When I think about pie, memories of family gatherings and holiday traditions bubble up within me. I recall my mom’s Derby Delicious Pie and my aunt Cindy’s pecan pie being delicious staples at our dessert table. I can even remember slicing up Grannysmith Apples at my great grandma’s farm to help make my first homemade apple pie during Thanksgiving. Whether pie is homemade or store-bought, it oozes nostalgia. The ritual of having a slice of pie and a cup of coffee after a holiday feast is one of the simple joys of the season. The Franklin area is home to some of the best pie makers around, and during this holiday season, supporting local small businesses is so very important. Here are our top pick pies to try this season or give as a gift.
Papa C Pies – Steeplechase Derby Pie
I adore a gooey pie, whether it’s warm from the oven topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or it’s leftover and eaten like a candy bar, no fork needed! This Derby style pie from Papa C’s Bakery has a southern pecan pie filling with Ghiradelli chocolate chips and bourbon baked in a traditional pie crust. Truly, a southern delicacy. The pie is even named after an annual horse race in nearby Nashville called the Iroquois Steeplechase. Papa C’s is a family pie bakery in Franklin, and their pies are in high demand during the holiday season, so order early!
Papa C Pies – Pumpkin Praline Pie
I’ll be honest with you; plain ‘ol pumpkin pie doesn’t do much for me. I know that is a controversial statement, but when you add the word praline in front of just about any dessert, you’ve got my attention. This traditional pumpkin pie is topped with Papa C’s brown sugar and pecan pie filling, making it absolutely divine. For all of us who are bored by pumpkin pie, this creamy, spiced version with a sweet, crunchy topping is sure to change the mind of any pumpkin pie skeptic.
Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop – Ghirardelli Chocolate Cream Pie
I couldn’t curate a list of Franklin’s best pies without including The Buttermilk Sky pie shop! It is hard to choose favorites here, but the Chocolate Cream Pie is a velvety smooth, chilled pie that is always a hit. Although the Buttermilk Sky is a franchise, the Franklin location is locally owned, and all of the pies are made in house, from scratch. This pie is set in an Oreo crust, filled with a creamy Ghiradelli chocolate filling, and topped with a sweet and tangy whipped cream cheese. The whole pie is sprinkled with Ghiradelli chocolate shavings and served chilled. If you can’t make it by the shop, check out the Buttermilk Sky Pie truck around town and order at the window your choice of a large pie or a mini 4-inch pie.
Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop – Granny’s Apple Pie
Talk about nostalgia; what’s more American than a hot apple pie? As sweet as the memories of making these pies can be, you definitely won’t miss out on the flavor or quality by grabbing a Buttermilk Sky’s Granny Apple Pie. Instead of the lattice pie topping, they cover their apple pies in a brown sugar crumble topping, making it extra tasty! This pie is set on a shortbread crust, filled with sliced granny smith apples tossed in a brown sugar mix, topped with the sweet crumble, and baked to perfection.
Mama Nic’s Whiskey Caramel Cheesecake
Niki Gilliam has been baking these Greek-style cheesecakes from the time she was 4 years old. Her shop in Brentwood, named after her grandmother, “Mama Nik,” uses the original family recipe, which makes a light and slightly tangy cheesecake in a traditional hand-pressed, honey graham crust. Niki doesn’t share the unique baking technique she uses for her cheesecakes, but she assured me that the top-secret technique sets her cheesecakes apart. The most popular variety at Mama Nic’s is the Whiskey Caramel Cheesecake. The southern whiskey caramel topping mixed with the tangy Greek-style cheesecake and then topped with pecan praline is a mouth-watering combination. If you are looking for something to set your dessert table apart this holiday season, give this decadent cheesecake a try!
Triple Crown Bakery – Southern Fudge Pie
One of Franklin’s most beloved bakeries in town is Triple Crown Bakery, which offers various seasonal pies during the holidays. Their Southern Fudge Pie is a personal favorite of my husband’s, and it’s not hard to understand why. The filling is made with ample amounts of butter and chocolate, as it should be; there is no skimping on the “southern style” in this rich pie. The “all butter” crust is made from scratch, in house, and I would expect nothing less from this five-star bakery. Heat it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or eat it at room temperature; there is no wrong way to enjoy this indulgent treat. Most of the pies at Triple Crown must be ordered ahead, except for the days leading up to the holidays, when some are offered as “grab and go.”
Merridee’s Breadbasket – Key Lime Pie
One of Franklin’s oldest bakeries creates a variety of pies that fly off the shelves year-round. Their simply perfect Key Lime Pie is a local favorite, especially during the warmer months. It all begins with a homemade graham cracker crust, pressed by hand. The traditional, tangy filling is hand-mixed with egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and key lime juice. The pie is baked, chilled, and topped with Riches Whip, Merridee’s signature sweetened whipped cream.
Merridee’s Breadbasket – Peanut Butter Pie
The rich and decadent peanut butter pie is another popular choice at Merridee’s. The homemade graham cracker crust is the perfect complement to the creamy peanut butter filling. The filling is mixed by hand and made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, peanut butter, and whipped cream. The silky pie is chilled and then topped with the riches whip and drizzled with chocolate ganache. Basically, this is my dream come true in pie form.
Pie’s By Gigi – Walnut Streusel Pumpkin Pie
From the culinary creator of Gigi’s Cupcakes, Brentwood is fortunate enough to be home to Gigi Butler’s newest sweet shop, Pies by Gigi. Gigi says that although her cupcake business grew into a nationwide company before selling it, pies have always been her first love. This pie shop has a cozy, farmhouse-style design that provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for community members and tourists alike. The Walnut Streusel Pumpkin Pie has become a best seller during the fall and winter months, and for a good reason! Take it from Gigi; this not your standard grocery store pumpkin pie. It’s made with a velvety cream cheese filling and topped with a crunchy walnut cinnamon streusel.
Pie’s By Gigi – Tennessee Christmas Pie
This is a new addition to the Pie’s By Gigi menu for the Christmas season, and it is sure to be a showstopper at any Christmas celebration! The pie is set in a traditional pastry crust with a gooey, chocolate, and salted caramel filling. This sinfully delicious pie is baked and then covered with more caramel and sea salt. The rich sweetness of this pie, balanced with the sea salt, is truly a match made in heaven!
As you can imagine, these shops offer many more delicious pies that aren’t included in this list. So your job now is to find your perfect Franklin pie this holiday season. It will be a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!