Five of America's Best Pies

From the July/August 2010 issue of National Geographic Traveler

Invented by the Brits in the Middle Ages, the modern pie has been wholeheartedly co-opted by Americans. Pull off at any roadside diner or farm stand (or even the streets of New York, where pie is making a resurgence), and you’re bound to find the fresh-baked pastry. Here’s where to tuck into some authentic standouts:

1. Blueberry Pie

Wild blueberries have adapted well to the harsh winters of Downeast Maine—the swath of coast from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border. Helen’s Restaurant in Machias uses a blend of fresh and cooked berries.

2. Chess Pie

A tribute to the resourcefulness of Southern cooks, it’s traditionally made with whatever is in the larder, such as sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Dixie Supply Bakery & Café in Charleston, South Carolina, adds cornmeal.

3. Key Lime Pie

More tart and perishable than its grocery-store cousin, the Key lime that grows throughout Florida’s island chain is the one ingredient on which everybody agrees. Pepe’s Café in Key West gets raves for its deconstructed concoction in a bowl.

4. Marionberry Pie

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The result of cross-breeding two types of blackberries in the 1950s, marionberries are the pride of Oregon, serving as state ambassadors in jellies and jams. The pie, however, is best consumed in situ, preferably with a scoop of ice cream at the Bipartisan Café in Portland.

5. Sour Cherry Pie

Sour cherries don’t travel as well as the ubiquitous bings. Sample them along the northern coastlines of Michigan and Wisconsin that frame Lake Michigan—where the tart red orbs are at their best inside a buttery crust from Sweetie Pies in Fish Creek, Wisconsin.

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