: Portland, Maine

Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland is Maine’s number one destination for classic Americana baking. Their seasonal apple pie, made with Cortland and McIntosh apples, packs enough flavor on its own without any fancy toppings.

20. MARYLAND // DANGEROUSLY DELICIOUS PIES

An apple pie on a teal tablecloth.
Maryland Science Center, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

You may not expect rock 'n' roll and baked goods to vibe together, but at Dangerously Delicious Pies they’re a match made in heaven. The Baltimore joint was founded by a musician with a passion for baking, and his dedication comes through in the ambitious menu. The apple crumb pie comes topped with a crunchy layer of brown sugar, oats, and butter.

21. MASSACHUSETTS // PETSI PIES

Didriks, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Somerville, Massachusetts

Petsi Pies describes themselves as an “indie” bakery and coffee bar serving up sweet and savory offerings to pie-lovers within walking distance of Harvard. When it comes to apple pie, patrons have their choice of salted caramel apple, apple crumb, or a classic apple pie with a pastry crust.

22. MICHIGAN // GRAND TRAVERSE PIE COMPANY

Location: Traverse City, Michigan

To create their beloved Apple Crumb with Pecan and Caramel, bakers at Grand Traverse Pie Company upgrade their Peninsula Apple Crumb pie with toasted pecans and a caramel drizzle.

23. MINNESOTA // RUSTIC INN CAFE

Rustic Inn Cafe
Courtesy of Rustic Inn Cafe

Location: Two Harbors, Minnesota

Rustic Inn Cafe offers up a caramel apple pecan blueberry gooseberry crumb. Overflowing with gooey, nutty filling, this dessert doesn’t skimp on decadence.

24. MISSISSIPPI // TOM’S FRIED PIES

iStock

Location: Richland, Mississippi

Sometimes the best pie is the one you can pick up and eat with your bare hands. That’s what customers get at Tom’s Fried Pies, and it doesn’t disappoint. In case a regular-sized fried pocket of apple pie filling isn’t satisfying enough for you, they also offer a super-sized “Big Guy Pie."

25. MISSOURI // THE BLUE OWL RESTAURANT AND BAKERY

tempest tea, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Kimmswick, Missouri

In many ways, The Blue Owl is your typical homestyle, Midwest restaurant. That’s why the appearance of this towering monstrosity on their menu is so alarming. The "Levee High Caramel Pecan Apple Pie" is made with 18 Golden Delicious apples sliced by hand and piled high inside a comical domed crust. The “world-famous” pie has been featured on Food Network and the Today Show and was chosen as one of Oprah’s favorite things.

26. MONTANA // LOULA’S CAFE

Location: Whitefish, Montana

The best pies in Montana can be found at the bottom of a historic Masonic Temple. The restaurant is run by friends Mary Lou Covey and Laura Hansen (the “Lou” and “La” of Loula’s Cafe). They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but their real specialty is their fruit pies—of which they sell 3000 to 4000 every year. You can’t go wrong with one of their four varieties of homemade apple pie.

27. NEBRASKA // STAUFFER’S CAFE AND PIE SHOPPE

iStock

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

This restaurant’s tagline reads: “Coming to Stauffer’s is like coming home to Grandma’s.” With a claim like that, you better have some amazing pie to back it up. Diners can order dutch apple, sour cream apple, caramel apple, or the familiar classic to satisfy their cravings for home cooking.

28. NEVADA // WET HEN CAFE

Several pies on baking racks.
Courtesy of Wet Hen Cafe

Location: Reno, Nevada

This cozy Reno cafe specializes in rustic comfort food with a French twist. But their famous apple pie, piled with tender apple slices and a crumbly crust, is all-American.

29. NEW HAMPSHIRE // RICHARDSON’S FARM

iStock

Location: Boscawen, New Hampshire

Plenty of farms sell pies made from apples grown on the property. At Richardson’s, they're also churning up their own homemade ice cream that’s perfect for scooping onto a slice of their warm apple pie.

30. NEW JERSEY // SWEETSBORO PASTRY SHOPPE

New Jersey
iStock

Location: Swedesboro, New Jersey

Sweetsboro Pastry Shoppe was founded in 2007 by two friends who grew up together in North Philadelphia and since transplanted to New Jersey, where they’re selling some of the Garden State’s best pies. The sugary lattice crust on their apple pie is good enough to eat on its own.

31. NEW MEXICO // RANGE CAFE

Apple green chile pie from Range Cafe
Courtesy of Range Cafe

Location: Albuquerque and Bernalillo, New Mexico

The apple green chile pie from Range Cafe is a uniquely New Mexican treat, topped with a piñon nut streusel for a slightly savory crunch. Try it with vanilla ice cream for added indulgence.

32. NEW YORK // FOUR & TWENTY BLACKBIRDS

Apple pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Daniel Zemans, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Brooklyn, New York

At this Brooklyn bakery it’s all about the pie. They source seasonal, local ingredients whenever possible and bake with natural, unrefined sweeteners. The salted caramel pie they serve is kissed with just the right amount of saltiness to make those classic flavors pop.

33. NORTH CAROLINA // SCRATCH BAKING

Apple crumb pie from Scratch bakery
Courtesy of Scratch Bakery

Location: Durham, North Carolina

The North Carolina apple crumb pie at Scratch Baking is a true southern treat. Owner Phoebe Lawless, a farmer’s market alum herself, works with local farmers and producers to get her hands on the best ingredients her community has to offer.

34. NORTH DAKOTA // TOWER TRAVEL CENTER

Apple pie from the Tower Travel Center
Courtesy of Tower Travel Center

Location: Tower City, North Dakota

A truck stop may not be the first place most people would go to for delicious pie. But the Tower Travel Center is no ordinary truck stop. The apple pie there is so tasty that it’s worth planning your road trip around it.

