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The White House Cook Book
The White House Cook Book

10 Odd Historical Hints for Preparing a Turkey

The White House Cook Book
The White House Cook Book

While making a full Thanksgiving spread today takes time, effort, and stress, it's a piece of cake compared to what people had to deal with before modern conveniences. Here are ten tips for cooking turkey the 18th- and 19th-century way that might seem a little strange today.

1. BURN THE HAIRS AND BREAK THE BREAST BONE.

Before the advent of the modern processed turkey—plucked clean, gutted, and rinsed, with gizzards and neck in a handy bag ready for making gravy—preparing the Thanksgiving turkey was not for the faint of heart. The Cook's Own Book by Mrs. N. K. M. Lee, published in 1832, gives a quick rundown of the steps:

To prepare a turkey for dressing, every plug is carefully picked out; and in drawing turkeys and fowls, care must be taken not to break the gall bag, nor the gut which joins the gizzard, as it is impossible to remove the bitterness of the one, or the grittiness of the other. The hairs are singed off with white paper; the leg-bone is broken close to the foot, and the sinews drawn out—a cloth is then put over the breast, and the bone flattened with a rolling-pin, the liver and gizzard, made delicately clean, are fastened into each pinion.

The breast bone was broken to give the turkey a rounder, fatter appearance. Today selective breeding has taken care of that, with modern birds weighing up to twice as much as the birds Lee would have worked with, giving them that desirable, Rubenesque form even before they make it to our kitchens.

2. USE BAKING SODA TO COUNTER BITTER GALL AND RIPE INTESTINE.

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The bitterness of gall, so ineradicable in 1832, was treatable by the time Marion Harland's Common Sense in the Household was published in 1884. The cure was the same thing that fixes pretty much every other household ill: a teaspoon of baking soda. Added to the next-to-last water rinse of the turkey cavity, baking soda could defunk even gall taint. The manufacturers who trademarked the Arm & Hammer line began selling bicarbonate of soda in 1846, so its deodorant properties were well-known four decades later.

Mind you, Marion Harland was appalled that such a step should even be necessary: 

There is no direr disgrace to our Northern markets than the practice of sending whole dead fowls to market. I have bought such from responsible poultry dealers, and found them uneatable, from having remained undrawn until the flavor of the craw and intestines had impregnated the whole body. [...] " But don't you know it actually poisons a fowl to lie so long undressed?" once exclaimed a Southern lady to me. "In our markets they are offered for sale ready picked and drawn, with the giblets—also cleaned—tucked under their wings."

3. AND 4. TWO HEART-BUSTING WAYS TO STUFF A TURKEY.

The White House Cook Book

Amelia Simmons' American Cookery, first published in 1796, was the first cookbook to embrace American cuisine as separate from British, with an emphasis on indigenous ingredients like turkey, corn, squash, and potatoes. It was so popular it was reprinted for 30 years under its own name and widely plagiarized under other names.

Ms. Simmons has two recommended turkey stuffings, the main difference being the saturated fat and the meat ingredient. No salted pork handy? Beef suet will do the trick.

Option 1: "Grate a wheat loaf, one quarter of a pound butter, one quarter of a pound salt pork, finely chopped, 2 eggs, a little sweet marjoram, summer savory, parsley and sage, pepper and salt (if the pork be not sufficient,) fill the bird and sew up."

Option 2: "One pound soft wheat bread, 3 ounces beef suet, 3 eggs, a little sweet thyme, sweet marjoram, pepper and salt, and some add a gill of wine; fill the bird therewith and sew up."

A gill is a quarter of a pint, which leaves a lot of wine left in the bottle for the cook who is most certainly going to need it. 

5. TURKEY STUFFING THE FORCEMEAT WAY.

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Forcemeat is fat, meat, and seasonings ground together into a smooth emulsion. Nowadays we see it in the form of pâté, mousselines, liverwurst, sausages, Spam, Spam, hot dogs, and Spam. Susannah Carter tells us in the 1803 edition of The Frugal Housewife how to stuff a turkey with forcemeat:

A turkey when roasted, is generally stuffed in the craw with forc'd-meat, or the following stuffing: Take a pound of veal, as much grated bread, half a pound of suet cut and beat very fine, a little parsley, with a small matter of thyme, or savory, two cloves, half a nutmeg grated, a tea-spoonful of shred lemon-peel, a little pepper and salt, and the yolks of two eggs.

