Monday, October 31, 2011


The pie counter at Blake's Orchard and Cider Mill. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Not that we can't eat pie any old time, but there's something about fall that has America clamoring for the stuff. Maybe it's because some of the country's most popular pies – pumpkin and apple, for instance – pair so beautifully with this most magnificent of seasons. Or maybe it's just that it's getting cold, and we're fattening up for winter. Something that can be easily accomplished with a fork, enough pie and a winning attitude. Here's where to stock up.

#1 Rock City Pies Ferndale
Twentysomething Nikita Santches has a lot going on – he's into personal cheffing, he's got plans to open a restaurant. He also makes pie. Which he sells at Ferndale's year-round, indoor Rust Belt Market, held every Saturday and Sunday. Follow Santches on Twitter – @RockCityPies -- to find out what he'll be bringing to the market. (Tweet at him if he forgets.) Try a slice of his salt caramel apple or buy the whole pie – if there's any left.

This Old Redford institution all ways fills us up with West Side love. Owner Cassandra Thomas began tinkering with the humble yam decades ago, baking them into cookies for her husband. Today, she's got sweet potato cakes (featured on the Food Network a few years back) cheesecakes, cobblers, ice cream – and pie, naturally. Get you some.  

#3 Achatz Pies Multiple locations
For many Detroiters, there's only one place for pie. This one. It's a chainlet of Metro area shops that saw its origins in the early 1990s as a little family business operated out of a home in Armada. Shelly's Pumpkin Praline are the three words you need to know when you hear those magic words, "Can I help you?" Where you go after that is up to you – not that there are all that many wrong turns. Tip: Buy direct from the store. They're better.

#4 Ackroyd's Redford
Aha, you say. Ackroyd's doesn't do pie. Not in the traditional sense, no. That is because Ackroyd's is not an American bakery, it is a Scottish bakery, and has been since before many of us were born (the 1940s). Times have changed, Redford has changed, but this little bit of the Auld Sod remains – hand pies (cheese and onion!) for starters, decadent butter tarts – let's call them tiny little pies – for dessert. That is what you do.

#5 Zingerman's Bakehouse Ann Arbor
You can't discuss pie in these parts and not talk about Zingerman's. (Yes, they crush in this category too -- it's enough to make us want to punch a wall.) Tucked away in a faceless industrial park on the southern end of town, this isn't tourist-land. This is strictly come in, get whatever, get out. Like, for instance pie. Glorious, glorious pie. Of all kinds. As you'd expect, ingredients are way up to snuff. So are prices. (Worth it.) 

BUBBLING UNDER Confections by Lynn (Ypsi), Blake's Orchard and Cider Mill (Armada), Grand Traverse Pie Company (multiple locations), Dexter Cider Mill (Dexter), Schmucker's (Toledo -- yes, Toledo)