What is the greatest pie of all time?
The pecan pie may be the smallest and most innocent looking pie on our list, but it’s also the one that packs the biggest punch – in terms of both calorie count and richness. The origins of this pie are uncertain, but the most popular view is that French settlers in New Orleans retooled a different molasses-based treat; choosing to include the pecans given to them by local Native American traders. The pie is made almost entirely out of molasses and sugar and packed full of swanky pecan nuts. A single slice tips the scales at over 500 calories, and would probably be enough sweetness to last a week. However, the flavor it brings is also incredible, and you can experiment with different sweeteners and spices to control how it presents to the palate. By far this is the pie that offers you the most bang for your buck.
Origin: North America | Season: fall, winter | Holiday: Christmas, Thanksgiving | Connotation: Southern hospitality, holidays | Fun Fact: French settlers in New Orleans were said to have invented it after getting pecans from Native Americans
Calories per serving: 503 | Primary ingredients: pecans, corn syrup | Styles: honey, syrup, molasses, or sugar based | Pairings: whipped cream, vanilla ice cream
Key Lime Pie
Another innovative and refreshing classic, the key lime pie relies on science and technology to pack its punch. The delicious thickness and incredible creaminess of the lime filling is caused by a chemical reaction between the key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk. The origins of this pie are not completely clear, but the first to take credit for the recipe was a famous botanist in Key West Florida named Jack Simons. Legend has it that a ship salvager first came up with the recipe, when his cook was at a loss as to what to make for dessert and made it for him from local limes.There are also many possible innovations with this pie, like the graham cracker crust or going with a lighter and fluffier toping. What makes this treat so great is how enjoyable it is at any time of year, and the tartness that each bite brings.
Origin: Key West Florida | Season: spring, summer | Holiday: Easter | Connotation: summertime, refreshment | Fun Fact: The chemical reaction between lime juice and milk causes the pie to thicken.
Calories per serving: 452 | Primary ingredients: pie shell, key lime juice, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk | Styles: graham cracker or regular pie crust | Pairings: no pairing necessary
This all-American mark of wholesomeness got a badass makeover in the 1980s when hair metal band Warrant wrote “Cherry Pie”. The song ushered in a new world of sexual innuendo surrounding the iconic fruit pie. Whether you’re into the tempting aspect of this treat or it makes you think of Grandma’s house, you probably agree on its delicious flavor. The cherry pie is usually made with a latticework or closed top, and can be made with either fresh or canned cherries. All in all, the sweetness and tartness of this treat will take the edge off of any hot summer day.The cherry pie was innovated as a rich treat in Germany and Austria, and also in North America, as settlers tried to find a way to make desserts using the new resources they had to work with.
Origin: Germany, North America | Season: summer | Holiday: Fourth of July | Connotation: America, independence, sexuality | Fun Fact: Warrant made it famous with their song "Cherry Pie".
Calories per serving: 390 | Primary ingredients: pie crust, cherries | Styles: open-faced, crust on top, lattice | Pairings: whipped cream, vanilla ice cream
Another down-home favorite is the peach cobbler, an absolutely divine pie innovated in the United States during colonial times. Early settlers were seeking a way to make a desert as rich and filling as the creamy, custard-based treats they were used to, but with limited supplies of dairy. They discovered that the peach was a pretty hearty and filling fruit, and when canned and sugared, it made an absolutely delicious pie that would supplement any meal. The pie also utilizes some unique spices, and pairs excellently with ice cream or whipped cream.This definitely gets a vote for being unique flavor-wise and for being great comfort food.
Origin: North America | Season: spring, summer | Holiday: Easter | Connotation: America, Southern hospitality, summertime | Fun Fact: Originated in the American Colonies when British settlers struggled to find a dessert replacement with less dairy.
Calories per serving: 419 | Primary ingredients: pie crust, fruit filling | Styles: several topping variations | Pairings: vanilla ice cream
Lemon Meringue Pie
This pie is one of the only desserts that actually goes well with the hotter days of summer, but it’s delicious for any time of year if made correctly. Lemon custard has been very popular for hundreds of years, and with the innovation of meringue-making techniques in the 19th century, a mindblowing, face-meltingly-good combination was born. This pie tops off a simple crust with gooey lemon goodness and either a light and fluffy or whipped meringue. One of the most interesting things about this pie is that it’s all about texture – the meringue doesn’t necessarily have much taste, but the mouth feel when paired with the tart lemon custard is to-die-for. This makes lemon meringue pie a foodie favorite as well as an all-time classic desert.
Origin: France | Season: spring, summer | Holiday: Easter | Connotation: fancy dessert, summer refreshment | Fun Fact: Lemon custard is ancient, from Medieval times, but meringue is from the 19th century.
Calories per serving: 81 | Primary ingredients: shortbread pastry, lemon curd, meringue | Styles: soft or stiff | Pairings: no pairing necessary
Chocolate Cream Pie
This pie is a basic innovation on the cream pie, but that simple cocoa addition makes all the difference. The cream pie dates back hundreds of years to Europe, and many variations, such as coconut, banana, and vanilla, have been made over the years, but by far the most respected and revered is chocolate. Eating this pie is like enjoying the richest chocolate pudding-like concoction along with graham cracker and usually a meringue or whipped topping. Throwing chocolate shavings on top of the pie makes it even richer. This may not be the most loved or revered pie in America, but it if you’re in the mood for an intense dessert then this is bound to please – who doesn’t love chocolate? All in all, this is a perfect dessert for any time of year if you’re in the mood for something hearty.
