Pie possibilities

Your Holiday Pie Doesn't Need to Be Pumpkin. Here Are a Few Tasty Alternatives.

Key lime pie? Strawberry pie? Oatmeal pie? Your options are limitless.

By Cooper Levey-Baker November 10, 2021

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a slice of pie at the end. What type of pie you choose, though? That's up to you.

Sarasota's Caribbean Pie Co. has been around for nearly 40 years. And while the shop, owned by Shari and Jerry Rogers, makes a ton of classic pumpkin and pecan pies around the holidays, it's the Key lime pie that has endeared the bakery to generations of locals. While the company has changed hands since it was created, Shari says the current recipe remains the same as the original.

"I'm always pleased when someone who had it 30 years ago says it's exactly the same," says Shari.

What makes it so tasty? Shari says there's no specific ingredient or technique that sets it apart. "It's the right combination of tart, tangy and sweet and the texture is nice and creamy," she says. "Sometimes some are too sweet, some are too tart and sometimes they're more gelatin-y than creamy."

Thanksgiving purists may recoil at the idea of serving Key lime pie after turkey and stuffing, but I think it makes perfect sense. It ends the meal on a light note—a sharp accent to the heavier flavors of the main meal. In addition to Key lime, Caribbean also makes an "orange dreamsicle" pie similar in profile to a Creamsicle (a similarly nice choice) and Key lime pies mixed with tropical fruits.

Over at Yoder's, Sarasota's famous Amish restaurant, they're already taking pie preorders for Thanksgiving. And while, yes, "Mom's pumpkin pie" is listed at the top of the menu, there are plenty of other options, like butterscotch cream or strawberry pie. If you're staying in the squash lane, you can still add a slight twist with a pumpkin cream pie or pumpkin cheesecake.

At Buttermilk Handcrafted Food, Kathy Otto, who owns the shop with her husband, Jamie Otto, says there's always a big demand for pumpkin and pecan pie, but she also makes cream pies, oatmeal pies and apple pies. The key is Buttermilk's top-notch crust. "The crust is huge," Kathy says.

Veering away from the pie case, consider ordering some of Buttermilk's excellent sweet rolls. Kathy says those are what Jamie grew up eating around the holidays, and while Buttermilk has tweaked the family recipe a bit (Jamie adds espresso to the caramel icing), they're guaranteed to bring back childhood vibes. "They're our favorite," says Kathy.

I suggest taking a "yes, and..." approach. Order a pie (or two) from one spot (or multiple places) and get some sweet rolls from Buttermilk, too. Breakfast the day after Thanksgiving will be sublime.

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