Let Someone Else Do the Baking This Holiday Season
When November rolls around, thoughts turn to the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving day game, corn bread dressing, succulent turkey and pies. Heavenly pie crusts, fruit-laden or shimmering with golden pecans—whatever strikes your fancy, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner will most certainly include a delectable pie or two.
Baking pies may be your tradition and if so–carry on! But if you are in the mood to let someone else do the baking this Thanksgiving, here are some local establishments that won’t disappoint. It’s pie time. Be thankful!
The Flour Shop Bakery
1401 Shoal Creek #150
Highland Village, TX 75077
Pastry chef Cara Vasquez grew up a self-described “baking kid” influenced by her mother, a talented home economics teacher. Cara’s passion led her to culinary school and a 10-year career at Bread Winners in Dallas, where she served as bakery manager. In 2011, Cara’s dream became a reality when she opened the doors to The Flour Shop Bakery in Highland Village.
Cara makes amazing cakes, pies, cookies, bars, brownies, breads and many other bakery treats. It’s important to her that a wide variety is kept on hand for folks to drop in for a sweet treat. Cara keeps things traditional—the way her mom taught her—and is fulfilled when someone tells her that something she baked evokes a long-held memory, perhaps something their grandmother made.
“For us, it’s about creating something special,” Cara says. “It’s about awakening a memory or emotion.”
During Thanksgiving, pies are best-sellers. The traditional favorites are pumpkin and pecan, but they receive many requests for strawberry rhubarb also. Chocolate cream and coconut cream pie are also very popular and can be made with meringue as a special request. Everything is made on-site and from scratch using only the best ingredients. Cara says it’s a marathon the day before Thanksgiving with chefs baking all night, but it’s worth it to be part of their customer’s holiday. Special orders are recommended.
And, while you can still visit Cara and the team at their present location for Thanksgiving, soon the store will be moving down the street near Firehouse Subs. The new space is double in size, and more breakfast and dessert items will be available, plus additional seating where customers can gather.
Oak St. Pie Co.
110 N. Oak St.
Roanoke, TX 76262
Oak St. Pie Co. in downtown Roanoke sits comfortably in what some might call “the shadow” of the original Babe’s, but this quaint pie shop stands wholeheartedly on its own. Carol Southern, Oak St. Pie Co.’s proprietor, recalls visiting Roanoke to dine at Babe’s more than 11 years ago and thinking what a great idea it would be to open a shop there. Soon after, Carol, a registered nurse, opened Granny’s Cupboard producing pies, cobblers, and old-fashioned candies—peanut brittle, divinity and fudge. Though she had never baked commercially, Carol grew up in Fort Worth with a mom and grandma that were excellent cooks, and she loved to bake and make candies.
In 2011, the shop was renamed Oak St. Pie Co. as Carol’s business and historic Roanoke were both taking off nicely. Today, Carol and her team continue to bake from scratch daily, and she is very picky about the ingredients used. There are no pre-made fillings or other shortcuts.
“The key to making the best pie possible is the crust. That’s why we make our all-butter dough and hand roll them to the perfect consistency and flakiness,” Carol says. “Then, we use the finest available fruits, creams, sugars, etc. and our special recipes to complete the package. The result is the best pie you will ever eat.”
Pecan, pumpkin and apple are top sellers, but many other varieties and even mini-pies are available. Oak St. made more than 500 pies last year the day before Thanksgiving.
“It’s humbling to be included in someone’s holiday where your product is served in their home to loved ones,” Carol says.
Placing a special order is recommended, particularly during the holidays. Check the website for how to order.
520 S. Main St. #200
Grapevine, TX 76051
Judy Balunda didn’t set out to open a pie shop. After 25 years teaching special education, she retired in 2013 from Grapevine Middle School and was looking forward to some well-deserved time off. Instead, she began baking pies, using her mother’s well-loved recipes. When the requests and raves became increasingly louder, Judy knew she might be looking at a second chapter. She continued to hone her pastry skills, even completing a Le Cordon Bleu pie-making course.
Judy Pie just celebrated one year in business in Old Town Grapevine.
Judy laughingly recalls, “We handed out 16,000 pie samples during Grapefest 2016. Then, we closed for a week and re-opened to the public.”
They haven’t slowed down since. Chefs bake daily on-site utilizing only the freshest, from scratch ingredients. And while sweet pies are the name of the game with everyday favorites chocolate cream, key lime, strawberry rhubarb and coconut cream, Judy Pie also offers savory selections—chicken pot pie and shepherd’s pie—and some phenomenal hand pies–Nutella, strawberry goat cheese and bourbon maple peach to name a few.
Pumpkin and pecan pie are Thanksgiving highlights, and most of Judy’s recipes are courtesy of her mother, Rhoda. However, the Judy Pie chefs will also bake custom pies for customers, using family recipes handed down or seasonal twists on old favorites. Judy’s goal for Judy Pie was to create a warm and inviting place where customers can meet for book cub, enjoy dessert after dinner or just pick up a slice of heaven to go. Mission accomplished!
Thanksgiving orders will be taken until the Monday prior to Thanksgiving.
3634 Long Prairie Road # 100
Flower Mound, TX 75022
Melissa and Chris Norwood opened their busy café and bakery more than 16 years ago in the growing town of Flower Mound. Swirl Bakery serves breakfast, soups, salads and sandwiches, and a classic, comforting menu for dinner. Custom baking and decorating with real butter occurs daily and you will be tempted by the sweet treats behind the glass case and in the “pie tower.” It’s no accident that Swirl Bakery has become a community favorite by creating wholesome food from scratch. Melissa contends it is quite a bit of labor, but the quality control makes it worth it.
The Norwoods support several initiatives and cater many events within the Lewisville Independent School District–school functions for Flower Mound High School, LEF gala and many others throughout the area. They live in Flower Mound and enjoy supporting the community and getting to know their neighbors.
“It’s fun to see kids who have grown up coming to the restaurant come back,” Melissa says. “We’ve even had birth announcements here!”
For Thanksgiving, pies are the name of the game–pumpkin, pecan, buttermilk and apple will lead the pack along with chocolate cream and coconut cream. Every pie is baked fresh daily and your guests will appreciate the attention to detail. Stop by to check out the pie table during the holidays but if you want your favorite guaranteed, don’t leave it to chance. Swirl Bakery can also cater your entire Thanksgiving meal if it suits your fancy. You might even be able to pass off some of their home cooking as your own! Melissa recommends ordering ahead for pies or the meal.