Thanksgiving is THURSDAY!!! This is not a drill! Have you thawed out your turkey? Are the potatoes done? OMG WHAT ABOUT THE PIE.
I'm sorry, I take food very seriously. Thanksgiving is the mecca of all food celebrations and I just want to make sure I have the BEST of everything. With that being said, did anyone else notice just how quickly this momentous holiday snuck up on us? It feels like we just got done celebrating Halloween.
If you're like me, you like to make things as simple as possible. If I can make something more efficient I will, so I decided to find the best store bought Pumpkin Pie you could get. I went and bought 5 different pies from the most popular grocery stores in the area. I based my opinion on cost, creaminess, crust and overall feeling of heavenly bliss. (That last part might not be legitimate as a basis for judgement but oh well)
Let's look at the contenders!
I decided to go with Aldi, Target, Trader Joe's, Jewel Osco & Bang Bang Pie.
But Bang Bang Pie isn't a grocery store! You are correct, but it is supposedly the best place to get pie in the city so I included it in my taste test.
If you haven't been shopping at Aldi you might want to start! This convenient and economically priced grocery chain is my go to when it comes to getting my basic groceries done. Not only are they reasonably priced, but they also have a huge selection of organic and healthy food options. Aldi is the ultimate example that healthy doesn't always have to mean expensive. Now they don't only sell healthy food, you can also find a wide variety of delicious treats like their Village Bakery Pumpkin Pie.
At $2.96 this pie is the cheapest in our taste test. The pie crust is very traditional, flaky and with just the right amount of sweet. The texture of the pie is creamy, without any overpowering spices. It pairs well with whipped cream (but really, what doesn't go good with whipped cream?) and a nice hot cup of coffee.
Ah Target. There's not much I don't love about you. With your amazing Spot's Corner, the adorable kitchen and home ware, the well designed store. I love it all, so of course I stopped at my local one (fun fact, I have always lived 5 minutes away from a Target, they're everywhere! ) and picked up one of their pumpkin pies.
Market Pantry (Target's bakery name) pie comes in at $5.45, not bad for a whole pie. Right away you'll notice that this crust is definitely not as flaky as the Aldi one but still pretty good. I was a little dissapointed with the filling. It was missing something, maybe more cinnamon? More nutmeg? More flavor I guess? Overall, not a bad pie, just nothing overly special.I give this pie a 3 out of 5. Its ok Target, I still love you though.
I was pretty excited to try the pie from Trader Joe's. I don't think I've ever had a bad pastry from this magical and friendly place. Also look at that label, adorable! This beautiful pie cost $6.99, so it's definietly a little price-ier (that's a real word right? ) than the last 2 but still within reason. Flaky crust? check. Golden filling? check! First bite? Woah, too much nutmeg! Have you ever had something with too much nutmeg? It makes my nose burn a little. Now don't get me wrong, this pie was still really good. Especially with whipped cream! I think it just had a little bit too much nutmeg for my liking, but I get that other people really enjoy that. After all, nutmeg and cinnamon are basically Fall in Spice format. I would give this pie a 4 out 5.
Growing up Jewel Osco was THE place to get pie, but that's probably because it was cheaper here than most other places. At $5.99 it's not a bad price at all. I have a confession, I might be a little biased when it comes to Jewel pie. I am in love with their crust! Think Betty Crocker pie crust, traditional, flaky, buttery tasting and good enough to eat on its own. The filling wasn't too bad either, very creamy and a good balance of spices. For me, a good pie starts with a good crust, so I'm pretty head over heals for this one. I'd be willing to give this pie a 5/5 and be done with the taste test, but the staff wasn't too eager to crown Jewel as the winner. So again, I might be biased, but this crust is to die for.
