Ranking America's best mail-order pies

Bloomberg ordered pies from across the country and rigorously taste-tested them.
Mail-order pies tasted by Bloomberg staff. Bloomberg photo by Evan Ortiz

Thanksgiving is unquestionably America's greatest food holiday. Yet much of the meal invites controversy. Not everyone is a fan of roasted turkey. Stuffing ingredients are contentious. The debate over the proper potato to mash - regular or sweet - will outlive us all.

Less controversial is the question of pie. We may quibble over the specifics - fruit vs. custard, or whether pecan should be accompanied by chocolate - but there's generally more of a willingness to come together over a truly spectacular dessert.

To find the pies that bring everyone to the table, Bloomberg sampled top desserts from across the country. Then food editor Kate Krader, with the help of a ravenous newsroom, picked her favorites.

10. Babka Pie, Breads Bakery, New York$52.95, shipping around $29.95

Krader: "Not everyone considers this a pie, but it's shaped like one and it's definitely the best chocolate babka around. Slathered with Nutella and studded with chocolate chips, it has incredible layers and levels of chocolate. Forgo the fork and knife, and pull it apart with your hands."

Newsroom: "One of the best babkas I've tasted. Dough is nice and crispy, not gooey." "Buttery goodness." "Not a pie. Still would eat a lot of this."

9. Brown Bag Apple Pie, Elegant Farmer, Wisconsin $29.99, shipping from $15.84

Krader: "It's got a great rustic look, not just because it's shipped in a faux torn brown paper bag. This one is notable for big chunks of apples and the upper crust, which looks like someone took a jackhammer to it. The pie is sweet and a little doughy. Be warned that it has to be finished off in the oven before serving."

Newsroom: "Tastes homemade. Apples retain nice texture." "Crust is incredible. So crispy."

8. Four Berry Pie, Achatz Pies Armada, Michigan $49, free shipping

Krader: "This pie has supergood berry flavor: tart with a mix of sweet and tart fruit. Crust is solid, especially for a mail-order pie. It has a great homemade look. Fun fact: The people who make it are distant relatives of Michelin-starred chef Grant Achatz. At less than $50, it's a great deal in the world of mail-order pies."

Newsroom: "Not too tart, not too sweet. Berries didn't melt." "Very fresh and well-balanced! Lots of cinnamon. Tastes like homemade, but better."

7. S'mores Pie, Butter & Scotch, Brooklyn $40, shipping from $35

Krader: "This is like candy as pie-my platonic ideal of a s'more. The graham cracker crust holds together, the custard is sweet but balanced, and the toasted marshmallow topping is divine. It also happens to have the perfect ratio of crust to filling to topping."

Newsroom: "Marshmallow topping gives it perfect sweetness." "Standard chocolate pudding, but love the gooey marshmallow." "More subtle than actual s'mores, but not too unlike s'mores."

6. Pumpkin, Sweetie Pies, Napa Valley, Calif.$39.95, shipping from $29.95

Krader: "Some pumpkin pies are too sweet, others too custardy, others too spiced. This is none of those: It tastes like it was made from pumpkin, in a good way. It also looks adorable, with little cutout leaves on top. But it may not be the best traveler. Our sample arrived with some cracks in the crust-which is good if you want to pretend you made it yourself."

Newsroom: "Absolute perfect pumpkin pie." "Basic, but fine."

5. Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie, Gramercy Tavern, New York $79, free shipping

Krader: "Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group has gotten into the mail-order pie game in conjunction with Goldbelly. This offering from the company's restaurant Gramercy Tavern is pie for grown-ups. It's decadent but not too sweet, with thick custard and vanilla bean speckled whipped cream. The best part may be the crust, made with layers of crushed chocolate cookies and caramel-like hazelnut praline."

Newsroom: "YES. Dark deep chocolate flavor, yum. Textures contrast-crispies are like the only good layer in a Carvel ice cream cake, but the rest is much higher quality." "Like all good Halloween candy at once."

4. Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Brooklyn $79, free shipping

Krader: "A perfect pie even for someone like me, who doesn't love apple pies. The apples are tender but not mushy, with a slight, spiced buttery caramel sheen. The crust with an oversize basket-weave top is perfectly golden and brushed with a caramel that's just the right side of salty."

Newsroom: "This is the apple pie I was born to eat." "The balance in this salted caramel is perfect."

3. Sour Cherry Pie, Bubby's, New York $65, free shipping

Krader: "A gorgeous tart cherry filling that's just a little sticky. The crust is outstanding, baked dark but still flaky due to a high lard content. It also happens to be picture-perfect, with the bubbly red fruit peeping through the crust."

Newsroom: "Amaaaaazing. The crust is perfect-thin and shattering. Super sour and bitter with a hint of almond." "The cherries made my mouth do backflips."

2. Nutty Honey Pie, Emporium Pies, Dallas $99, free shipping

Krader: "For anyone who loves peanut butter, this pie comes straight from heaven. It's got a creamy, intense peanut butter filling with a dome of whipped cream and chopped salty honey-roasted nuts. The crust is graham cracker, which is exactly what you want here."

Newsroom: "Like a fluffy cloud of nuts." "This pie was so good that I told other people it was bad in the hope that there'd be more left for me." "Holy moly. Amazing. Winner."

1. Pecan Pie, Goode Co., Houston $42, shipping from $10.50

Krader: "This pie is going into my dessert hall of fame. The nuts are perfection, toasted crisp to both enhance their sweetness and keep them from falling into that soggy pecan pie vortex. There's a generous amount of buttery custard, rich in brown sugar. The crust holds up just long enough to contain the pie, then melts in your mouth."

Newsroom: "Definitely one of the best pecan pies I've ever had, and I've had many." "I would lick this off the floor. Custardy. Crunchy. Perfect."

For those who eat with their eyes: Levee High Apple Pie, Blue Owl Bakery, Missouri $94.95, shipping from $40

Krader: "This is a pie made for social media, stacking up about 1 foot high, weighing in at 10 pounds, made from 18 apples. The pie isn't bad-it's actually well-spiced with cinnamon, and the fruit slices are meticulously packed. But at $135 including delivery, it's not a great investment. The filling isn't tender enough, and the crust is doughy."

Newsroom: "Underwhelming apple flavor." "Slightly bland? Also, the crust was underbaked."

This article was written by Kate Krader, a reporter for Bloomberg.