5 Reasons Why Pie Is the Best

In case you need one.

Blueberry Pie with Rye Crust
Photo: © Con Poulos

Pie is the best dessert. I don't even think this is a hot take. I love brownies, eclairs and ice cream, too, and acknowledge that cake is pretty good most of the time and that cookies are fine if there's nothing else around to eat.

But pie! It's the perfect dessert. Here are five reasons why.

1. Pie is seasonal bliss for the best kind of celebrations.

Strawberry rhubarb and peach berry for your Fourth of July picnic. Pumpkin and apple on your Thanksgiving table. Pie is a reminder of nature's bounty.

Every summer, I go to the North Fork of Long Island, where I buy fruit pies for family gatherings and for impromptu pie-tasting parties and to eat by myself in the middle of the afternoon while everybody else is at a winery or at the pool. The best way to acquire pies in the North Fork is visiting farmstands like Hallock's Cider Mill and Schmitt's, where pie isn't about frills. (The famed Briermere's cream pies are overrated and too sweet, BTW, but that's a hot take for another day.) It's about taking the freshest ingredients and letting them shine.

2. Pie gets you to eat fruit even when you don't like fruit.

Confession: I am not a big fan of fresh fruit by itself. But fruit pie is my favorite food. The transformative power of baking and the right amount of sugar and a salty-sweet crust turns berries and stone fruit into something otherworldly

"One of things I love about pie is it's my favorite way to present fruit," says Shannon Swindle, the pastry chef at Craft in Los Angeles, who always has a pie on his dessert menu.. "There's no better way to showcase fruit."

And fruit pie, of course, makes people think about family and love and a simpler time.

"It's nostalgia for everyone even if it's in a fancy restaurant and we sort of elevate the presentation," Swindle says. "Pie has that meaning."

© Con Poulos

3. Pie is also the best breakfast food.

Think about this: fruit, flour, salt, sugar, butter. How is this not exactly what you want to eat every morning? Substitute fruit for chocolate cream or honey and almonds, and it's still obvious that pie is an improvement over pancakes.

4. Pie encourages creativity.

Not to diss cookies too much, but turning what you bake into different shapes doesn't count as innovation. Pie is about a higher degree of difficulty and layers of flavor, thinking about what's good at the market, coming up with unlikely combinations and balancing sweetness and saltiness and tartness.

For Pi Day at Craft in Los Angeles, Swindle's got a lemon and passionfruit cream pie with citrus and cilantro-lime sherbet. His past offerings have included a Concord grape streusel pie with peanut ice cream (a peanut butter and jelly riff, of course), as well as a huckleberry and cranberry pie with pecan streusel and burnt cinnamon ice cream. I guess I should point out here that the fact that pie pairs so well with ice cream means you can eat two kinds of dessert at the same time.

"Texture and temperature," Swindle says, when I ask why pie and ice cream are so happy together. "It's buttery and flaky and hot and cold, and it's magical."

For Pi Day, Paley in Hollywood is turning a bar cart into a pie cart. Fruit pies with an a la mode option include cherry pie featuring tart preserved Morello cherries. There's also Dutch apple pie, chocolate-hazelnut pie, key lime pie and individually sized banana cream pies. Pie, you see, is about trying harder.

5. Because pie followed by pie is a great meal.

You know what's good before pie for dessert? Shepherd's pie or chicken pot pie or steak-and-Guinness pie or lobster pot pie. Craft's Pi Day extravaganza features a savory pie with ricotta, delicata squash, beet greens and bacon. Pie is comfort. That moment when you realize you can eat pie after eating pie is everything.

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