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Jun 5, 2013 09:18 PM

Looking for the best pie in the Bay Area.

I know it sounds crazy but I miss Marie Callendar. Not because of the food, but because of the pies. Can anyone suggest a place where I can find a delicious pie with a flaky, buttery crust? East Bay preferred but San Francisco is an option.

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  1. Pie Tiessere@444 Oak st. (same as Nido's) offers flakey, crisp crusts with complex flavors in the fillings. haven't noticed much buttery crust though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: shanghaikid

      Jaynelle St. Jean of Pietisserie uses an all-butter crust. Her piecrusts are very, very fine. We often get the mini-pies just to get more crust - and with other vendors we just eat the fillings and toss the crusts away! But not Jaynelle's - her crusts are actually worth eating.

      The only flavors we don't care for are the custards; we find them a little sweet. Her fruit pies are like eating fresh fruit, just barely sweetened and cooked. The spicy apple and the strawberry/rhubarb made us and our friends swoon.

      Her coconut cream pie is literally, TO DIE FOR. As is the amazing blackbottom walnut, for nut lovers!

      I will say that if you like Marie Callendars and Nations pies, however, you have more of a sweet tooth than we do. We don't like super-sweet desserts of any type.

      Disclaimer: I occasionally provide Jaynelle with free Meyer lemons from our three trees, so we've gotten a couple of free pies in exchange. But 90% of the time we just stop by and buy an assortment of different flavors to try, since she changes the flavors every month.

      1. re: jaiko

        I tried her strawberry rhubarb mini pie this past Sunday. Filling was mostly over-thickened fruit puree, with several large lumps of cornstarch. No distinct flavor of either strawberries or rhubarb. Crust was fine, but not "to die for."

    2. Crixa Cakes in Berkeley, my favorite East Bay pie.

      2 Replies
        1. re: sundeck sue

          Recently had their apricot pie--which I didn't love--there was a gumminess to the filling and a muted apricot flavor. I asked one of the folks who works there about the lighter-colored part of the filling that I experienced as the source of the gumminess--he said it's just the juice from the fruit--no fillers.

          I'd schlepped a friend there--on her b'day no-less--saying these pies are the best. The mixed berry (can't recall the name they give to it) was quite good, though not brilliant. Apricot as described.

          Apricot is a tough fruit to find in full, deep flavor--so often, the ones you get even at great farmer's markets are just OK. Perhaps that's the problem here.

          I might even go farther, though, and propose that where Crixa shines, pie-wise, is fall-winter (apple, pumpkin) more than spring-summer.

        2. My fave pies are at Chili Pies & Ice Cream at Baker and Fulton in SF (601 Baker Street) The pies are hearty, the crust is flaky and the cardamom ice cream is terrific.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Cynsa

            seasonal now: Cherry Apricot Pie is now my favorite pie of the day

            1. re: Cynsa

              Last month I had a chance to share two different slices of pie from Chile Pies. They were radically different from each other even though they were both "apple". I liked the scant amount of sugar in these pies.

              The one with the reddish filling was apple and rhubarb in a vegan pastry crust. The apples were cut into firmish cubes. The stiff crust was flat and not flaky. Interesting, but not crave-worthy.

              OTOH, the green chile apple pie with the cheddar cheese crust was brilliant by all our measures. The interplay between savory and sweet hit a fine balance, cheese adding richness and just enough sugar offsetting the green chile heat. The apples were sliced thinly and packed into a dense layer. Crunchy streusel on top added a change-up in texture. Lovely buttery, crumbly crust, and the drizzle of red chile honey deepened the spicy kick.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Melanie, I love green chiles and apple pie (and apple pie simply must be accompanied by cheddar cheese IMO), but I had never heard of an apple-green chile combination. Now, I'm intrigued. I need to try this pie!

                Thanks very much for your post about Chile pies.

          2. Angeline's in Berkeley makes excellent pecan pie, as good as homemade.

            1. San Francisco's Three Babes Bakeshop makes some great pie. I particularly like the Apple and the Salty Walnut. There was a seasonal Apple/Toffee (?) pie last fall that was super. The fillings are flavorful and the crust is tender and flakey.