Overall, the pie was pretty good. Creamy filling and flaky crust. Price was ok too but I still have to give this one a 4 out of 5 rating. Like the Target pie, there was somethign missing in the filling, I can't tell what, but it needed that extra umph. (see I'm not totally biased)
Bang Bang Pie Chicago
Alright I have some pretty high expectation of Bang Bang Pie. I've heard from MULTIPLE sources that they are THE PLACE to get your pie from. Walking in I was definitely impressed, their little cafe smelled amazing! Customer service was friendly and helpful and the coffee I bought wasn't too bad either. However, when I went to order my pie I was completely shocked at the price. Coming in at $26, this pie is way more expensive than any of the other pies in our list. But hey, its the best pie in the city right?
Let's talk about the crust. I was pretty surprised when I opeend up my pie to find a graham cracker crust instead of your traditional one. Interesting! The pie itself was also much darker in color compared to all the other pies. I took my first bite and wow. That graham cracker crust was really good! I'm not going to lie, I had my doubts, when I think graham cracker I think cheesecake but it totally worked here. It wasn't dry at all and tasted just like a cookie crust. The filling is probably one of the creamiest fillings I have ever had. You know when something is so creamy you need to drink some milk or something immediately after? I don't mean this in a bad way at all, I actually really like that feeling (weird yes I know). This pie was definitely delicous, but the price? I just don't get spending more than $10 on a pie, and I just didn't taste anything that warranted a $26 price tag. Because of that I have to give this truly yummy pie a 4 out of 5 stars.
So wha't the verdict?
I know I gave most of these pies a 4 out of 5. (sorry Target) But come on, its pie! Most pie is delicious and it's pretty hard to get me a pie that I don't enjoy. However this is a taste test to find the best store bought pie, so I put it to a vote. Most of the staff got a slice or two of pie and the competition was pretty fierce!
Tied for first place, Bang Bang Pie and Jewel Osco! Both recieved 2 out of 5 votes!
Tied? How could there be a tie?! Like I said it was pretty fierce competition, with confused emotions all around. Here's what Amanda, our fantastic founder had to say. "If you want a new take on a pumpkin pie then Bang Bang Pie wins hands down. It was creamier and that graham cracker crust was really good!" (In case you hadn't guessed, I voted for Jewel Osco)
2nd place: Aldi
Aldi came in at second with 1 out of 5 votes, which doesn't sound like a lot but remember, 4 out of 5 people voted for the last two pies. When deciding, Amanda said:
"If you want a good, traditional pumpkin pie then Aldi is the place to go. A good crust and deliciously creamy filling, this pie was definitely the winner." Plus look at that price! You really can't beat a $3 pie.
3rd place: Trader Joe's
Even though Joe didn't get any votes, we all agreed that it wasn't a bad pie at all. I would say that if you're at Trader Joe's picking up the rest of your Holiday cooking essentials, pick up a pie whie you're there. You definitely won't regret it, especially if you like nutmeg.
4th place: Target
Last but definitely not least, Target's Market Pantry pie came in last place. If you're not super into pumpkin pie but you want to have it for tradition's sake then this is the pie for you. Again not a bad pie, but definitely lacking in a little bit of flavor. Don't worry I have the perfect whipped cream recipe for you to try! (that was a fantastic segway, wouldn't you agree?)
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
Regardless of which pie you end up picking up for yourself and your loved ones, remember that whipped cream goes with everything! Amanda has an absolutely delicious cinnamon whipped cream you need to try now!
1 qt Heavy Whipping Cream
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 TB Vanilla Extract
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Whipped Cream Aid
Whisk heavy whipping cream until it thickens to pudding like consistency. About 3-4 minutes at medium speed with mixer.
Then add cinnamon, vanilla extract, whip cream aid, and powdered sugar.
Start whipping at medium speed for 1 minute and then whip at highest speed until you can see a trail left by the whisks beaters.
Do not overbeat!
Stop and check consistency and beat until a creamy whipped texture.
Well there you have it, dessert taken care of.
Hopefully this little taste test will help relieve a little bit of the holiday stress. Remember, Thanksgiving is about coming together with the ones you love, sharing a good meal and hopefully laughing a lot over pie.
Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving! Until next time! xoxo