A Triad holiday pie sampler

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As the holidays approach, the recipe books get dusted off. Halloween, centered around candy, passes, and as the final months of the year arrive, all thoughts turn to the comfort of pie.

Often the dessert table bears no leftovers. As the cold weather comes in, local shops To Your Health, Sweet Shoppe and Spring Garden Bakery prep for fall pies to brighten dining rooms.

Sweet Shoppe, a High Point bakery, has been turning out pies and other pastries for 72 years. The shop opened in 1946, focusing on quality baked goods. The Georgie Porgie hits off year-round — a thin layer of white cake underneath a chocolate-chess pudding and German chocolate icing. Other pies featured include their pumpkin and sweet potato.

Made from a recipe thought up in the ’70s, the sack apple pie leaves customers counting down the days until autumn. The bakery forgoes the pie tin in favor of baking the apples, picked in the North Carolina mountains, in a bag to help retain as much moisture as possible. They then top the juicy apples with a crumble of butter and sugar to finish it off.

Though reminiscent of a cobbler, the sack apple remains the star of the Sweet Shoppe show, and has been a bestseller for years. The classic taste reminds patrons of simple delights and days gone by.

In Greensboro, Spring Garden Bakery showcases an assortment of different items each day but features a few pies especially for the season. The whole pies promise freshness, as they are made to order. The shop prides itself on foot traffic and offers slices in shop the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

They find the most popular order to be pecan, and amp up the recipe for the cooler months with bourbon mixed into the filling, along with chocolate chips. The bourbon kicks the flavor up a notch, presenting warmth for the winter.

The locally-owned family bakery offers traditional fruit pies but blends a variety for their Harvest Fruit pie. Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries come together for one of their most popular treats. The combination stands out as a timely dessert, with the spices and seasonings one would find in a pumpkin pie melding with the natural zest of the berries.

In Winston-Salem, To Your Health Bakery aims to make the table more accessible — but just as delicious — for those with dietary restrictions. Year round, the shop specializes in gluten-free and vegan treats, catering to those with allergies and sensitivities who still want to satisfy their sweet tooth.

Baker Anna Simeonides dreamed up a homerun from meshing her two childhood favorites — pumpkin and pecan. She enjoys the flavors so much she requests them for her birthday each year. The pumpkin praline pie folds pecans, candied in shop, into a creamy pumpkin filling, balancing crunchy and smooth textures.

Cranberries in a signature apple pie offer another option. The taste draws inspiration from the holiday of Thanksgiving, and cuts sugar with a bit of natural tartness.

For those who prefer non-fruit pies, the s’mores pile a homemade toasted marshmallow on top of French silk chocolate. This fall is the first time it will be available in whole pie form. Like everything else on the menu, each pie is made from scratch without additives, preservatives, or corn syrup.

It only helps that, as her co-worker said, the baker “dreams in food.”

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