6. GIVE THE TURKEY AN ENGLISH FLAIR WITH "BREAD SAUCE IN A SAUCE TUREEN."

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According to Mrs. Lee in The Cook's Own Book, if you're going with a forcemeat stuffing, then you must serve the turkey with a classic English delicacy, "bread sauce in a sauce tureen."

Put a small tea-cupful of bread crumbs into a stewpan, pour on it as much milk as it will soak up, and a little more; or instead of the milk, take the giblets, head, neck, and legs, &c. of the poultry, &c. and stew them, and moisten the bread with this liquor; put it on the fire with a middling-sized onion, and a dozen berries of pepper or allspice, or a little mace; let it boil, then stir it well, and let it simmer till it is quite stiff, and then put to it about two table-spoonfuls of cream or melted butter, or a little good broth; take out the onion and pepper, and it is ready.

7. STUFF IT WITH MASHED POTATOES.

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If you're not into suet, forcemeat, or salt pork, you could always "boil and mash 3 pints potatoes, wet them with butter, add sweet herbs, pepper, salt, fill and roast" the turkey with that instead. Why have your buttery, smooth, golden mashed potatoes as a side when you could just cram as much of it as necessary to fill the cavity of your 20-pound bird? That way you wouldn't even have to add any gravy to the potatoes since they'd taste entirely like turkey already.

8. DON'T FORGET TO FROTH YOUR TURKEY!

The Frugal Housewife asserts that "when your fowls are thoroughly plump, and the smoke draws from the breast to the fire, you may be sure that they are very near done. Then baste them with butter; dust on a very little flour, and as soon as they have a good froth, serve them up."

Why would you want "a good froth" on your turkey, you ask? According to An Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy by Thomas Webster and Mrs. William Parkes, published in 1855, all meat should be "frothed" before serving "to plump up the skin of meat or poultry, by which the appearance of the joint is much improved."

If encasing the turkey you just spent hours roasting to crispy-skinned perfection in a foamy blond roux just before serving doesn't sound "much improved" to you, you can kick it up a notch with other dredges like "flour and grated bread," "sugar finely powdered, and mixed with pounded cinnamon and grated bread" or "fennel seed, corianders, cinnamon, and sugar, finely beaten, and mixed with grated bread." 

9. SERVE WITH "CRAMBERRIES" AND MANGOES ON THE SIDE.

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Amelia Simmons suggests turkey be served "with boiled onions and cramberry-sauce, mangoes, pickles or celery." I don't know why we decided to standardize the spelling of cranberry with an n, because cramberries is clearly the empirically superior word. As for the mangoes, they were introduced to Britain's American colonies in the 17th century and were pickled, since the fresh ones couldn't withstand the long journey from the tropics. By the time American Cookery was written, pickled mangoes were so widespread that "to mango" was another word for pickling, as you can see in Simmons' "To pickle or make Mangoes of Melons" recipe.

10. DON'T SERVE THE DRUMSTICKS!

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"There are two side bones by the wing, which may be cut off; as likewise the back and tower side-bones: but the best pieces are the breast, and the thighs after being divided from the drum-sticks."
A New System of Domestic Cookery by Maria Eliza Rundell, 1807.

"Do not help any one to the legs, or drum-sticks as they are called."
Directions For Cookery, In Its Various Branches by Miss Leslie, 1840.

"The prime parts of a fowl are the wings, breast, and merrythought. The legs, except of young fowls, are considered as coarse. The thigh part, when separated from the drumstick, is sometimes preferred by those who consider the whiter meat of the fowl as insipid."
An Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy by Thomas Webster and Mrs. William Parkes, 1855.

"The lower part of the leg (or drum-stick, as it is called) being hard, tough, and stringy is rarely ever helped to any one, but allowed to remain on the dish."
The White House Cook Book by F. L. Gillette and Hugo Ziemann, 1897.

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holidays
See How Candy Canes Are Made
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According to legend, a 17th-century German choirmaster bent sugar sticks into shepherd’s crooks and gave them to children acting in his Nativity pageant as a treat for good behavior. Lo and behold, the world’s first candy canes were born.

Over the years, manufacturers have perfected their own methods of making the holiday treat. In the below video from Lofty Pursuits, a Tallahassee, Florida-based purveyor of hard candies, you can watch how the expert team of candy-makers turn seemingly everyday ingredients like sugar, water, and corn syrup into a sticky mixture. Gradually, the pliable concoction is folded, stretched, rolled, cut, and bent into candy canes—a mesmerizing visual process for anyone who’s ever sucked on one of the sugary confections and suspected it came from somewhere other than Santa’s workshop.

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Food
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

Pie Lab sign

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.
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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 "pie."
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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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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