Chocolate Macarons at Kens Artisan Bakery

Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving pie? Who doesn’t hate the pressure, not to mention the flying flour, of baking them at home? Today, we give thanks to Portland’s obsessive baking community, willing to do the first-rate shopping, the rolling, and the dishes to create these sublime Thanksgiving desserts.

LAURETTA JEAN PIE BAKERY

Thirty-year-old Kate McMillen bakes for the Thinking Pie Person, dishing out classic American pies with careful twists and serious all-butter crusts, with secrets gleaned from her grandmother Lauretta Jean. The former pie queen at Random Order—Portland’s pie HQ—has rolled out on her own with custom orders from Tastebud restaurant and dreams of her own shop.

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Chocolate cream pie with three kinds of excellent Vintage Plantation chocolate (55 percent, 72 percent, and unsweetened) under a cloud of whipped cream and chocolate shavings; classic pumpkin with a bump of gingersnap-pecan crumble strewn over the crust; and heirloom apple pie, spiked with dark rum and vanilla bean. Says McMillen: “I cook the apple juice into a thick syrup poured back into pie so it’s in-your-face concentrated apple pie.”

Inside Slice

Elllis Bros pecan pie: dense with gigantic buttery-nutty pecans straight from the Vienna Georgia farm, shot through with bourbon and finished with fleur de sel for that addictive salty-sweet lip-smack.

Crusty Details

Pies are $30, including the glass dish. Pre-order by Sunday, Nov. 20 (503-890-6172 or kate@laurettajean.com). Pick up by Wednesday at Tastebud.

TWO TARTS BAKERY

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Elizabeth Beekley’s cookie kingdom is known for a changing case of three-bite beauties, but regulars know to snoop out under-the-radar specials, including terrific handmade ice cream with locally roasted coffee and, now, handcrafted Thanksgiving pies on Nov. 23 and 24 only.

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Chocolate and fresh-roasted hazelnut pie, a local spin on the slightly gooey Kentucky Derby chocolate nut pie. Beekley’s beauty is dense with dark chocolate and whole filberts from farmers market favorite Freddy Guys.

Inside Slice

Fresh roasted pumpkin pie: small, sweet, dark-orange sugar pumpkins transformed into the pie the good lord intended—light, fluffy, and full of squashy perfume, made all the more heavenly here with a little candied ginger on top.

Crusty Details

Pies are $25, including the ceramic pie dish (bring it back for a refill next year and get a $5 rebate). Pre-order through Sunday, Nov. 21; pick up by Wednesday.

BAKER AND SPICE

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This bakery has it all: the cool back-story (humble beginnings and cult following at the farmers market), the transformation into one of the city’s essential bakeries, and even a gorgeous cookbook co-authored by Portland legend Cory Schreiber. Did we mention some kicking pies?

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Classic pumpkin, deeply spiced, farm-fresh apple pie, or mixed fruit pies.

Inside Slice

Coconut cream pie: a mountain of perfectly creamy custard, thick and rich with heavy cream and just sweet enough, under a blizzard of toasted coconut would be cause alone for celebration, but this contender for Portland’s best pie comes with a secret weapon—a wondrous, buttery crust made from the bakery’s terrific shortbread cookies.

Crusty Details

Prices “around $22.” Bonus: they sell the pie crust—$8 for a double crust. Order by Sunday, Nov 21. Feeling lucky punk? Doors are open until noon on T-Day, and pie strays are always possible.

DOVETAIL BAKERY

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Behind the skill and artful imagination of Morgan Grundstin-Helvey, Portland’s premier vegan bakery performs amazing feats not easy in a world without butter. On Thanksgiving, that means piecrusts rendered flaky and toasty with dairy-free “buttery sticks.”

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Organic pear pie with pecan streusel, with thinly sliced fruit “coated like caviar” in scraped vanilla beans, then mounded over a vegan crust; coconut milk pumpkin pie with with a handmade crust and soy-free filling.

Inside Slice

Chocolate-hazelnut tart with hazelnut brittle: a taste of vegan swank, rich with hand-roasted Albina City Nuts, chocolate ganache, and soy milk from Portland’s esteemed Ota Tofu, under shards of house-made, sea-salted nut brittle.

Crusty Details

Pies from $15–25. Pre-order by Sunday, Nov. 21; pick up on Wednesday.

RANDOM ORDER COFFEEHOUSE & BAKERY

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What makes this Alberta storefront Portland’s pie stronghold? Late-night hours and up to twelve fruit varieties in heavy rotation. And we’re not even counting the creams or the savory numbers. Given the demand (and a small oven), T-Day options are scoped down to six options.

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‘Old World Apple Farm’ pie, made with a trio of Washington apples like Pink Pearls, King Davids, and Gravensteins; classics such as pumpkin, pecan, or coconut cream; and brandied pear with dark chocolate and candied ginger-walnut streusel.

Inside Slice

Vanilla salted caramel apple pie: hunks of apples, homemade caramel, vanilla sugar and salt on top. What could be bad?

Crusty Details

Pies are $33, with a $5 deposit on glass plates. Keep or return.

KEN’S ARTISAN BAKERY

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Portland’s most rigorously French bakery is the go-to place for something rustic and refined. Put simply, a tart from Ken’s can class up any table. Snag a batch of chocolate macaroons if you want to watch faces around the table light up with a jolt of chocolate electricity.

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Open-faced pear tarts, build around pears poached in simple syrup and beautifully arranged over hazelnut paste in buttery crust; fresh pumpkin pie roasted from Cinderella pumpkins, known for custard-like consistency when baked.

Inside Slice

Salted caramel pecan tart: think pecan-pie-plus, with addictive salty notes as well as sweet, in a filling juiced with homemade salted caramel.

Crusty Details

Pies and tarts are $23.95. Pre-order two days in advance; pick up on Wednesday, Nov. 24.