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Best (restaurant) desserts in Texas?

Which specific desserts are must-tries, in your opinion? I'm looking for down-home, fancy, nouveau, old-school—all types of desserts are welcome, but I'm especially interested in trying those sweets that you could only find in Texas, or the South more generally. Any part of the state: small towns, big cities, east, west, border . . .

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  1. I think Pecan Pie is a true Texas dessert. A truly good piece has lots of nuts and is sweet but not over the top. Now I'm hungry for pie!

    1. Well, I do like the mammoth cake selection at La Duni in Dallas, but they're not very "Texan."

      Honestly, you can't go wrong with a nice bourbon-pecan pie from HEB's Cental Market.


      1. Well I think it's weird that *every* restaurant has bread pudding as a dessert.

        1 Reply
        1. re: luniz

          Well, not every, but most of them do.


        2. Sorebt tasting and passion fruit souffle at The Mansion

          pear toban yaki at nobu

          Banana buenelo at Cuba Libre

          Donuts and Smores at N9ne

          Moonpie at Pappas Brothers

          Madilines at the now closed Standard

          Rocky road ice cream cookie at jaspers

          2 Replies
          1. re: ssh

            How could I forget!! Brown bag apple pie at Perry's!!!

            1. re: ssh

              I definitely love the moonpie at Pappas, also the desserts at the Asian Mint are pretty good as well

            2. Though not "Southern", any of the cakes at La Duni
              Pies at Celebration restaurant
              Pecan pie from Whole Foods
              Heaven and Hell cake at Stephen Pyles
              Chocolate cake at Hibiscus
              Key Lime Pie, if they have it, at Houstons restaurant
              Cobblers at Dickey's or Sonny Bryan's
              Some of these are not particularly "Southern", but are my favorites here in Dallas

              1. The banana-pudding at Pappadeaux........in a word.....perfection!

                1 Reply
                1. re: monad

                  Speaking of Banana's, that Banana Pie thing at al Biernat's.


                2. The South is known for its pies and one of the best and most lauded pie purveyors in Texas (in the US for that matter) is Royer's Round Top Cafe in Round Top, TX
                  It is an out of the way drive between Austin/San Antonio and Houston but they do ship.

                  Another Texas classic is Collin Street Bakery and their fruit cakes (I know fruit cakes get a bad rap but you have to try Collin Street's before you right off fruit cakes all together)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bhutani

                    Do they have a good chocolate (like tollhouse) pie?

                    1. re: captainshen

                      Royer's is famous for their chocolate chip pie which has been featured in USA Today before. I actually haven't had it though, but have had the pecan pie which I thought was outstanding.

                    2. re: Bhutani

                      Don't forget that Collin Street, although famous for their multiple types of fruitcake, also makes excellent pies! They make a most excellent deep dish pecan pie, numerous flavors of bundt cake (cherry red velvet and triple chocolate are my favorite!), and my favorite.. the key lime pie (actually a key lime cheesecake)...

                    3. Can't go wrong with a Cookie Monster for $3 and some change at Cheddars!

                      1. The coconut cream pie at Kitchen 1924 in Dallas' Lakewood neighborhood is OUTSTANDING.

                        1. Houston - Dulce de Leche Bread Pudding at Hugos, "Tour of Blueberry" at Marks. Really anything at Marks. All cakes and ice cream at Chocolate Bar.

                          1. Not really southern but I enjoy fried ice cream from Cafe Adobe in Houston, tiramisu from Maggianos, tres leches cake from 100% Taquito in Houston. They are all awesome. Oh my!

                            1. I also agree with the cakes at La Duni. They are amazing, especially the Nutella Milk Chocolate cake. Not Southern, but simply amazing.

                              I would also recommend the coconut creme pie at both Mama's Daughters' Diner and Babe's. No matter how full I am at Babe's, I always get some pie...if there's any left.

                              1. I guess I'm focussing on the idea of specifically Texan desserts...

                                How about Pecan Pralines? That's pretty area-specific, especially since Texas and Louisianna have different approaches. I think my favorites are from RJ Shonuff in Dallas - they have several different varieties. They're served as dessert in a number of restaurants, so they still qualify as a restaurant dessert, I think. The pralines at Mi Tierra in San Antonio are very good too, as are the other Mexican sweets there - caramelized yam and caramelized orange spring to mind.

