We polled readers and sampled slices from Pescadero to Palo Alto so you can leave dessert to the pros this year.
Short of March 14 for math nerds, Thanksgiving is traditionally the biggest day each year for celebrating and eating pie. And in my family, Thanksgiving pies are a big deal. We go all-out, baking my grandma’s pie crust recipe days in advance, blending an ungodly amount of Crisco into the dough before rolling it out, shaping it and baking it. The kitchen becomes a busy hub as we pack the crusts with various fillings – apple, pecan, chocolate pudding, and a favorite of mine, a blend of pumpkin and ricotta that bakes into a custardy-yet-textured consistency that goes perfectly topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a giant dollop of homemade whipped cream.
But the baking process is onerous (the crust dough has to be chilled for how many hours?!), and with so many top-notch pie places and bakeries nearby, it’s a great opportunity to impress friends and family and save some time by showing off your good taste rather than your baking prowess. Whether you’re looking for a tried-and-true classic, a gluten-free or vegan option or even a five-flavor flight of mini pies, there’s a pie on the Peninsula to meet your needs. Here are 12 different spots offering locally made Thanksgiving pies filled with everything from sweet potatoes to chocolate cream.
Heidi’s Pies, San Mateo
In our recent Instagram callout to readers to share where they’ll be getting their Thanksgiving pies, Heidi’s Pies was a crowd favorite. When it comes to selection, San Mateo-based Heidi’s Pies has an impressive array of flavors, from whipped cream pies and gooseberry and strawberry rhubarb fruit pies to specialty favorites like key lime, pumpkin cream cheese and pecan. A familiar local landmark since 1970 on El Camino near Highway 92, it offers all-day breakfast and diner fare and 24/7 hours.
Heidi’s Pies, 1941 S El Camino Real, San Mateo; 650-574-0505.
Maison Alyzée, Burlingame and Mountain View
This French patisserie recently opened a second location in Burlingame. Thanksgiving pies offered are pumpkin, pecan and apple, in 5, 6, 7 and 8-inch diameters. The pumpkin pie is made with a pumpkin spice custard and whipped mascarpone ganache and is topped with caramelized pumpkin seeds. The pecan pie is made with pecan cream and caramelized pecan, and the apple pie includes diced organic apples, a confit with cinnamon, mascarpone-whipped ganache and a housemade crumble, according to founder Laurent Pellet.
Shampa’s Pies, Pacifica
Shampa’s Pies stands out for its seasonal and cozy flavor offerings, including bourbon pecan pie, Guittard chocolate double cream pie and sweet potato Swiss meringue pie.
Shampa’s Pies are also sold Thursdays at the Daly City Farmers Market and Sundays at the Outer Sunset Farmers Market. The pie shop was founded by pastry chef, surfer and upright bassist Haruwn Wesley, who died in a tragic surfing accident in December 2020. The new chef is Wesley’s stepson, Cosmo Carvalho, who uses the same recipes for the pies. People should preorder online by Nov. 20 and are encouraged to pick up their pies before Thanksgiving Day.
Palo Alto Creamery, Palo Alto
Pick up a classic pie from Palo Alto’s nearly 100-year-old diner, Palo Alto Creamery. Whole pies come in apple, cherry, blueberry, chocolate, banana, key lime and chocolate pecan flavors yearround, and pumpkin pies are a seasonal specialty.
The Village Bakery, Woodside
Order a pumpkin, Dutch apple or bourbon pecan pie at Woodside’s The Village Bakery to celebrate Turkey Day. Sales end on Nov. 20, and preorders can be made on Eventbrite. Pies will be available for pickup on Nov. 23 and 24. Other baked goods for Thanksgiving are also available for purchase.
Pie Ranch, Pescadero
Lemon buttermilk, apple streusel, pumpkin and pecan pies are available at Pie Ranch. Gluten-free crust for the pumpkin and pecan pies is also an option for an additional charge. Preorders are due Nov. 18 and can be made at tinyurl.com/pieranch372; pick them up Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The French Spot, Belmont
This San Francisco pastry shop’s pop-up runs in both San Francisco and Belmont, albeit typically only on Saturdays. You can preorder 9-inch pies or a flight of five small pies of each of the flavors on offer: pumpkin, caramel apple, bumbleberry (a mix of berries), chocolate cream and sweet potato. Preorder by Nov. 22 and pick up in Belmont or San Francisco on Nov. 23 or 24.
Mademoiselle Colette, Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Redwood City
Mademoiselle Colette, which has locations in Menlo Park, Redwood City and Palo Alto (and is opening early next year in Atherton) is selling Thanksgiving tarts in apple, pecan and pumpkin flavors. These must be ordered 24 hours in advance. Only the Menlo Park location will be open Thanksgiving Day.
Fish Wife Sweets, El Granada
The pies on offer from Fish Wife Sweets – a cottage food operation soon to open a brick-and-mortar location in Half Moon Bay – are pecan, caramel apple and pumpkin. Preorders can be made on their website, and pickups are Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sweet Diplomacy, Los Altos
This gluten-free bakery has specialty Thanksgiving pies, including pumpkin and double-crust apple and the vegan and gluten-free pumpkin and Dutch apple pies. Preorder online at tinyurl.com/sweetdiplomacy357 at least 24 hours before noon on Nov. 24.
Alexander’s Patisserie, Mountain View and Cupertino
Six-inch apple, pumpkin and pecan pies are available for preorder via Tock. Pickups are at the Mountain View location on Nov. 22 and 23, and delivery options are also available.
Three Babes Bakeshop, delivery
While not technically located on the Peninsula, the shop delivers throughout the Bay Area through Good Eggs and Locale and is another reader-recommended choice. They’ve got the standards – pumpkin, bourbon pecan and apple – plus a gluten-free bittersweet chocolate pecan, a vegan blackberry crumble. They even offer a disc of dough or par-baked pie shell if you want to bake the rest yourself. They also ship nut pies nationwide.