35. OHIO // JUST PIES

Apple pie from Just Pies
Courtesy of Just Pies

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Just Pies offers a full menu of award-winning pies, but their apple crumb is the most popular with customers. Baked with Jonathan and Spy apples, it’s finished with a layer of sweet streusel on top.

36. OKLAHOMA // PIE JUNKIE

Apple crumble pie from Pie Junkie
Courtesy of Pie Junkie

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The two women behind Pie Junkie in Oklahoma City make the blasphemous claim of serving up pies even better than their grandmas'. But they do give credit where credit is due: The high standards their grandmothers held in the kitchen continue to inspire them to bake top-notch treats, like their brown sugar and oat-topped apple crumble pie.

37. OREGON // RANDOM ORDER PIE BAR

Apple pie from Random Order
Chris Coyier, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Location: Portland, Oregon

This quirky neighborhood cafe does pies like no one else. For their award-winning version of apple pie, they toss Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples in a homemade caramel sauce and bake that inside a Tahitian vanilla sugar-salted crust. Excuse us while we look up the next flight to Portland.

38. PENNSYLVANIA // THE PIE PLACE

Apple pie from The Pie Place
Chris Winters, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Almost everything is baked from scratch using local ingredients at this hidden delight in Pittsburgh. The apple pies at The Pie Place have won awards, and you can choose from classic or Dutch apple; sugar-free versions are also available.

39. RHODE ISLAND // PASTICHE FINE DESSERTS

Dutch apple pie at Pastiche Fine Desserts
Courtesy of Pastiche Fine Desserts

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

The Dutch apple pie is a standout at this European-style cafe beloved by locals. The filling is a blend of sweet and tart apples from a nearby orchard, mixed with cherries and baked beneath an oat walnut crumb topping decorated with pastry leaves. It's almost too beautiful to eat, but somehow people manage.

40. SOUTH CAROLINA // KAMINSKY'S

Apple pie from Kaminsky's
Courtesy of Kaminsky's

Location: Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina

It's hard to choose among the fancy desserts and beverages at Kaminsky's cozy dessert cafe, but locals rave about the apple crumble pie, served with a heavy dollop of whipped cream as well as delicious ice cream.

41. SOUTH DAKOTA // THE PURPLE PIE PLACE

The Purple Pie Place, Custer, SD
Richie Diesterheft, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Custer, South Dakota

If you ever find yourself passing through Custer, South Dakota, this place will be hard to miss. Inside the Purple Pie Place's vibrant violet walls you’ll find the best pies in the Black Hills. The secret to their irresistible pies, including their classic apple, is in the crust. The recipe achieves the perfect balance of sweetness, and it’s a secret shared by only three people.

42. TENNESSEE // SWEET CREATIONS BAKERY  

Nashville, TN
iStock

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

The apple pie at this popular Nashville bakery is "a taste of Southern perfection," according to the menu. The filling of thick-cut apples and cinnamon is cradled by a lusciously flaky crust.

43. TEXAS // TOOTIE PIE CO.

Tootie Pie Co. apple pie
Courtesy of Tootie Pie Co.

Location: Boerne, Texas

The original apple pie at Tootie Pie Co. requires a healthy appetite, but Tootie’s most ravenous customers can sign up for their Pie Rollers Club and get a different flavor delivered to their door each month.

44. UTAH // THUNDERBIRD RESTAURANT

iStock

Location: Mt. Carmel, Utah

Surrounded by the breathtaking cliff faces of Zion National Park, Thunderbird Restaurant is worth a trip for the views alone. But their apple pie with rum sauce would be a knock-out dish served in any setting.

45. VERMONT // VERMONT APPLE PIE

Fall foliage in Vermont
iStock

Location: Proctorsville, Vermont

Vermont Apple Pie serves hungry locals from 8 a.m. til noon. And with a full bakery that includes their namesake apple pie, dessert is always an acceptable breakfast option.

46. VIRGINIA // MOM’S APPLE PIE

Fresh-picked apples in buckets
iStock

Location: Occoquan, Virginia

Opening a restaurant called “Mom’s Apple Pie” sets the bar pretty high for your signature dish. Thankfully, their homestyle pie made with Shenandoah Valley apples and just the right amount of sugar lives up to the name.

47. WASHINGTON // A LA MODE PIES

French apple pie at A La Mode Pies, Seattle, WA
A La Mode Pies

Location: Seattle, Washington

At A La Mode Pies, owner Chris Porter strives to reinvent his mom’s recipes using high-quality ingredients. His French apple pie is a Seattle treasure (with or without a scoop of ice cream on top).

48. WEST VIRGINIA // SUGAR PIE BAKERY

Apple pie, Sugar Pie Bakery, Charleston, WV
Courtesy of Tabitha Stover Photography

Location: Charleston, West Virginia

Sugar Pie Bakery bakes their items fresh from scratch every day using the finest ingredients. Customers can order everything from cupcakes topped with detailed fondant decorations to more rustic specialties like their apple crumb pie.

49. WISCONSIN // THE ELEGANT FARMER

The Elegant Farmer, Mukwonago, WI
Bev Sykes, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Location: Mukwonago, Wisconsin

It’s hard for anything not to taste great when it’s drenched in caramel sauce. In the case of the “Gourmet Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag" from The Elegant Farmer, the pie underneath is even better than the topping. Their unique paper bag baking method creates a perfectly flaky crust every time.

50. WYOMING // COWBOY CAFE

Apple pie from Cowboy Cafe in Dubois, WY
Courtesy of Cowboy Cafe

Location: Dubois, Wyoming

Don't miss this charming café on your way to Yellowstone National Park. The homemade warm apple pie—best with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top—gets rave reviews from visitors.

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