We’re all friends here, so let’s skip the empty promises and talk straight for a minute: If you don’t regularly make pies, your pie is not going to be a good pie. It’s quite possible that it will not even resemble a pie, let alone depart its fussy pie pan in tidy pie formation.
And let’s not even start on the bread and rolls, which are often forgotten (what will your sandwich go on the next day, hmm?)
No, well-meaning guests and hosts, baking is not for the weak. Do your entire dinner party a favor and let one of these fine bakeries handle things this year.
In addition to their tried-and-true classics,Magnolia Bakeryhas added three new pies to the family this year. Call ahead to order the Caramel Apple (it’s as gooey as it sounds), the Cranberry-Pear Pecan Crumble (which won the employee baking contest) and the crunch-topped Pumpkin Praline. Full disclosure: We’re cleaning out their stash of pumpkin spice whoopie pies, so get there early.
The only thing better than eating your favorite desserts this time of year is drinking them, but who wants all that sugar and artificial ingredients? But coffee isn’t the only seasonally flavored beverage around. TheDAVIDsTEAWinter Collection will transport you to a Sugar Plum Forest (visions dancing in your head optional – this blend is caffeine-free). Or savor the Apple Custard, a rich and creamy companion to your pie with golden raisins, chamomile and vanilla. For the oolong fans, Bubbie’s Baklava is a nutty treat with hints of rose and cardamom.
Pie enthusiasts, you’re going to want to have a seat. Not only doesBalthazarBakery(80 Spring St.) have the classics covered, but this year’s menu also includes the Maple-Pecan and Sweet Potato Pie (the two traditional fillings are layered together in the holiest of matrimonies) and the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. Daintier offerings include a tart sampler and their signature almond petits fours.
Breads Bakeryis up to the sweet challenge of the holiday, serving everything from the traditional pie trifecta (apple, pecan, pumpkin) to a fruit tarte and your new favorite, the Chocolate Caramel Pie that’s almost too pretty to eat — if you could only resist. They also have your sides covered, with a cranberry chutney and butternut squash puree. Closed on Thanksgiving day; place orders either at the bakery (18 E. 16th St.) or by phone at 212-633-BAKE.
Hill Country Pie Kitchen (345 Adams St., Brooklyn; 30 W. 26th St., Manhattan) will sit you down on Thanksgiving day (reservations can still be had in Brooklyn), or send you on your way with pies. And with their personal-size mini versions, everyone can have the flavor they like. Or, put another way, why have just pumpkin or just pecan when you can both?
French patisserieMille-Feuille(552 Laguardia Place and 2175 Broadway)is a holiday warrior – not only are they open on Thanksgiving proper (8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.), but they also have hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We’re going with the Pecan-Chocolate Caramel Tart, an Apple Cinnamon Crumble and, of course, a few macarons for the road.
Gone are the days when the girl your brother brought home was the only one with food restrictions.BabyCakes(248 Broome St.)has pretty much everyone’s lifestyles, allergies, diets and whining covered with a vegan, kosher menu that’s completely devoid of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs and refined sugar. In addition to the requisite pies (pumpkin and apple) pastry chef and owner Erin McKenna is also serving up a pumpkin crumb cake, pumpkin madeleines and a cranberry-apple “toastie” that will win over even the grumpiest of gluten-deprived hearts.
Blue Ribbon Bakery Market(14 Bedford St.) is your secret weapon, but no one has to know. In addition to the crowd-pleasing rye loaf, chocolate babka and challah doughnuts (run, don’t walk), you can also order a free-range Misty Knoll Farms turkey with cajun rub, stuffing and cranberry sauce, and side dishes like roasted Brussels sprouts and quiches. Order by Nov. 24 at noon.
Yes,Momofuku Milk Barhas brought back the infamous Thanksgiving Croissant for an encore. (Oh, you two haven’t met? It goes like this: stuffing-flavored dough, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, naptime.) As for the sweeter treats, this year’s specials include pumpkin pie cake and truffles, available for pick-up in all six locations as well as for online shipping.
Got someone not keen on the season’s flavors? Give them a tried-and-true classic in a whole new way with a Chocolate Chip Pie fromTate’s Bake Shop, where Kathleen King transformed her award-winning cookie into pie form. Serve it warm with a scoop of ice cream on top!Alsoat the Upper East Side’s Butterfield Market (1114 Lexington Ave.)