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LA Pumpkin Pie Pursuit Report -- 2012

I've been reading all the reviews on various pumpkin pies on this site. This year, we are having Thanksgiving, and I have determined to have the best pumpkin pie served to our family. I had my share of pumpkin pies, and in the past we always had either Marie Calendars or Pollys. They are not bad, but they didn't knock my socks off either. So after reading all the posts about the great pumpkin pies around town, I tried a few of them myself, and here is my report.

Grocery Store pie -- standard filling made from generic can stuff, generic "pumpkin pie" flavor (kind of bland). Crust is dry and no flavor, the edge is especially dry, hard, super bland.

Costco -- The filing is moist, but little sweeter. Still had that "generic out of the can" flavor and texture. Crust is a standard pie crust, soggy in the middle (due to the size of the pie) and way too thick and dry at the edge. I can't make myself eat the edge crust, it is waaay too thick and dry.

Euro Pane pumpkin bar -- Pretty dissappointing. Maybe ok as a bar, but definitely not a good replacement for a pumpkin pie. The filling to crust ratio is wrong. The filling is sweeter than other pies, and while the crust is absolutely yummy as a bar (shortbread crust) it overpowered the whole bar. I also didn't like the texture of the filling, which was similar to a lemon bar.

Pie and Burger -- Pretty good. It is a notch above grocery store and costco as well as Pollys / MC. The filling is creamy, good distinct spice flavoring, slightly burnt filling at the edge which gave that beautiful brown color, great buttery pie crust, not too thick, not too thin, not soggy at the middle, almost a perfect simple pumpkin pie.

Suzie Cakes -- Very light. Both filling and crust were very light. Crust had a subtle gingery aftertaste, the filling is creamy yet not too sweet, perfect filling to crust ratio, and I usually don't eat the crust edge but this one pie I ate every single bite. It was so light and refreshing.

Urth Cafe -- OMG. This is definitely an experience of a lifetime. This pie is not in the same category as any other pie. First of all, it is intimidating, this is a deep dish pumpkin pie. Grahm cracker crust. The filling is creamy, dense, very flavorful spice that lingers. Perfect harmony with the crust and whipped cream. I am in full agreement that this might be the best pumpkin pie in LA.

So..... I ended up getting the Suzie Cakes pumpkin pie. After thoughtful consideration, Urth Cafe pumpkin pie might be a little too heavy after a full Turkey Mashed Potato Stuffing dinner, my family might appreciate the lightness of Suzie Cake pie better.

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  1. Susiecakes makes great pie. I especially love their apple. I liked Urth... but it didn't blow my socks off like I had hoped. Two other recommendations...

    Homeboy Bakery -- Sometimes they bring these pies to their farmers markets, but its best to call and order and pick up. REALLY great pie for a good price.

    Ugo in Culver City -- Everything there is Meh. Well, 99.9% of things because they make a truly OUTSTANDING pumpkin pie. Seriously, everytime I walk past it this time of year, I have to force myself NOT to walk in and buy a slice...

    --Dommy!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dommy

      Having so many slivers if bad pie today made me realize of my other two favorite pumpkin pies, although they are cheese cakes...

      Surfas Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberries -- Great light texture, strong spice level and that hit of cranberries keeps it from becoming too heavy.

      Harriet Pumpklin Praline Cheesecake -- The Ultimate in Pumpkin indulence. You seriously have to prepare yourself for the bliss of having a slice of this cake...

      --Dommy!

    2. The Pie Hole in DTLA makes a good pumpkin pie.

      I'm still partial to Costco, however. It's the everyman pumpkin pie ... The Wrangler Jeans of pumpkin pies, if you will.

      8 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Just having re-freshed my taste on the Costco Pie (Gotta love work pot lucks...)... It definately had a better taste than any of the supermarket pies (This sample included Ralphs and Trader Joes as well). The filling is well spiced and the texture very creamy and light. The only reason why it's not my favorite and I don't bring it to my dinner is the crust is horrible. It's HUGE and the crust, especially the bottom crust just SOGS under all that filling. It has no clear butter flavor or flavor of anything for that matter (which I guess is better than that burnt shorting taste I got from the Ralphs pie... UGH!). I would rather scoop out the filling and then put it in my own mini pie shell.

        --Dommy!

        1. re: Dommy

          I second that crust comment about Costco pie. There are only two things on a pumpkin pie, the filling and the crust. Therefore how good a pumpkin pie is should be 50% determined by the crust. It is hard to make that big of a pie, with good tasty crust, though.

          1. re: NerdyEater

            In an ordinary pumpkin pie, you have the filling and the crust.

            With The Filling Station pumpkin pie, you have this ethereal layer between the crust and filling (what is that? marzipan?) which is one of several elements that kicks the pie to another level.

            Mr Taster

            1. re: Mr Taster

              Just googled and found out ownership changed two years ago!! Where exactly have I been?

              http://www.professorsalt.com/index.ph...

              Has anyone tasted the pumpkin pie since the ownership changed hands? The last time I made it was before the handover.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                The Filling station has a graham crack crust... a SUPER hard one which is absolutely bullet proof.

                I haven't had it since the change of ownership,, it's not a cheap pie and also HUGE. I had so much left over the one year I got it, I have been afraid to buy it again... & I don't do desserts for pot lucks...

                --Dommy!

                1. re: Dommy

                  The great thing about The Filling Station pie is that it impresses non-chowhounds and chowhoundly coworkers alike (especially if you work next to Marie Callander's!) The sheer massive size impresses the rank and file while the chowhoundly types will appreciate the quality, flavor and construction of the thing.

                  I don't know how much they charge for it now, but when I first started buying it, it was only $20. It went up in price later to $25. But considering the sheer massiveness:quality, it always struck me as an incredibly good value.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Really... I remember paying something like $45 for that thing... Hmmm... Maybe my memory is failing...

                    My CW are more impressed that I can cook vegetables and quinoa properly at home. I leave the extravagant dessert buying to them...

                    --Dommy!

                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      i still have yet to try filling station's but i did make a call a week prior to turkeyday this year. according to the one i spoke with the recipe remains unchanged, price is $25.

          2. Frozen pie: My pick goes to Trader Joe's.

            1. I know Hof's Hut makes some amazing boysenberry pie, fresh peach, fresh strawberry, banana cream etc., never had the pumpkin but you should check them out.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Burger Boy

                I had the most perfect pumpkin pie at Porto's last week. If I have ever had a better one I sure don't remember it. (BTW they are closed the day after Thanksgiving)

                1. re: SIMIHOUND

                  I second that...Porto's pie is terrific...the crust is actually crisp, not soggy. And a bargain, as is most stuff at Porto's, at $9.00.

                  1. re: manku

                    BTW. I called them and they said the pumpkin and apple are seasonal pies and will be available until the end of December. I am getting both for a family meal on Saturday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

                    1. re: SIMIHOUND

                      Followup-They were sold out of pie at 2pm on Saturday after we waited in very long lines. They said to come back in a few hours which was not possible for us. I still hope to get my pie before Xmas though. I will go back mid week.

              2. Why no mention of The Filling Station in old town Orange?

                Mr Taster

                2 Replies
                1. re: Mr Taster

                  We heard about the filling station's pies. The in laws are bringing their apple pie for Thanksgiving. I heard its gigantic.... Will update the report after the dinner!

                  1. re: NerdyEater

                    We pick up our pumpkin pie every year from Filling Station. I am not allowed to Thanksgiving without this pie. Mind you Thanksgiving is at my house and I also do the vast majority of the cooking.