                                Another dessert that I think of as being particularly Texan is skillet-fried apple pie a la mode. They do a tasty version at Z-Tejas in Austin. I remember eating it at the Elite Cafe in Waco when I was a kid, but it looks as though the place has been gussied up - in with the Portobello mushroom, out with the skillet-fried apple pie, drenched in hot butter and melting blue bell ice cream. Madness.

                                The lemon meringue pie is not a peculiarly Texan dish, but it's certainly a southern dish, and the version they serve at S&D Oyster Bar in Dallas is exemplary. Platonic, even.

                                Someone mentioned banana pudding already, but it deserves a second mention. Certainly southern, if not specifically Texan. My favorite version is at Vern's, in Dallas, but I haven't sampled them widely, and claim no expertise on the subject.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: ratatosk

                                  In Houston Hanks Ice Cream has a banana pudding ice cream flavor. its really good even if it has a tad too many nilla wafers in it.

                                  1. re: jscarbor

                                    I have to agree with Hanks on Main St.. I have not had the banana pudding ice cream but their other flavors are also very good. Its homemade too.

                                    1. re: jaime24g

                                      Try Sam's (not the wholesale store) in Fairfield, TX for really good pies. The lemon meringue, coconut creme and chocolate pies are delicious. But if you want to get one of those, call ahead because they only make a certain amount each day.

                                      1. re: j.r.searcey

                                        Wow, I didn't know Sam's in Fairfield had pies! I love their tuna salad sandwich because it also has egg in it and I can never decide between egg salad and tuna fish so this one solves it - it's got both!

                                        I love lemon meringue pie - I'll definitely try it next time I stop in there. It's about the half way point from Dallas to Houston. Thanks!

                                        Dessert Recommendation: A most edible bread pudding with a buttery bourbon sauce can be found at Big Easy in Plano, TX.

                                        1. re: Miss Picky

                                          My friend swears by their beignets as well

                                2. Gotta add the warm buttermilk pound cake with dulche de leche ice cream, caramel drizzle and fresh berries from Angela's Bistro 51 in Dallas. Also, I definitely agree with the suggestion of the warm madeleines with ice cream from the now closed Standard restaurant in Dallas. Anyone know if the chef, now at the Mansion, will prepare them there?

                                  1. I see that bread pudding desserts have been mentioned often. I like the white-chocolate bread pudding at the Ruggles Cafe in the Rice Village. I also have tried the desserts at La Duni in Dallas, and must agree with the other ChowHounds, they are amazing!

                                    The Empire Cafe (Westheimer St., Houston) also has a Hummingbird Cake that is a common southern thing... sometimes they have Red Velvet cake too. However, their selction rotates so they do not always have the same cakes for sale.

                                    As for pecan pie, I'm a native Texan and I have eaten a great deal of pecan pie over the years. Sadly, I have to say that not one ever measured up to a pecan pie that comes out of a home kitchen (well, provided that you know what you're doing when it comes to the art of pie making). IMO, the restaurant and bakery pies never use enough pecans, or the pecans are not meaty and flavorful. Then other times the pie is just way too sweet to even taste the other flavors that should be there. Guess you could say I'm too uptight about my pecan pies...?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Jayro

                                      I felt exactly the same way about pecan pie, until I tasted the one at Whole Foods...Give it a try and tell me what you think!

                                      1. re: jinet12

                                        Okay... Thanks for your suggestion. That is the one place I haven't tried! How I forgot about that place, I'll never know.

                                    2. Neither are terribly Southern, but my favorite desserts are Gingerbread from Kirby Lane in Austin, and Cheesecake from the Kangaroo Court Pub on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.
                                      I've lived in Houston, Austin, & Dallas and still driven to San Antonio from all of 'em when I've had a cheesecake craving.

                                      Mother Mesquite's in Dallas used to have fab pecan prailines, but I haven't been there in years.

                                      Any dessert at Meyers in Elgin is worth having: banana pudding, pecan pie, cherry pie, etc. (save room after the sausage!)