Origin: France | Season: winter | Holiday: Christmas | Connotation: Pie in the face, Christmas | Fun Fact: The common thread among all cream pies is the whipped topping.
Calories per serving: 380 | Primary ingredients: pie shell, milk, cream, eggs, chocolate | Styles: meringue or cream topping | Pairings: whipped cream, chocolate shavings
“American as apple pie” is a phrase that originated for a reason – nothing brings back memories of home quite like this classic treat. I challenge the world’s most seasoned foodie, someone who has tried delicacies from around the globe, to turn down a fresh piece of homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream after Thanksgiving dinner. The spices used to get the precise apple flavor are delicious, and slight variations on the amount added can change the experience. While this pie is definitely one of the most basic favorites, somehow the perfect pairing of flavors never gets old. Although today apple pie is thought of as a sweet classic, a staple that can’t be touched, apple pie used to be totally different. The original recipe in Europe did not call for sugar, and was usually served with sharp cheese, as more of a savory pie. Although this is a far cry from the way apple pie is enjoyed today, a dinner slice of apple pie does sound pretty good. Old apple pie recipes also called for other fruits, such as figs, raisins, and pairs. Today, it still stands the test of time as one of the best pies out there.
Origin: England | Season: fall, winter | Holiday: Christmas, Thanksgiving | Connotation: America, comfort food, holidays | Fun Fact: Apple is the state pie of Vermont.
Calories per serving: 265 | Primary ingredients: cooking apples, sugar | Styles: Dutch, Swedish | Pairings: whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, cheddar cheese
Another all-time classic pie is the pumpkin, the quintessential pie of both Halloween and Thanksgiving. This hearty pie was first made in America as part of fall feasting and festivities, and has since given rise to a wonderful world of delicious pumpkin treats (pumpkin lattes and beers anyone?). And the dirty little secret with all the variations is that that they really channel the flavor of Pumpkin Pie, not the squash of the same name. Although some tend to look down their nose at the pie for its old fashioned flavors and the canned pie filling that many use to make it; new spice innovations, homemade recipes, and unique pairings can completely change the experience. One of our favorite Halloween traditions is pie making after the Jack-O-Lanterns have been carved. A fresh piece of warm pumpkin pie with roasted seeds on the side is simply heaven on Earth.
Origin: North America | Season: fall | Holiday: Thanksgiving, Halloween | Connotation: Thanksgiving dessert, made following the carving of a Jack-O-Lantern | Fun Fact: Native to North America - originated with Mexicans and Native Americans, pilgrims brought it back to England
Calories per serving: 323 | Primary ingredients: pie shell, pumpkin, eggs, condensed milk, sugar | Styles: fresh or canned pumpkin | Pairings: vanilla ice cream, whipped cream
This awesome treat was invented in Maine, and it now the official dessert of the state. Fresh blueberries baked into a delicious crust is both refreshing and filling on a hot summer day. Add a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream and you've got pure pie nirvana. Usually this concoction has a latticework of full crust cover, but occasionally, for a slightly healthier option, it is open faced. This pie is delightful as a rich top-off to a meal and a tart finish to the sweetness of the ice cream and pie crust. It’s also a North American staple and a very original pie, albeit one that will turn your mouth blue while eating it.
Origin: North America | Season: Spring, Summer | Holiday: Fourth of July, Easter | Connotation: Summer relaxation | Fun Fact: Official state dessert of Maine.
Calories per serving: 360 | Primary ingredients: blueberries, sugar | Styles: crust on top, open-face or lattice | Pairings: vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt
Another slightly underrated, but altogether delicious pie is the custard. This is one of the world’s oldest pies, since custard is such a classic and ancient desert, and all it takes to make the treat is a custard filling. Adding a caramel drizzle will give even more depth to every bite of the pie. Browning the pie on top also gives just the right combination of crunchy and sweet consistency. Although this pie is very rich, made with multiple eggs, it is actually not very sugary, and fairly low in calories. While this might not be the most dynamic flavor, the complexity in every bite makes up for it, and this certainly deserves a place in the pie hall of fame.
Origin: France | Season: fall, winter | Holiday: Christmas, Thanksgiving | Connotation: Pie in the face, comfort food | Fun Fact: Invented by the ancient Romans, custard used to be considered a health tonic
Calories per serving: 220 | Primary ingredients: pie shell, custard | Styles: chess or coconut custard | Pairings: caramel sauce, spice
GOAT Staff Score - PieThe candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
|Foodie Rating (20%)||Popularity (20%)||Flavor (20%)||Cultural Significance (15%)||Innovation (15%)||Years off your life (10%)||Raw Score||GOAT Score|
|Key Lime Pie||10||3||8||1||10||9||41||675|
|Lemon Meringue Pie||9||5||5||2||7||2||30||535|
|Chocolate Cream Pie||8||2||10||3||2||6||31||535|