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Survey Says: America’s Top Pie Picks

While pie is far from exclusive to the U.S., it has become synonymous with all things red, white and blue. After all, there’s only one way to complete the sentence “As American as … ” (It’s “apple pie,” if you’re a bit rusty on your patriotic similes.) But does apple truly reign supreme as America’s preferred pie filling? NPR put this question to the test with a survey on America’s favorite pie picks. Let’s take a closer look.

Pie picks

Apple pie, with a tall twist.

Survey Says …

It’s true: Apple claims the honor of being the most frequently purchased variety of pie — a title which it held for at least five straight years when the survey debuted. (In fact, the top five finishers remained steady over that same period of time.) However, the margin of victory for apple is smaller than you might think. In fact, apple took home just 17 percent of the vote.

What pies made up the remaining 83 percent? The many different flavors reported by the 14,000 survey participants prove that variety is indeed the spice of life.

A Close Second

While apple’s first place claim is hardly a shock, the runner-up may surprise you — if you’ve never had it, that is. Fans of this sweet-tart treat, meanwhile, are well aware of the many reasons why strawberry rhubarb made such a strong showing with 16 percent of the vote. Following strawberry rhubarb were pumpkin with 14 percent; cherry with 11 percent, and blueberry with eight percent of the vote.

Making the biggest strides in recent years? Cherry, which grew a whopping 7.8 percent in sales in just a one-year period. The reason for its growing popularity? The juicy fruit’s antioxidant-rich, “superfood” status. (Blueberries also saw growth attributed to this reason.)

Pumpkin’s popularity, meanwhile, is directly related to supply — a fact which may well come into play this year during the CNN-declared “great pumpkin shortage.” Better order your pies early to make sure your Thanksgiving table isn’t bereft of this seasonal favorite.

Write-In Ringers

But the list hardly ends with the usual pie players. While they may not have earned top five bragging rights, several new and exciting flavors are coming on strong, including blood orange, chocolate, and even sweet potato, a southern specialty.

A Matter of Taste

Given the subjectivity of personal preference, it makes sense that another favorite pie survey — this one by Schwan’s Consumer Brands — turned up different results. Its findings? Apple still came in number one, but with a whopping 47 percent of the vote, followed by pumpkin (37 Percent), chocolate cream (32 percent), cherry (37 percent), apple crumb (25 percent), pecan (24 percent), lemon meringue (24 percent), blueberry (21 percent), key lime (18 percent) and peach (16 percent).

Pie picks

Georgia pecan halves and a caramel butterscotch glaze make this Blue Old Bakery offering a culinary contender.

So how do you choose when deciding what pies to serve up at your next holiday or family gathering? It’s not so much a matter of what flavor to choose, but of about keeping the focus on quality above all else. Enter mail order pies.

Rather than plucking an unexciting and entirely average offering from you grocery store shelves, try something different this year by ordering from bakeries which have claimed star status on the national pie scene. From Grand Traverse Pie Company (“Mario Batali’s Favorite Fruit Pies”) and New York Daily News “Best of New York” Little Pie Company to Serious Eats pick Hill Country Pie Kitchen and Oprah “Favorite Thing” The Blue Owl Bakery, there are endless options for indulging in this divine dessert.

So whether you order a tried and true option, like delicious apple pie, or go for something outside the conventional bakery box (Texas Billionaire Pie Cups, anyone?), there’s no better way to do pie than through mail order food. And while you’re at it, why not cross a few items off your Christmas list by shopping our selection of sweet and savory gourmet food gifts today?