Here in the Midwest, we love our pies! And, while we don’t want to brag, it’s tough to find better pies anywhere else in the country.
The best holiday pies in the Midwest can be found in states ranging from Wisconsin to Kansas to North Dakota. Midwesterners have access to the finest, tastiest, and most belly-filling pies in the United States. In fact, possibly the entire world (again, not bragging, just stating the facts!).
These pies bring our families together during the holidays. And they also help us get through the frigid, wind-swept Midwestern winters. So whether you are purchasing a pie for “Friendsgiving” or baking a pie for a family Thanksgiving feast, here are the best pies in the Midwest.
Option 1: Go Forth and Buy Your Pie!
Not up to baking a pie this year? No problem! Here are some of the top places in the Midwest to purchase a world-class pie for a holiday gathering.
Ox Yoke Inn – Amana, Iowa
The Amana Colonies comprise a collection of small towns in Iowa and were settled by German immigrants who were attracted to the region’s fertile rolling hills. Today, the area is a popular tourism destination, particularly for the Octoberfest and Christmas celebrations.
In Amana, you’ll find the Ox Yoke Inn. Here is where the sour cream raisin pie is one of the most popular options. Sour cream raisin pie consists of a pie shell with a creamy filling that hides sweet raisins. And it’s topped with fluffy meringue for the perfect texture and taste.
Stauffer’s Cafe & Pie Shoppe – Lincoln, Nebraska
Just how fancy is Stauffer’s Cafe & Pie Shoppe? Well, aside from the extra “p” and an “e” at the end of “shop,” this little “shoppe” has been named one of the top Nebraska locations for pie with a huge selection of these baked goods presented in their locally-famous display case.
Stauffer’s offers a variety of pies that can be ordered online. There are even gluten-free and reduced-sugar pies available for holiday eaters.
The Upper Crust – Overland Park, Kansas
Pie fans in the Kansas City area know of a little spot in Overland Park. This place is a southeast suburb, where they can order some of the finest pies in the entire country. They also know to order early, as this small team of pie makers at The Upper Crust only makes a limited number of these delicious baked treats.
Customers are encouraged to order as quickly as possible. Upper Crust starts taking Thanksgiving orders on November 1st, and because its pies are in such high demand, they are not available for walk-in customers. The only way to get one of these special pies for your party is to place an order through the website. Once your order is in, the team will make sure you get a fabulous finisher for your holiday feast.
Option 2: Bake It Yourself! (You Can Do It!)
Feeling ambitious? Make a DIY homemade pie!
Let’s look at three classic Midwestern pies. One uses homegrown Midwestern ingredients, another uses store-bought filling, and the third is a sour-and-sweet yet under-appreciated Midwestern secret.
No matter where you live in the Midwest, there’s an apple orchard not far from your home. Apples are best in the fall, when there is a huge harvest of every variety, from sour to sweet. Perhaps you participated in the Midwestern ritual of apple picking this year. If so, you can turn those apples into the quintessential American (and Midwestern!) dessert: apple pie.
There are numerous apple pie recipes, but most start by mixing sugar, slices of butter, cinnamon, and apples in a bowl. A pie crust is then laid on a pie plate, and the mixture is poured inside. A crust topping is added, and an egg wash (beaten eggs and water) is brushed on to give the crust a golden glaze. It’s baked at about 450 degrees for roughly 15 minutes and set to cool for about ten (agonizingly scent-filled) minutes.
To make an excellent apple pie, use firm apples and drain the mixture of excess liquid before pouring it into the pan. This will help you avoid making a runny apple pie (you want apple pie, not apple mush!).
Can you have a Thanksgiving party without a pumpkin pie? In the Midwest, that could be a punishable crime!
Pumpkin pie is one of the most popular pies in the country, and it’s also surprisingly easy to make. Even if you’re a cook who could burn a bowl of cereal, you can probably handle a pumpkin pie. Most use about five ingredients that are whisked together and poured into a pie crust, baked, allowed to cool, and served with whipped cream.
Buying pie filling makes this kind of pie even easier to make, but if you want to make a stand-out pumpkin pie, there are plenty of customizable options and ingredients. Nutmeg, bourbon, vanilla extract, and (for a challenge) a custard base can all be worked into your homemade pumpkin pie.
If you drive down a Midwestern highway, you’ve passed large patches of wild rhubarb, probably without even knowing it. We won’t recommend stopping on I-80 to cut rhubarb, but a stop on a Midwestern country road can yield one of the most popular pie ingredients in the Midwest. Like a few of our fellow Midwesterners, rhubarb is sour and looks funny, but it makes some of the best pies you can imagine.
Rhubarb pie is made using a similar process as apple pie. A pie crust is laid on a plate, and then a mixture of rhubarb, sugar (lots of sugar!), flour, and butter is spread inside. After adding the pie top, it’s baked until golden brown.
Rhubarb is naturally sour, so making the perfect pie is tricky. To cut through the sourness, don’t skimp on the sugar. Also, fresh rhubarb can give off a lot of juice; many recipes recommend egg-washing the bottom crust to keep it from getting soggy.
Why Are Midwest Pies The Best?
Midwesterners know the value of pies. Whether these festive desserts are made with apples from the local orchard, rhubarb from your neighbor’s garden, or pumpkin filling from Hy-Vee, a good pie can be a wonderful way to celebrate and connect with your loved ones.
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