Pies are the most classic of all desserts. But for some strange reason, they’ve never gotten the fashionable remodel that other desserts have (I’m looking at you, cronut, you overrated, pompous hybrid). I may be one of the few pie–thusiasts out there, and I can’t accept that. Am I really the only one who, as a little girl, daydreamed about her wedding, complete with a wedding pie? And mini wedding pies for party favors? Pies deserve more recognition, and with Philly’s crop of bakeries serving up wedges of perfection, they’re about to get it.
1622 South St.
Situated comfortably on 16th and South Street, Magpie is more of a cozy home than a bakery. Pie pans and bird nests hang on the walls, and aprons hang snugly on hooks. I slid onto a stool with a vague hangover and a desperate need for pie. But nothing—not even years of pie admiration and consumption—could have prepared me for my server to use an ice cream scooper to pile on neat domes of whipped cream onto my slices of Lemon Curd ($5.50) and Butterscotch Bourbon ($5.25). Yes, the whipped cream was that thick, and yes, there were tears on my end. The lemon curd was precisely what a lemon pie should be—crisp, tangy and bright. The crust was flaky and light, and somehow didn’t get soggy underneath the mound of creamy lemon above it.
The butterscotch bourbon reminded me a little of myself that day: it had the faint scent of alcohol, and wasn’t unhappy about it. It was rich and velvety, balancing the kick of bourbon with the caramel–y sweetness of butterscotch. My dining partner ordered the seasonal Cookies and Cream ($5.50), which was the perfect complement to the crisp, acidic lemon curd. We also tried one of their savory pies, a Broccoli Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Pot Pie ($9.50), which included a swirl of cheesy noodles housed in a flaky pastry bowl. The rich, creamy noodles (and broccoli, see, I’m healthy!) were the perfect antidote to the concerning amount of sugar I’d ingested.
700 Chestnut St.
While I do love a savory pie, you can’t quite keep me away from sweet ones. Jones is famous for their comfort food—their décor is cozy and eclectic, and they serve a meatloaf so homey I could’ve sworn I lived in that very restaurant. But their ultimate accomplishment is the Double–Crust Apple Pie ($7.50). True to its name, the pie is completely covered in a warm, buttery crust, top included. The crust is spectacular. It is swirled and carefully compact. It is sculpted by the pie gods. The dish is served with ice cream on top and running down its sides, melting down the warm exterior. The apples are just soft and tender enough, not rubbery, as some apples tend to get when baked. The pie is a perfect blend of contrasts: the pie is warm and the ice cream cold, the dough flaky and rich and the apples sweet and crisp.
More pies to try:
Stargazy, 1838 E Passyunk Ave.
Wishbone, 4034 Walnut St.
Fat Ham, 3131 Walnut St.